Tucker: Popless Pump

Well my friends, I’m pleased to tell you that this weekend I was able to do an upper body workout without any elbow popping.

Check out the video:

Shoulder rehab 50 lb press

I caught a cold almost two weeks ago, and it’s been one of those colds that lingers for a while. I haven’t posted because I haven’t been up to much for the last couple weeks besides some brief PT work at home. I finally started feeling back to health late last week, and I put on my to do list for this weekend to do a very long workout – hit all the muscles I’ve been working on in my shoulder and then attempt some pressing and pulling.

I went in and did my whole rotator cuff routine – internal and external rotator cuff work with my arm at my side, my arm at 45 degrees and my arm at 90 degrees to hit the infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis, and some small shoulder raises to hit my supraspinatus. Then I moved on and did some shoulder level pressing and pulling for my rhomboids and serratus, and then pulling the weight back over my head and light, concentrated shrugs to hit my lower traps and upper/mid traps. Then after that I went and did a bunch of YWT work to really toast all of the stabilizers. That whole thing took almost two hours, and after that I figured I’d give some dumbbell presses a try

I picked up the 15’s (no, not a typo, 15lbs, not 50 or 150), which in the past had been about the max I could do without my elbow making a yucky crunchy noise, and I made sure to engage the muscles all around my shoulder blade and back that would support me through the movement. Voila, no popping. It felt easy too, I didn’t even have to be that conscious of it, so I picked up the 25’s, the 35’s, 45’s and then the 50’s. 50 pound dumbbells! I haven’t pressed those without discomfort since last year!

Things still felt very asymmetrical, but that’s actually a good thing. I’ve built up my awareness enough that I could feel my left side’s trap, lat, rotator cuffs and pec engage much better than my right side’s. I still had some pain in the front of my shoulder where the bursa is, because the muscles around it aren’t strong enough to keep it centered in the joint, but the good news is that at least I’m aware enough to know what I need to continue working on, and all the work I’d put in was paying off, because the muscles were strong enough to support without me having to consciously engage them.

After that, I did the same progression with dumbbell rows, which used to make it pop pretty bad as well… And no popping. I did a shoulder press machine, a lat pulldown machine, and then some cable curls and extension. No popping in any of them. And folks, let me tell you, it feels really nice when things go right.

The funny thing was, I walked out of my little apartment gym not ready and impatient to start pumping big weight and training hard again, but relieved and patient to continue to heal my body. I reminded myself that I’m not out of the woods yet, and it may take another 6 months to a year to even out all the imbalances I’ve had going on between my shoulder/elbow and hip/knee, but as long as I just keep doing what I’m doing there will eventually be a time when I don’t have to worry about every little injury. I can go in, do my prehab to keep everything strong and secure, and then move on to beating up the weights and focusing on the muscle I’m working, rather than making sure all the stabilizers up stream are engaged as well.

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Tucker Loken is a Bodybuilder turned Powerlifter turned Powerbuilder from Eugene, Oregon. He did his first bodybuilding show when he was still in high school, and has been training male and female competitors for shows since 2011. Several years ago he decided to take a step away from his normal routine and learn how to get strong. He worked with Brian for 9 months, added 200 pounds to his raw total and qualified as an Elite lifter in the 220 pound weight class. He returned back to bodybuilding much stronger and now incorporates the 10/20/Life philosophy into his training to keep himself healthy and making continual progress in the Big 3 as well as adding size and shaping his physique. Now part of Team PRS, he brings his unique expertise of nutritional knowledge and how to balance Bodybuilding with Powerlifting to help athletes achieve their best potential.

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