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Thread: Weak Shoulders... need female encouragement! page

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    Catrin's Avatar
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    Weak Shoulders... need female encouragement!

    Primal Fuel
    I am a 53 year old woman, 5'3, 128 pounds, and have been working out plus riding and mountain biking for over 3.5 years now. I am working with a great trainer at my gym who is really focusing on my shoulders and upper body strength as that is my biggest weakness. It is S_L_O_W going, for sure. My trainer at my last gym basically gave up on my arms and shoulders and focused on my lower body strength - but thankfully this one isn't giving up. I've a very tight t-spine we are working on loosening, and of course working on everything attached to it. We are working really hard on t-spine mobility - that in itself is enough to cause problems lifting anything properly over the head.

    Basically I just want to hear some encouragement from other women who have overcome this particular problem. My lower body and core strength at both in good shape - I can leg press 430 pounds 6 times, and hold a plank for just under 5 minutes. Of course one can never have too much core strength, especially dynamic core strength which is my current focus in that department.

    So ladies, speak up and tell me that there is hope for me! I know I shouldn't compare my upper and lower body strength, and certainly shouldn't compare myself with the others in my small training group, but it is so difficult not do to so...
    Last edited by Catrin; 12-13-2012 at 01:07 PM.

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    Have you ever been checked out by a good chiropractor? Its possible the weaness is caused by a misalignment in your back and not just weak muscles.. ..and yes its quite possible for that to happen without it causing notticable pain. Might be worth getting checked and at least ruling out before putting more stress on it.
    Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

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    Catrin's Avatar
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    It's been checked out by both physical therapists and a good osteopath. I do have some minor arthritis in my shoulders, but it is quite minor. Also some in my cervical spine, but once again it is not very bad. I will keep your suggestion in mind however. We seem to be getting SOME response from all of the hard work and that is an improvement.

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    Wow, you can do a lot more than I can and I'm younger and managed to walk across the U.S. Leg press over 400lbs? Holy cripes!
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 210 x 3

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    One of the routines that you can try is the Low Mount Standing Abduction. This exercise works the muscles on the outer thigh, hips and gluteus. What you need to do is to get an elastic band and tie it to a chair or a post.

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    When I started working with my trainer around 4 months ago, the first thing he commented on was how stiff I was in my thoracic spine.

    We do T-spine rotations and foam rollering for mobility and I did lots of work on squat form (as initially I had bad knees and also couldn't squat without leaning forward badly).

    The improvement has been fantastic in my case - I can actually now raise and lower my spine, vertebrae by vertebrae rather than in two big, stiff blocks....which is all I've been able to do for years.

    It sounds, though, as if my stiffness was much less severe than yours if you've had little improvement in such a long time.

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    Catrin's Avatar
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    Spuddygirl, we've been doing those things. I've an entire hour of corrective exercises and stretches that focuses mainly on my t-spine and lats. After no improvement after three months with shorter, easier correctives my trainer replaced the list with a new one. They are more intense, and at first were very difficult but they appear to be getting easier quickly. Either that or I am finding unconscious ways to cheat myself on them - I really hope that it is the former. I don't do all of them before every workout but I split them up and do half of them before each group or individual training session, or when I work on my own. On one rest day a week I focus on carefully doing the full list and, depending on how my body feels, I might follow it up with about 10-15 minutes of strength work. Of course I also work on my lower body and core but those areas don't require near the same focus & attention right now as my upper body.

    As far as squats are concerned, I've no problem with proper form...as long as they are air squats I can do front squats with kettlebells in the rack position without a problem - though there is a decided difference in the weight I can handle in each arm. Back squats - or anything else that uses the lower body mainly, isn't a problem. The only limitation to my deadlifts is one of my hands has a grip issue - working on that

    As far as overhead work with bars - right now I am limited to unloaded 35-lb bars. Even with that little weight I lean backwards in a simple push-press (back to that t-spine problem). Even with lighter dumbbells I tend to lean backwards - though when doing single arm presses it is obvious that one side is the main culprit with this. We are not increasing weight until I can stop this bad leaning backward thing. There isn't any pain associated with this, which is a good thing but it can certainly lead to injury if we are not careful.

    After thinking about it, I am going to get a recommendation for a good chiropractor who specializes in sports medicine. I don't think I've an alignment problem, but it seems good to rule it out.
    Last edited by Catrin; 12-14-2012 at 06:43 AM.

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    The overhead press is really hard I don't have any injuries and so far I can barely do 50lbs. I've been bumping around 45 for weeks. I'm still new at this, too. I think I'll be working on these same 50lbs for the next 3 weeks before I feel like I've got them.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 210 x 3

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    Catrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    The overhead press is really hard I don't have any injuries and so far I can barely do 50lbs. I've been bumping around 45 for weeks. I'm still new at this, too. I think I'll be working on these same 50lbs for the next 3 weeks before I feel like I've got them.
    Is this a bench or standing? I can press 60 pounds in a bench press, but I am focusing on standing presses like a push press or single arm standing presses. In a push press or other standing press my left arm really limits what I can do...Frankly it is getting embarrassing that one arm can't press over 10 pounds (and sometimes less) while the other can do at least 20-22 pounds (kettlebells).

    I finally remembered that my doctor is an osteopath....he can rule out (or in) a misalignment that might be part of my very resistant upper body strength problem. I've an appointment with him right after the New Year holiday. It certainly isn't from not working, and my trainer is a highly trained professional with a very broad, and deep, knowledge/experience base.

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    phigment's Avatar
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    my shoulder/arms are the weakest parts on me. I am unable to do normal push-ups. By consenses my pt and I just do maintaince exercise/resistance for these areas.

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