Everyone who trains will experience injuries eventually. It's inevitable when you do anything other than sit on your couch all day. But as we know, sitting on the couch all day will bring along much more severe health problems than creaky knees or a sore back, so train instead.
So what are you supposed to do in the event of an injury? Do you rest and ice the affected area? Do you go see the physical therapist or chiropractor? Do you suck it up and train anyway? The answer is... well, it depends.
While there are certainly injuries that require immediate medical attention (a fractured pelvis, a torn ACL, herniated disc, etc.), most of the injuries we experience do not.
For most of the injuries we face from training (a tweaked low back, elbow tendinitis, and patellar tendinopathy, etc.), getting back in the gym is one of the best things we can do.
Our coaching staff is trained to work around injuries and work with you to figure out exactly when and how to modify the daily programming. We find that oftentimes, the chronic pain we feel is a very ingrained feedback loop. One of the best ways to overcome that pain is to build confidence that we are not, in fact, broken. Instead, when we scale back the movements that used to cause injury in terms of weight and range of motion and train anyway, the pain goes away.
For example, let’s take an individual with no prior history of back pain who “tweaked” her back deadlifting in class. She doesn’t know the exact reason why the tweak happened (although she thinks it might be because she rounded her back during the heavy sets). She decides to stop class early and head home to rest.
Now, we have several approaches to addressing this back tweak.
One would be to avoid the gym and especially deadlifting for a while until she feels 100% ready (2-4 weeks). Most likely in this scenario, that would mean gingerly going about her day while being especially cautious to avoid any undo stress or exercising.
The other option would be to go home and rest for a day or two. Then, even if there is some lingering pain, she decides to head back into the gym. The programming calls for deadlifts again that day. She seems warry. But, the coach recommends grabbing a light barbell and working through the full range of motion of the deadlift while prioritizing a tight back. After a couple of sets she stops noticing the back pain. By the end of the session, she is deadlifting 65# for sets 5 focusing on form.
This type of thing happens ALL THE TIME in our gym. For many injuries we see, movement is the medicine we are looking for. It all starts with realizing that our bodies are in fact amazing, adaptive, healing machines. But when we shy away from the risk of moving again, we start on a negative feedback loop of chronic pain.
One last thing, as some of you may know, several years ago I had debilitating low back pain to the point that I couldn’t sit down in a chair at work. During the height of my pain, I didn’t exercise. I barely moved out of fear of injuring myself worse.
Eventually, I got fed up and decided to train instead. I started with bodyweight air squats and good mornings before progressing to using a 35# kettlebell for swings, deadlifts, and goblet squats. As I started feeling better, I added more and more weight. Fast forward 4 years to today. Now, I deadlift and back squat heavy every single week. I have no pain or fear of pain. I found out I wasn’t broken after all.
If you are experiencing an injury, reach out to your Coach for Life to figure out the best thing to do. We are here to help.
Group Class Programming for Monday, October 9th, 2017:
1) Power Clean 5x3
2) Squat Clean 3x3