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Shoulder Surgery Outcome and A Three Day/Week Workout Plan

October 15, 2006

On 9/5 I had shoulder arthroscopy to remove a 9mm loose body. It turned out that the loose body was a big chunk of cartilage off the end of the humerus, and not the only chunk. It seems that nearly all of the cartilage had fallen off and collected in the axillary pouch. Before they removed that stuff, they repaired the upper-front part of the labrum, which was just shredded (from what I saw in the photos). Then they went to the acromion/clavicle joint and removed a spur from its under-surface (probably the thing that damaged the cartilage in the first place) and performed a subacromial decompression to give the humerus a bit more space to move under. After that they opened up the acromion/clavicle joint and did a Mumford procedure to get rid of the arthritic end of the clavicle. What just slays me is that my left shoulder has never bothered me at all, except for this lose body jambing the joint starting last October. The only thing that hurt was underneath the joint where the loose cartilage had collected, and then only when I performed an exercise involving outward rotation of the shoulder.

I have not bounced back from surgery that way I anticipated; it’s been 6 weeks, with 4 weeks of rehab and I’m still sore where they did the Mumford. I am back to the gym, but basically doing the rehab exercises three days a week. I have regained full range of motion, except for lateral rotation range, which is about 85% of full. I tried inclined dumbbell press with 15 pound weights on Wednesday, got three reps and traded them for 10 pounders; even that was no piece of cake. The most unsettling part is the apparent falling apart of my joint surfaces. I take nearly everything known to improve joint health, and I still have cartilage falling off the ends of the joints. So, I’m open to ideas if you have any suggestions.

I have added an article describing the three day-per-week workout that I promote for healthy people interested in staying strong into advanced age. Each day works a specific function (and area of the body) so that the entire body is worked as intensely as health permits each week. There is a day of rest between workouts, the weekend is time to fully heal and recover, and then it repeats. The first day, (Monday) we work all the pushing functions – the front half of the upper body and the triceps. The second (Wednesday) we work all the pulling functions – the back of the upper body and the biceps. The third day (Friday) hits the lower body – lower back, the butt, thighs, hamstrings and calves. Since Leg Day is the most taxing of the workouts, we have the weekend to recover.

I have been using and teaching this workout for about 10 years; I used to do a four day split, but somewhere about my early fifties it became too taxing. I figured out this 3-day routine, and have found that at 67, I can still do it intensely and fully recover. I can work out at lunch and still have energy to do engineering until 6:00pm and go dancing at night if I wanted. This link takes you to the article: Frank’s workout

Frank Wilhelmi
Frank Wilhelmi

Frank Wilhelmi – Retired/consultant electronic engineer researches and reports practical strategies for optimizing health and fitness into advanced age. “I have a passion for living life to the fullest, and helping others to do the same.” A rapidly growing body of knowledge now enables us to extend our health and fitness decades beyond popular expectations.

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