I'm supposed to see a sports medicine specialist in a couple of weeks, but because I'm that way, I spent a great deal of time over the past week doing some reading (much of it at Testosterone Nation) to figure out what lead to the tendonitis in my shoulder, and to determine what I can do to prevent it from being a major problem in the future. The fact that it's currently preventing me from training my chest and shoulders is killing me.
Everything I read pointed to the tendonitis being caused by an imbalance between my chest and back strength (with my chest being stronger). At first, I dismissed this possibility, since I've been training both of them, and in fact, I train my back MORE than my chest (9-11 sets vs. 4-6 sets). But when I was talking to Kevin about it last night, I realized that most of my back work has been the vertical plane (pull-ups, pulldowns, etc.) and only minimally in the horizontal plane (2 sets of rows). That's been up against 2 sets of bench, 2 sets of incline dumbbell presses, plus dips or pec dec. Plus, I can lift a lot more with my chest than my back (e.g. benching 215 lbs for 2 sets of 6-8 reps vs. rowing 135 lbs for the same sets and reps).
I also did some posture analysis yesterday and found that I have internally rotated humeri and mild kyphosis, which confirms the imbalance.
So for now, I'm going to train my back hard to try to reduce the imbalance. I won't be working my chest, since it still hurts to do so anyway. I'll also be doing some additional exercises to strengthen my rotator cuff.
While doing my research, I also came to the realization that my current workout philosophy is no longer working very well for me. I've been using high intensity training (HIT), mainly because it takes less time. For those unfamiliar, it basically boils down to doing a low number of sets with heavy weight and training to failure on every lift. I got good results from this initially, but over the past 4-5 months, my gains have been pretty minimal. Since I believe that I'm getting adequate nutrition, I suspect that my training is inadequate.
So previously, I've been working one body part per day, several exercises per body part, with 1 to 2 sets of 6-8 reps, adjusting the weight so that I train to failure on the last set.
But after the reading I did over the weekend, I'm changing to a more high volume approach. I'll focus on doing compound lifts (which I was doing previously, but I'm going to drop a few isolation exercises that probably aren't that effective) with setXreps in the 10x3, 8x4, 5x5 ranges with 80%+ of my max, alternated with 3x10, 4x8, etc., with slightly lower weights. I started doing this on Monday, and I already feel that I'm getting more out of my workouts, but I'll see what kind of results I get after a few months.