I’ve gotten a number of questions about the rehab for my shoulder and how I’ve gone about it. Before I get into it, let me put a HUGE asterisk by all of these words by proclaiming loud and clear that I am not a doctor or physical therapist. I can only offer what I’ve done the last couple months. I took it upon myself (personal responsibility) to talk to people that help people rehab their shoulders and read what I could on the subject. I then looked at the similarities and the common themes present. Here are some important things I learned through all of this:
- Strength training too early is not going to help the repair; let time be your friend. In other words, be patient. It’s not a race to press the earliest.
- Wear your sling in public. A sling tells the world “I’m fucked up. Don’t touch me.” A sling is very similar to a merkin.
- Take your pain meds BEFORE the pain starts.
- Have a good set up to sleep/relax. You will have to sleep sitting up for a while so make sure you have a comfy chair or your bed is set up in such a way that you can sit comfortably.
- There are going to be good days and awful days. Don’t get too excited or too depressed.
- Your time table should be in large chunks of time, not days. Meaning: 6 month goals, 1 year goals, 2 year goals. The longer you extend the front end of repair and recovery, the better off you are going to be.
So here is the outline of the rehab; this is as basic as I can make it.
- Passive range of motion for first 4-6 weeks. Re-read and internalize this.
- After 6 weeks, perform full range of motion movements like pressing, bench pressing, rows, and chins but ONLY with bodyweight. Chins are simply done standing and “pulling” your arms down (yes, it is similar to the press). And yes, you will look and feel weird doing “air bench presses”.
- After the “big” movements, perform smaller exercises such as internal/external rotation, rear raises, L-raises, scap retraction, shrugs, etc. Again, start with no weight.
- Progress very slowly in adding weight; I used the basic 5/3/1 program with a 70lb training max.
- Do the above 3-4 times a week.
- I used a football bar (aka Swiss Bar) for all pressing movements.