Why do you exercise?

A couple of weekends ago, while in the middle of all of the lacrosse chaos over the past couple of weeks, I managed to tweak my shoulder. I was carrying a pop-up tent over my head, with a friend, to move it when a gust of wind suddenly blew the tent back. I caught it before it got away but I noticed a twinge in my right shoulder. It came on suddenly, then went away just as quickly. I noticed that certain movements would bring the pain back, but as soon as I changed the position of my arm it would go away almost immediately. Needless to say I was a little concerned.

While shoulder pain is not ideal for most of us, it is certainly a little more intimidating for me. I use my shoulders every day and with almost every patient! It is pretty obvious that shoulder pain could limit my ability to do my job, but any lingering issues would also prevent me from doing my training program. 

When it comes to my training I, historically, have only one goal. That goal is strictly a long-term goal. My focus is on being able to tell my kids to shut up when I am 70 years old. When they tell me that I shouldn't do something because I am too old, I want to look them in the eye and say "Shut up. Don't tell me I can't do something, let me show you that I can!"

This year is a little different though because I do have a secondary goal. Remember that I told you that I am working on passing the Kettlebell Snatch Test this year. You may have forgotten that I mentioned that in one of these newsletters a couple of months ago. I certainly haven't forgotten. My training certainly has been more focused on this short-term goal, but the longer-term goal is always in the back of my mind.

As a result of this twinge in my shoulder, and the amount of shoulder work that is involved in the training for the Snatch Test, I decided to take a week off of the training. Last week, I spent all of my allotted training time working on rehab exercises for my shoulder. If I am going to reach my goal for this year, I will need healthy shoulders. This seemed like a small sacrifice to make in service of reaching the goals that I have set for myself.

A good friend of mine has been helping to keep me accountable throughout this new training program. On Monday morning, I sent him a text message explaining what happened and the changes that I planned to make for the week of training. In response, he asked me if I could still train my lower body instead, since my shoulders needed a little TLC. That response was exactly what I would have said to someone else. But it was not the right answer for me. At least not right now.

After giving it some careful thought, that was not the right path forward for me. Training my legs was not going to help my shoulders get back on track. My daily training window is very small, and taking care of my shoulders had to be a higher priority if I wanted to reach my goals. We discussed it more over several text messages, and he understood why I decided to focus on shoulder rehab over additional strength training. For the next 7 days, I spent 30-45 minutes simply doing rehab exercises to get my shoulders back to 100%. It worked! I have fully resumed my training program this week, without any significant discomfort!

I am telling you this story for a couple of simple reasons. First, we always need to know why we are exercising, and we need to make sure that our training is always moving us toward our goals. Secondly, it is very important to have friends who will hold you accountable and ask tough questions. Finally, it is important to know your body and know what you are capable of on any given day.

What are you doing today to move you closer to your goals?

Movement is my medicine,


Dr. William "Chip" Bleam

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam


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