Morning Musings #5 – I’m Injured – Now What? Part 1.5

So in the FIRST INSTALLMENT of I’m Injured – Now What?, I briefly glazed over the regressions and progressions that I would implement if a client or athlete all of a sudden arrived to train and mentioned casually that “it hurts whenever I do this [shows movement anyway, despite obvious pain].”

If the athlete’s movement pattern during the exercise program hurts despite the amount of soft tissue work (foam rolling, LAX ball) and/or coaching during the movement, it is wise to implement a similar ideology of regressions and progressions depending on the athlete or client due to the physical loading of the movement at hand.

What is a coach to do…?

I still want a training effect for that day that they arrived.

Let’s continue with some upper body variations that are easily remedied by regressing the movement pattern at hand.

[Regression : Main Movement : Progression]

DB or BB Floor Press : Flat DB Bench Press : Alternating DB Bench Press

Variations that limit certain ranges of motion for the upper body will primarily be useful for athletes and clients that exhibit issues with the anterior portion of their shoulder, along with helping them to understand the purpose of maintaining tension throughout the movement if done correctly. Thus, a DB or BB Floor Press is very user friendly for this manner.

Beyond the Flat DB Bench Press, a progression would involve alternating the DBs in an attempt to utilize unilateral work while simultaneously challenge stability of the shoulder complex due to holding the DB up while moving the other DB dynamically.

KB Bottoms Up Overhead Press : Single Arm Overhead Press : Barbell Overhead Press

I realize many of you may not have the option of using kettlebells at your commercial gym or regular gyms around the area. If not, I’d recommend searching far and wide for one, as their varied structure determines their steadfastness for years to come. The reason being? Well if you have any issues pressing overhead, a bottoms-up kettlebell will help with maintaining this tension I keep on talking about in the shoulder complex. Some refer it to as “getting tight”, others as irradiating the scapula/rotator cuff to fully help any overhead movement to occur.

Dan John speaks highly of the Single Arm Overhead (or Military) Press in his book Intervention and how his teammates performed this movement in a ladder (ascending) manner down the rack. Insanity, but likewise something not seen everyday at the gym anymore. But he was way ahead of the curve, because of the acquired strength and understanding of stability you can gain during this movement, will immediately blow your mind.

^– Perform movement with hand on ribs/stomach to reinforce proper feedback: You do not want to feel your “ribs” flare out when pressing overhead.

Seated Row : Inverted / Suspension Row : Standing One-Arm Cable Row

With rowing, it is difficult to annotate one variation as unequivocally more difficult than another, as I utilize various rowing variations in clients and athletes’ programs throughout their exercise program. That is, somedays I utilize bodyweight rows, others a single arm cable row, and others a bilateral seated row.

If a client exhibits pain, usually in the lower back (due to too much curvature/chest up positioning) or in the anterior shoulder area, often I will encourage them to utilize the seated row variation as it is much easier to cue when they aren’t 1) Flying around in the air during a suspension trainer row, and 2) It encourages a a static position of the spine, which may be more easily coached and cued, as opposed to a spinal position that is always moving in space.

Eccentric Chin-Ups : Band Assisted Chin-Up : Chin-Up

This last one is mostly a regression –> progression instead of going up or down one level for a progression and/or regression simultaneously.

Eccentric chin-ups help to groove a certain pattern, due to the negative portion of the movement allowing contraction to still occur. If form is taken into consideration, this is a great process towards attaining your first chin/pull-up.

Chin-ups that require the use of rubber bands help to “slingshot” the athlete or client if they find it difficult to perform the movement. So it is useful to experiment with bands of different tensions (and a combination as well) in order to fully appreciate how to perform one full-on chin-up.

Borrowed from Eric Cressey & Mike Robertson


Next installment will utilize information on the “core” and how to appropriately train around pain involving core (and spinal) issues.

Keep it funky.



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