Emil sent in a large set of questions. But they’re good ones, and instructive to all, so we’ll go through the whole set of them.
Below, I’ll break up his questions with my comments…
“I’ve been following most of your content and have been using Indestructible body and Strengthen your structure to very good effect, making solid progress in my weakest links- shoulders and grip over last 3 months.”
Excellent to hear. In some ways Strengthen Your Structure was born out of what I started developing in The Indestructible Body. They’re both largely about developing areas and methods of moving that are outside the conventional and how these can deliver big benefits.
“However, I chose to mix things up recently and decided to try myself at the Monster countdown murder workout by Nick Nilsson last week – Deadlift+ DB floor press+Pull-ups+ front squats 5 sets with decreasing reps on each set 5-4-3-2–1 with no rest in between exercises or sets. I experienced some pain in my top left shoulder after the first “Murder” work out though it felt like an awesome workout. I did the same workout 3 days later and got the same pain again only this time a bit worse. I did some research and I’m certain Ive sprained my AC joint – it feels slightly swollen and very tender.”
I like Nick. Met him in person a few years back and have corresponded with him many times before. He’s very inventive with exercises and routines. I especially enjoyed his Muscle Explosion course as it opened my eyes to some solid ways of gaining mass.
That all being said, please, please, please be careful of any workout that promises to MURDER you!
Maybe that should be obvious. But with murderously hard work comes a greater chance of injury. Understand that toughness requires an overriding of bodily signals that say danger.
“My questions. Could you tell which exercise may have caused the injury? ( For the lack of sufficient weight plates in my garage I did Iso deadlifts above knee height with floor-anchored chains). I’m speculating I overdid it there?!”
Considering it was the shoulder I would first look to those exercises that use it in a primary way. The DB floor press and possibly the pullups too.
There is also the possibility that it was not any one exercise but the combination of work that could be doing it.
“What corrective exercise would you recommend or should I completely ignore upper body work for 2-3 wks to let it rest? I found hanging and scapular Pull-ups give some relief as well as your banded shoulder mobility drills. Anything else?”
There is certainly a time for rest. But this time is often less than many people assume. Even though you may lay off any real “work” with the shoulder, as you’ve found various drills that are more along the lines of mobility and flexibility can help.
If it is a strain, then it absolutely will take some time to heal. But moving in a light and easy way can serve to help that healing process. Just be careful that nothing you do overdoes it and delays healing.
In addition to what you mentioned I would work with unweighted arm circles and motions that put the shoulder through its very wide range of motion. Swinging an Indian club also comes to mind (these are one or two-pound wooden clubs…not to be confused with something like a clubbell or sledgehammer).
“Oh and 1 more burning question. For my shoulders, I’ve been doing straight arm db front, lateral and rear delt raises 3×6 in the sequence you recommend in your book followed by handstand holds and alternating every other workout with heavy elastic band overhead presses 3×6 followed by straight arm holds in all 9 positions – almost doubled the weights in 3 months.
Question: should I carry on adding weight for the full ROM exercises or focus more on heavy partial and Isos and just increase reps on the dynamic straight arm raises with the current weight? I’m at about 33lb dumbbells for each arm now.”
I’m assuming this was all before the injury.
What should you do? It completely depends. Both things you mentioned are valid paths. To properly answer this question depends on what your ultimate goals are, which things are you most interested in doing, plus with the recent injury, if one route is better for the rehab than the other.
The human body has thousands of movement and strength possibilities. Where you go with it ultimately depends on your goals.