For the last two and a half years I have had problems along my left side neuromuscular chain, from neck to my shoulder, through my elbow, forearm and wrist. However, that is now turning around. I have been lifting heavy in the gym (in a programmed way) and things seems to be improving.
For a long time, I had avoided lifting heavy bench,and over head. But for the past several months, I’ve been following Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 programming, and the weights are now in territory I’ve never been. This has been challenging for my shoulder, elbow, and forearms grip strength. It is to the point sometimes that I need to buck up just to shake a man’s hand.
I have had to take a week off from shoulder work here and there–well not a week off, but a week with careful shoulder work. For instance, only the major lifts which engage my shoulder, and dropping any minor or assistance work that may challenge my shoulder.
At night I wasn’t able to sleep on my side, I’ve only been able to lay on my stomach or back without pain.
Well what about the rehab part?
This past week I’ve noticed considerably less pain at night, and have even been able to tolerate short periods on my side.
I completely believe this is due in large part to careful progression through flat barbel bench, incline dumbbell bench, strict overhead press, cleans, and clean & press. Progression to PR level weights for me in every lift. The cleans and clean & press are PR level, but I have not really pushed them and have sacrificed them on those dodgy shoulder days.
Flat bench. The key for me has been to really dial in my form, and to vary my grip width as the weights move up.
Overhead press. This can be challenging, but it is largely a form issue. Overhead press has, I feel, greatly improved my range of motion
Incline Dumbbell Press has been helpful because it is a less compromised position, and the dumbbells allow you to rotate your shoulder position to be more stable.
Clean, Clean & Press. Cleans are Push Press are an inigma in that they engage and involve the shoulder and upper body, while simultaneously the lifter tries to minimize upper body engagement in these lifts. This seemingly contradictory situation has been helpful for my shoulder rehab, as I can tell when my form is breaking down as shoulder pain sets in. Also, it has helped teach better should mechanics through minor adjustments which either hurt more, or hurt less.
There you have it–my dawning revelation and thoughts regarding my shoulder pain subsiding in recent weeks (week or two).
The labor market in Atlanta has changed dramatically. In my line of work, prior to the Great Recession, it used to be we employed a lot of immigrant Americans. Lately, we have been hiring many native born Americans. Simultaneously, I have seen the quality of the candidate pool fall off significantly. This has been a learning experience on many levels, but probably the largest for me is the real impact of quality of education, or more accurately, the lack thereof. Much of the work we do does not require a high school education. It is very demanding, and requires many things, but for many positions, graduating high school isn’t a requirement. Interestingly, in the past, I have not given this much consideration. However, lately I have noticed a correlation between the lack of finishing high school, or having a low quality high school education, and what amounts to a virtual learning disability.
This is not a scientific study. This is simply my own observation. There is clearly not a direct causation, whereas many of our employees came from backgrounds of little, to virtually zero, formal education, however we did not encounter the problems we are experiencing now.
Inability to follow multi-step instructions. Lack of recognition between cause and effect. Shifting of personal responsibility. Lack of carry-over of experience to correlated, though not duplicate, scenarios. Inability to see implications of basic life decisions. Failure to correlate those decisions to current life circumstances. Trouble showing for work on time. Tendency to shift blame for repeated tardiness. Problems learning new basic job skills and responsibilities.
All issues you would expect to find in individuals with developmental learning disabilities.
In the past, I never really found these to be significant issues, and if they were, they were isolated experiences. Now, it seems that a huge proportion of candidates struggle with some or many of these issues. These issues seem to correlate strongest with native born candidates and low quality high school education. Either failure to complete high school, or graduating from low-quality schools and low-quality systems.
I can’t say definitively what the cause is. It could be the labor pool in general, across the board. We have seen a drop in quality candidates in general. It could be the lack of quality high school education, has ill-prepared these people for life so significantly, that well into adulthood, they are unable to compensate. It could be that these people had existing learning, developmental, social issues that are similarly reflected in their inability to succeed in high school.
I can say that anecdotally, for Americans, the effect of low-quality high school education is tantamount to having a developmental learning disability.