Hey, all. I'm back.
I was away for a good while because I've been having some crazy shoulder pains from extended hours on the keyboard. I later learned that it's something called Mouse Shoulder. At least, that's exactly what it sounds like. The pain was right around where the shoulder blade meets the spine and seemed to kind of flare out from there. My arm never hurt, it never went up to my actual deltoids (the shoulder muscles). It was closer to the trapezius.
This meant I couldn't study for my OSCP the way I wanted to, because sitting up at my desk was becoming kind of painful. I did get to study a bit from the beanbag chair, but this meant laying back to be on the laptop, and made it hard to do any labs. Plus, I was on a tiny MacBook, which definitely wasn't designed to run VMs. I did manage to write a short (about 8,000) story over the course of two nights on the beanbag. That was fun.
Anytime I used a computer at my desk, it would flare up. It turns out it was a combination of things that were leading to it, I think. Before the world went into pandemic mode, I was working out doing heavybags, boxing mitt workouts, etc. at a fight gym. Then everything shut down and I got kinda lazy.
On top of that, I started working more hours and focusing so much on my OSCP studies, that I was spending 12-hours a day on the computer and not doing anything else. A few months of that, and it started to take its toll.
I figured it was time to start working out again. Since I currently live in an apartment, and I'm on the second floor, I didn't want to be too loud.
Here's some of the stuff I started doing. Also, I'm going to link to the equipment I've been using. I'm not getting paid or any kind of crap like that. I just have a lot of this stuff and decided to use it or purchase it to workout.
I started doing push-ups again. This offered almost instant relief. I don't know if it's because the muscles are working and doing something different rather than fatiguing themselves by holding a mouse all day, but these really helped.
I used the Perfect Push-Up, which I already owned, because one of my uncles had them for years and never used them. You can find those here. Mine's an older model, but it's the same thing.
Dips and Australian Pull-ups
Bodyweight dips are one of my favorite workouts. I use the Lebert Equalizer, and it's been a great companion for my dips. It may feel a little low for someone who's a bit taller, but I'm about 5'6 or 5'7 and about 160. They hold me pretty well and feel very stable. I trust these, because they feel solid, and are pretty light, so they're easy to put in your trunk and take out to the park for a workout. You can find them here. These also helped a lot with the pain, and I start doing dips anytime it flares up.
I also did Australian Pull-ups with this sucker. These are not full-on pull-ups. You lie on your back and reach up to the bar and pull yourself up from more of a lying down position. It's a lot easier to do, but it really engages those rear delts and some of those bigger back muscles, because it's more similar to a row than a lat pulldown. I chose these a lot, because I wanted to engage the back more.
I just got a cheap ab wheel at Academy a few years ago and finally started using it again. It's just a basic one you can pick up at any sporting department or sporting goods store for about eight bucks. Something like this one. The one I linked to seems kind of expensive. Honestly, you can go to Academy or Dick's Sporting Goods, or whatever is near you and find one for less than 10 bucks. I don't think this is one of those pieces of equipment where quality is a huge concern. It's a cheap plastic wheel with a short bar through it.
This workout is designed to strengthen the core, but it almost combines the core/plank movement with something that's almost like a push-up. Either way, it's really helpful the core while also working the shoulders and chest.
I also did regular pull-ups and chin-ups. I used one of these. It lets me adjust my grip, and that gives me a lot of options. I usually do a few regular pull-ups on these. 4-5. Then I can do some neutral grip chin-ups 5-7, which are a lot easier to do.
Then, if I'm feeling like targeting the back a bit more, I tuck my legs and lay back and do some tucked-front lever pull-ups. Those, again, really help with the shoulder pain.
I bought this exact set. It's a regular lacrosse ball, a spiky one and a "peanut" ball. I find myself using the regular one more than the others, so there's really nothing wrong with just buying one of those. I think they cost about $5 on their own. You just roll on it and try to massage out the knots or pain.
Other things that helped
Things that also helped.
Adjusting the Height of my keyboard and mouse
I am currently using a temporary desk for my mouse and keyboard that is about six inches lower than my computer desk. It's just low enough so that my arms are not as elevated, they are closer to waist level rather than being almost at chest level. This has actually been extremely helpful in relieving a ton of that pain.
I just bought the cheapest crap one I could find and threw my mouse on keyboard on it. I adjusted the height to something comfortable, so my screens are still the same height, but my mouse and keyboard are much lower than they were before, and that's less strain on the shoulder. I think this one from Staples is the exact model.
This neck weight thing
I also wanted to work my neck a bit. I already had one of these, because believe it or not, I used to do some boxing for fun and almost decided to go into the amateurs. I even got my USA Boxing license and did all that fun stuff. Anyway, all those hours hunched over the computer screen aren't good for your neck, so I started doing some neck exercises, too.
I used this thing, which I already had, because I used it for training so my neck didn't give out when getting hit in the head.
Well, that's about it
That's about it. As much as I kinda hate saying this, sometimes you have to get away from the computer a bit. It's good for your health, and you will be surprised how refreshed you are when you come back.