Not very many. But I’m still ecstatic to report that I did a few. Why? Because I tried to do a single chinup 3 or 4 months ago and wasn’t able to complete one. The pain in my left shoulder was so intense that I literally couldn’t even grind through it to complete the rep. I have the strength to do one. But the arms-overhead position is terrible on my left shoulder.
Thanks to Gym Movement (biofeedback training) I’ve been testing things and sometimes doing movements that aren’t necessarily testing well for my body. But my theory is I could somehow break through the standoff my left shoulder has forced me into this last year. It paid off and I did my first complete chinup in probably over a year.
Did it hurt? Yep. Quite a bit. But the pain was less than it has been in at least a year! I’m on my way to recovery – I can feel it. I decided I was tired of passively waiting for that day to come. All the times I’ve just avoided doing any pressing or DO bending or pushups…that hasn’t helped me. Working through the pain slowly and what I consider smartly – using biofeedback – is paying huge dividends already.
Even hanging with no tension on my lats or arms was super painful even a month ago. I was happy to be able to hold onto a 2″ thick PVC bar a few weeks ago in the KC Qualifier II grip contest for 41 seconds. I tried to do a pullup after that contest was over and got about halfway up. Which was sadly an improvement from the few weeks before that.
> I had to test several different hand placements to figure out which one was going to allow me to do my first chinup in a long time. Pronated grip really hurt my shoulder. Even more than arms-overhead position normally does. Crossed that off the list. I knew I could do better than that with another hand position.
> Next I tested an alternate grip on both sides. Supinated on the left and pronated on the right. Then pronated on the left and supinated on the right. That was a little better than both being pronated. And the left being supinated was the best of those two options.
> Both hands supinated tested far better than anything else. The shoulder pain was still there quite a bit. But I thought it would be manageable for very short periods of time.
Ω Gritted my teeth and pulled toward the bar and eked out a single rep on the chinup with both hands supinated.
Ω Rested a few minutes and then gave myself some verbal cues to relax the left shoulder area as much as possible during the next attempt. Got 3 reps on that set! All were clean reps but still painful.
Ω Another few minutes rest and I got 2 more reps. Both reps were solid.
It will seem silly to most people reading this to get excited about being able to do a single chinup. But most people reading this probably haven’t had the shoulder issues that I’ve been dealing with since about 2007. These shoulder issues are my own fault though. And they don’t impede my day job at all…no overhead lifting. But my injuries have really made me appreciate anything I can once again do that I haven’t been able to for a while.
I look forward to doing more pullups soon. My numbers will probably never go higher than 10 – but I’m really focused on getting my shoulder into good operating condition once again. In case any challenges I used to enjoy suddenly call to me again.