A strong argument for adding dumbbells and 'function' to your training

Andrew Jansen

Hindsight is 2020

There is so much in my training career that, in reflection, was poorly thought out. I'd benched 160 and pulled 270 before having a single injury, and thought my planning and programming was quite intelligent.

Two things colour that now

1. I was young - everyone can be injury free young

2. I was only doing powerlifting, of course I'm functional in the only rages I function.

Fast forward to years later, and just trying to 'healthy' and I'm more injured than ever.


What happened

Basically, I got old, and apparently when you are old, lifting weights alone is not sufficient not to get fat. This is annoying.

Like all middle aged men, I found road cycling and started getting my bodyfat in check. Road cycling is exactly like powerlifting. Its all numbers and programming, which brings joy to my mathematical brain.


Then (Iron Underground Brissie - a few years back)

A strong argument for adding dumbbells and ’function’



A strong argument for adding dumbbells and ’function’


My primary issues came from having huge levels of strength in some plains, but absolutely no way to stabilise or balance.


Thoughts post much injury management

Easy things I wish I did

1. Dumbbell work as accessories for bench. Just to have built a level of stabilisers in my shoulders. I only did bar work for many many year in a row.

2. Internal and external rotations with a baby dumbbell - I've had a huge level of issues with rotator cuffs, its very annoying to rehab

3. A lunge - even if it was one. My ability to stabilise my hips is chronically bad and the cause of a huge number of issues.

4. Did some sort of full range squat, if I could have maintained my deep front squat, that would have been huge

5. Full stretch chins - scap all the way out, scap all the way down then chin

A strong argument for adding dumbbells and ’function’

The cost

The cost during the heavy training days was almost zero. The cost for me today has been huge. I've had consistent shoulder and hip issues for close to two years now - when you add all the physio and lost time, the cost is huge.


The Take-away

Almost two years ago in a injury assessment, I could do 50 pushups easily with my shoulders down and back. If I had to finish each push up by rotating the scap forward, I couldn't do 5.

I was super proud my arms couldn't go over my head (I know, meathead), I had never thought about scap function.

If you look at the tips above, it would have, in no way, lowered my powerlifting function.

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    Peter Gehle

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