In my early forties I started to experience increased soreness and pain after a few types of recreational exercise and often after work. After some time I began to realize that there were probably exercises I could invent to relieve at least some of the discomfort. Initially I focused on my shoulder pain which took me to a local chiropractor and volleyball friend Dr. Tim Brown. He put heat on my shoulder and then gave me some pleasurable manipulation the effects of which lasted for a day or so. Later on after a few sessions with that heat and manipulation I decided that I’d have to find some new ways to hopefully help myself.
Having competed in athletics for decades, I knew that weight lifting was a good way to increase my ability to perform strength exercises and endurance activities as well. By the time I was 48 yrs old with right shoulder failure (an impingement) I had to retire from beach volleyball competition and focus on my work as a building contractor. Working as a small business owner where I had to hammer, dig, crawl through attics and basements daily was wearing out other joints on my body besides my shoulders. The weight lifting was also hurting so I came up with an idea.
Spending a couple of years in college as a physical education major I learned the difference between dynamic tension and static tension. Realizing that I was having issues with seemingly repetitive motion syndrome, I tried using a combination of dynamic and static exercise. For example let’s take bench press.
I had gotten to the point where my bench presses were hurting during the presses and giving a popping sound near the lowest point while supporting the barbell above my chest. The more repetitions I accomplished the more it hurt during and afterward. I tried a technique I saw used many years before where I would do only one repetition of the bench press. I put on a low weight around 45 lbs and pushed the barbell off the rack and held it at the highest position for about 15 seconds. Then I lowered the weight about 6 inches and again held for the 15 seconds. After several more 6 inch drops I reached the point where I was nearly touching my chest. I had used the hold technique maybe 5 times. Then on the way up I repeated the 15 second hold as closely as possible in reverse like I had done lowering the barbell. A good rule of thumb I discovered after months of using this technique was to make my muscles start to shake while holding in the stopped positions. Now after more than a decade of using this move and hold practice I have found that my right shoulder has improved greatly. The important improvement seems to come from the elimination of the rubbing of tissues like cartilage and tendons that one experiences during the higher numbers of reps a person performs with traditional weight lifting exercises.
More on these arthritis tips in coming posts.