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Injuries Chronic & Acute

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Old 07-17-2006, 08:27 AM   #1
Greg Battaglia
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Ok, so I've had a history of shoulder problems. When I was a kid I never performed any wieght training. For exercise I road my bike, played sports, and went swimming. As soon as I started lifting weights (bodybuilding to be specific) when I was twelve years old I began to encounter one shoulder injury after another. I noticed that exercises like bench pressing and shoulder pressing had the most detrimental effect on my shoulder joints. After years of shoulder injuries I gave up on weights and adopted a bodyweight only routine in which I performed only exercises, ran, swam, skipped rope, and hit a heavy bag and a speed bag. With this came a complete absence of any shoulder pain or injuries and I actually saw a major improvement in shoulder strength and stability. After finding crossfit my shoulder initially felt fine until a few months ago when I pulled a muscle in my shoulder. Ever since then my shoulder hasn't been the same, even after providing it with adequate recovery. Sometimes it feels great but I also experience flare-ups. Now to actually get to the topic of the post, what do you all think about using evolutionary standards in avoiding injuries? I mean, I highly doubt that our ancestors were doing shoulder presses, bench pressed, or even movements like OHS's and snatches (although I do acknowledge that the latter two are extremely effect at improving performance). I believe that we are much more likely to become injured during activities like these (as opposed to bodyweight calisthenics) is because our bodies have not evolved to sustain the pressure of such movements. So, I'm thinking that if we follow a more H/G oriented activity pattern that we will all experience much fewer injuries (if any at all). And when you think about it, it sort of makes sense.Explosive, yet light weight, exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, body squats, frog jumps, sprinting, punching and swimming seem to be more close to something that an H/G would be doing, rather than BP, shoulder press, snatches, or OHS. I would imagine that H/G's would be doing activities like climbing, walking/hiking, sprinting, carrying, and possibly swimming. So what do you guys/girls think about this whole idea? (although I'm sure that I'm not the first to think of it)
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Old 07-17-2006, 09:51 AM   #2
Anthony Bainbridge
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It was probably a muscle imbalance in your shoulder girdle.
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Old 07-17-2006, 02:35 PM   #3
Garrett Smith
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Greg, I agree with you. My workouts are moving more that way nowadays.

Unless they were alone, I bet H/G people put off lifting excessively heavy things by themselves when:
1) getting injured doing something stupid was a quick way to the grave
2) why lift it by yourself when you can lift something more easily and safely with several of your buddies?

Bodyweight movements, especially the less "contrived" ones (ie. Hindu squats) are more like everyday movements of people who have to hunt/gather/escape, thus less injuries due to their "naturalness".

Greg, we should talk more off-line about Z-Health. It's really about so much more than just dynamic joint mobility--it has completely changed the way I perceive training as it relates to health. I'm going to the 2nd level cert this weekend, I'm pretty excited!
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:44 PM   #4
Jerimiah Childress
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Sorry I have to disagree with this idea that the H/G lifted overhead, especially when he was with other men. I can think of many times when a H/G would use Shoulder press, OHS, and even Bench Press movement (though probably not on his back).

Its hard for me to imagine constructing shelter, even temporary shelter without pressing overhead. Pressing your buddy up a tree to go after fruit, hoisting game up off the ground for drying and to avoid attracting preditors, moving boulders, logs or other heavy objects to arrange boundries or to clear passages to natural shelters, and finally assuming he was not alone to show off.

Lastly if we evolved to adapt to our enviroment and we did not lift or press overhead, then why else would our shoulders be developed the way they are. It doesn't make any sense that if we evolved we would go to such a flimsy hyper-mobile joint if it was not meant for mobility.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:46 AM   #5
Roger Harrell
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Our shoulders brachiate primarily for climbing/haniging purposes. Lifting overhead is a side benifit (all theory of course, but that's the current prevailing thoughts). But, yes, lots of overhead lifting for HGs.
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Old 07-18-2006, 10:36 AM   #6
Greg Battaglia
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Dr.G, that's exactly what I was thinking. I think a lot of people percieve an H/G as some neanderthal that just randomly roamed the earth alone, eating whatever he could and doing what it took to stay alive; always on the edge. I think that H/G life was/is probably more structured than that and consisted of small communities/tribes. I highly doubt an H/G would try to carry a buffalo home by himself when he would've had other guys there to help out. I'm curious about Z-Health, I've never heard of it until you mentioned it and just checked out the website. It seems very interesting, I'm surprised I've never heard of it before. Have you used the principles of the program before?
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Old 07-18-2006, 11:30 AM   #7
Marc Moffett
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Greg, I am as enthusiastic as anyone about evolutionary theory informing diet and exercise routines. However, one small bit of warning about this perspective. As Stephen J. Gould and Richard Lewontin noted in a famous paper called "The Spandrels of San Marcos: A Critique of the Adaptationist Program" (or something to that effect), it is easy to tell evolutionary "just-so" stories--there is always one at hand. [How did this or that work in the evolutionary context? Just so... insert your favorite theory invoking fitness levels.]

IMO it is best to think of people's physical structure in the same way you think about their diet--as generalists. (In fact, the two probably aren't disconnected. I dietary generalist can't afford to be overly specialized physically.) From the point of view of comparative anatomy, we are nowhere near as powerful as most animals. We have cashed power (muscle composition and point of muscular attachment) for fine-motor control. That, IMO, is the place to start when considering evolution and exercise.
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:16 AM   #8
Garrett Smith
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Roger,
After reading your post, it brought me to thinking about that shoulder rehab article that Tyler Hass wrote for the CFJ that involved hanging from rings to really get into pain-free motions at the start. That made so much sense to me as opposed to the compressive movements that are so often recommended today (along with the fact most people can barely hang from a bar longer than 10 seconds).

The more I think about it, the more the shoulder would appear to be mobile for hanging purposes (especially if one believes we descended from primates). If the shoulder was designed for pressing heavy weights, it would be more designed like the hip joint--huge crossing muscles and a ball-and-socket joint. I sure don't see primates pressing things very often (other than flinging poo).
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Old 07-20-2006, 09:10 AM   #9
Erica Bergstrom
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Garret, thanks for mentioning the CFJ shoulder rehab article, I didn't know about it. I'm looking at shoulder surgery this fall and the article could have some good info for me. Thanks.
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:37 PM   #10
Garrett Smith
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Sorry,
I *DO* know that the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, it's just a really, really shallow one.

Hips: deep ball-and-socket, extremely stable, surrounded by the largest muscles in the body, also made up of two of the biggest bony complexes in the body (femur and pelvis), one end attached to the feet (a structure designed for load support and pressing).

Shoulder: extremely shallow ball-and-socket, extremely mobile, surrounded by relatively small muscles as compared to the hip joint, not "directly" attached to the axial skeleton, includes one of the weakest bones in the body (the clavicle), one end attached to the hands (a structure designed for hanging on to things, to facilitate brachiation as Roger mentioned).

When I flesh it out like that, it makes sense to me as to why **excessive, overly repetitive in their ROM** pressing movements easily damage the shoulder girdle.
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