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Old 12-17-2007, 09:13 AM   #1
Garrett Smith
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Default A/C (acromioclavicular) joint issues with increased overhead lifting?

So, now that I'm doing the CA WOD I'm realizing that I've never done so much overhead lifting/support work in my entire life.

At the start, I was really noticing the musculature around/over my clavicles was staying tired/sore most of the time. No big deal. I was pretty sure that came from all of the dynamic pulling that OL brings with it.

Now my A/C joints, as much as joints can be, are "sore" most of the time. Not what I'd go so far as to call pain, although I am taking precaution and treating the worse side (left) with some cold laser on occasion. I'm figuring it is the overhead work. Has anyone else experienced this, is it a normal adaptation phase to all the overhead work in OL? If it's normal, which I think it might be, I'll just adjust and wait for the adaptation to take place. If it's not, I want to figure it out.

Could this be related to my grip width during pressing?

I have no history of significant shoulder issues, nor of any shoulder separations.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:03 AM   #2
Derek Simonds
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Dr G, I have definitely felt the same kind of not right feeling in my joints every time we start a new cycle. The first 10 days of Bulgarian dang near killed me. I thought no problem now when we change back over to strength. Nope I went through the same adaptation when we changed back over to the strength cycle.

Hopefully we become more adapted.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:37 PM   #3
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These past 4 weeks I am just started getting into Olympic lifting. I found a coach in my area and have been working on it 4-6 days a week.

I can attest to how much my left shoulder has hurt during that time. I've never had any problems, but find myself using icy hot after nearly every session. The only thing keeping me going is my coach telling me it's normal and will go away.

I have been doing shoulder stretches (door frame, dislocates, etc.) and extra shoulder strength work every night and it has gotten somewhat better.

I'm glad to hear it's not just me.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:13 PM   #4
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Pretty common when you're new to such weight/volume overhead. In that sense, it's unavoidable initially. But it's important to recognize the difference between some break-in discomfort and pain arising from poor overhead positioning.

First, that overhead position needs to be solid - shoulder blades BACK together first, THEN up. If you drive up only, or the scapular retraction is weak, you're settting yourself up for shoulder pain.

Also, constantly failing to lock out jerks or snatches upon receipt can flare the ACs up. If this is you, spend some time really working on whatever technical issue is preventing you from getting proper lockout, and set you ego aside and lift according to your 1RMs with perfect lockouts (as you should be doing anyway).

Flexibility is obviously a big part of the deal as well. You may want to try subbing kipping pull-ups into the workouts some of the days it calls for deadhangs to really stretch out that shoulder girdle and get some connective tissue conditioning. Incidentally, that's why pull-ups are programmed so regularly - they make a huge difference in shoulder health.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:52 PM   #5
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Damn...that's why you ask the experts!!!

I do believe (I know, upon thinking about it and mimicking the movement you described) that I am NOT actively retracting my shoulders, both initially OR enough. So, I will start working on that, as well as reintroducing the high face pulls and wall slides into my warmup. That may be all of it right there!

I don't think the lockout portion fits for me. I definitely know it's not a flexibility issue.

I think it's that I got so into the scapular elevation part with weights overhead that I totally forgot about the retraction component. Awesome, thanks Coach!

A little more laser and a LOT more retraction, I'm thinking I'll be totally good to go.

Hopefully that answer will help many more people than just me...
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Old 12-17-2007, 07:17 PM   #6
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I have actually had a reduction in shoulder pain since starting on the CA WOD and gymnastics. I find especially after heavy snatches my whole shoulder girdle feels great. I have also been doing gymnastics once a week with a focus on rings so that may be helping as well. Having said that is it common for O-lifters to get shoulder injuries purely due to the volume of overhead work they do ? Like a RSI type thing.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:36 AM   #7
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Yesterday, did my cold laser and got an adjustment (spinal and I requested an A/C joint adjustment too). Shoulders are feeling better already, and I know part of it is that Coach Greg pointed out what the problem is. Today's light workout will be a great time to start getting the "new" motor pattern down.

I'm also going to be stretching my anterior shoulder joint capsule a lot more (hands interlaced behind back stretch, as well as skin-the-cat).
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:58 AM   #8
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I think I am guilty of not retracting the scapula's as well. So if I understand, when we jerk we are squeezing the scap's back and then pressing overhead?

On the snatch would the scapula retraction happen as part of the third pull and pull under?
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:48 PM   #9
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My shoulders are feeling better all of the time. I do self active release on the back of the scapula with a tennis ball, then follow with mobility work. This has helped the most for me.

Also, wall slides done frequently, and face pulls done on the rings. (basically, a high ring row with the rings in hammer grip)
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:49 PM   #10
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Maybe it's time to get a lacrosse ball, as Cressey suggests...Scotty, you aren't actually rolling out directly "over" the scapula, are you? I was assuming you meant the interscapular muscles...I sure as heck wouldn't use a lacrosse ball on top of the scapula!
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