The injury was short lived………….Use caution when weight training on “machines”.

Fact is, if you train and push yourself there is a good chance that you will get injured. But the idea is to only get injured a tiny bit and say to yourself “whoa, something just happened here and I need to stop and take a break”. In the old days I would keep training and then that tiny injury would be a bigger one and my time off would be longer.

I was hurt while doing shoulder press on the Hammer Strength shoulder press machine and I wasn’t even going heavy. The system puts you in a seated position with your shoulders cocked back in a pretty rigid form. Suddenly this position is not very nice for me. I felt it the minute I started using the machine. Thats why I didn’t go heavy. It just felt off, slightly awkward.  My right shoulder seemed like it was being put in a bad place. But this never happened before! So after a few light sets I walked away and within that hour it was throbbing.

So for two weeks I did not train shoulders. I didn’t even bench press but I was very happy to see that dips were not a problem for me. One big problem was that I couldn’t do anything over head with my right arm. I am a ladder guy or a truck guy if you will on the job and raising ladders was a big problem. But I compensated with using my left arm for any type of overhead action and asking for help from my work mates. After two weeks and a few advil a day it felt good but still wasn’t right.

It was clear to me that somewhere in my shoulder cuff there was an impingement. It felt like it needed to “pop” to feel better but I just couldn’t get to. Then one morning I was playing rough with my almost 2 yr old daughter and I reached out and did something and all at once I felt a pop with a little tinge of pain and then a big relief at the end. It was still sore for a few days after but quickly went away.

I conclude that I may have lost some mobility in my shoulder(s) from either age, too much work,too much training or all the above. I either have some torn up cartilage that got “hung up” or I just beat up some ligaments that went into recoil and shock from what I did to them. Since the injury I have gone back to doing shoulders using free weights and have no problems. The only other time I hurt my shoulder was when I was doing shoulder press on a smith machine. It was like 10 yrs ago now but that injury took a full 2 yrs to fully recover.

The bottom line….. shoulders can be strong muscles but the joint is actually weak based on its nature. It is also very complex and susceptible to many forms of injury. It has been argued that using “machines” for weight training are where we get our injuries from because they fix the movement into a plane that lock your joint in. Out of experience, I have had 2 shoulder injuries , one in each shoulder, and they both occurred on a machine and not when using free weights.

I will still use machines and free weights but I will never use a smith machine or hammer strength machine for shoulders ever again. That seems to be one of my weaknesses


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