Two weeks ago, Steelworks Weightlifting Club member, Andrew B, suffered a bit of a setback. After a set of snatches, he noticed that a tight and painful sensation running from the top of his scapula up into his neck. This pain made it very hard for him to rotate his head from side to side, elevate his shoulders, and externally rotate his shoulders.

The pain was severe enough that he had to end his training session for the day.

Andrew regretfully explained what happened and said he would take the next week off to let the shoulder heal.

I discouraged this course of action. Total rest would negatively affect the progress of his training.

For the next week, we eliminated any overhead movements (snatches, jerks, pullups, presses, etc) and implemented a number of accessory complexes to work on other aspects of his lifting.

For example, one day we worked on snatch Romanian deadlifts, the other day we worked on snatch pulls from the floor to above the knee. After a day of rest we included some clean pulls from the floor to test how shoulder elevation was feeling. Receiving the bar overhead was out of the question still and receiving the bar in the rack position on a clean was still not feeling too hot as well, hence the reliance on pulls even in the clean.

Andrew remarked that everyday after training, the shoulder was feeling better albeit slowly. By the weekend, it seemed like he was about 90% back to normal.

It would seem that by this Monday his shoulder was back to normal as evidenced by this awesome 3 kilogram PERSONAL RECORD in the snatch. (86 kg )!!!

Due to the high neuromuscular coordinative demand in Olympic weightlifting, consistent practice is key to long term success. Injuries can happen from time to time, but to keep the brain and body highly tuned, finding “Plan B” menu items for training is imperative to long term progress.

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