NOW WE’VE GOT SOME MOMENTUM
9 months into my lifting season, and things couldn’t be going better! I’ve got a great routine going, lifting 5 days a week while throwing in minor cardio here and there. My body has adjusted smoothly and things honestly couldn’t get any better.
My Terminator body is coming in great! Nothing can slow down my momentum! Now I just need to max out my dead lift and my workout will be done for the day…
Well, I’ve Done it Now
Was that my back, or a bag of chips? Oh God, please tell me someone just has the munchies and I didn’t just snap a vertebrae.
Okay, that’s a little overdramatic (a little?) but I really pulled something! It’s some serious pain when you can’t stand up straight and are in an awkward half-squat position in front of the treadmill section. I don’t know what the people running on the treadmills thought I was doing, and I don’t want to.
I’m injured, embarrassed, and in pain; you think I would have taken a break right?
A true ding-dong like myself wouldn’t take a break from his hardcore workout routine to let a muscle heal. That’s what sissies do. Real mean rub salt in it, grow a beard, spit, stuff like that. I wasn’t going to be the type of person to sit out of the gym just because of an “owwie”.
So what did I do? I grabbed my trusty shorty-shorts (I feel like there’s a pattern here), my lime-colored workout shirt (I would say what brand it is, but I don’t have the money to be sued for copyright infringement) and went to the gym!
Yeah, that lasted all of five minutes. My back was totally done for, I couldn’t lift a thing or even put pressure on myself. It was pitiful.
WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE
The best thing to do would have been to REST and HEAL. Should I repeat that, or are the capital letters eye-catching enough?
If you suffer an injury while working out, or even outside of the gym (like a car accident, wrestling a panda, saving the world) you should always take time out of the gym to heal up. Heading back to the gym to lift before your body is fully healed can cause serious harm. No amount of pushups or jumping jacks or pain pills can fix that.
Why Not Just Push Through The Pain?
You sassy potato, didn’t you just read what I wrote? Lifting before you’re fully ready can cause you some serious harm (oh no, I italicized the word!).
When you’re injured, your body needs to focus energy on healing the injury. Taking away that energy to focus on the strain of muscle growth does nothing but hinder the healing process. Seriously, be reasonable here. Why would you want to cause your body more injury rather than heal the injury you have?
And don’t even get me started about muscle atrophy.
Honestly, if you’re biggest concern is muscle atrophy (the shrinking in muscle due to lack of training) then you shouldn’t. Muscle atrophy takes a decent while to set in. If you’re completing simple tasks then it could take up to 4-6 weeks to atrophy, which is plenty of time to heal for most minor injuries.
How to Nurse Back Old Injuries
Have you ever been in a serious injury before and you’re dying to get back in the gym? So have I. In fact, a few months ago I had surgery on my back and had to sit a month and a half out of the gym (and it was horrible).
The first chance I got, I almost sprinted back to the gym! Here’s the kicker: I almost injured myself again because I pushed myself too hard.
The trick when returning to the gym after significant time out, or after sustaining an injury, is to slowly and steadily nurse yourself back to health. The lifter should always listen to their body and make sure that the movements are within their range of capabilities. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t keep up with your previous pace for a while, your body went through a strenuous event. Stretch, warm up, and perform “cool-off” exercises before and after lifting to keep injuries minimal and maintain your lifting health.
Injuries suck. Being out of the gym sucks. The flu sucks.
All of these things are bad, but good habits and health practices can prevent them from escalating. If you get injured and have to take time out of the gym, don’t let the negatives out way the positives. Think of the bright side, you get to get your mind back in the right mindset of lifting all while healing your wounds. And if you’ve been in an accident far before you started lifting that is still causing you issues, follow pre-workout protocols of stretching, warm-ups, and listen to your body to ensure that you are at peak lifting quality.
Do your research, get prepared, and get lifting!