There is almost nothing that frustrates me more than not being able to complete my workouts due to pain.
I’m not someone who has had a ton of serious injuries; I was always pretty lucky in that department. But lately I’ve had my fair share of nagging aches and pains that have been taking much longer to heal than I would like.
Recently, I’ve had more than a few frustrating moments in the gym, and it’s getting hard to just look on the bright side and think “well, next time will be better”.
My ankle is still bothering me enough to limit my lower body lifts, and a stupid lat strain that I sustained a few weeks ago has started to derail my upper body efforts as well. At this point, as far as upper body goes, my “pushes” (bench press, push-ups, OH Press, etc) are fine, but almost anything involving a “pull” (row variations, deadlifts) is pretty darn painful. Which, for those of you who have been following along, is a perfect recipe for a shoulder injury.
Performing exclusively “pushing” motions without balancing them out with “pulling” motions , especially in the big lifts, is a disaster in the making, with me basically begging for a rotator cuff strain, shoulder impingement, or something equally as obnoxious.
I am limited in the amount of weight I can squat because of my ankle. I can’t deadlift or row because of my lat strain, so what in the hell am I supposed to do?
Luckily, I am able to do stadium runs, which is an excellent lower body and conditioning workout. And I am riding my bike to work again, which isn’t a ton but is at least some physical activity each day. But these two things don’t make up for the weight room at all. Last week, I had a couple of sub-par lifts, trying to figure out how to work around my injuries and still get a decent workout in. Unfortunately, by doing that, I unintentionally made my lat feel a little bit worse, delaying my progress even further. Coughing even makes me yelp now.
This week, I think I need to sit down and do some serious planning before I hit the weight room. Even if I have to do some lighter lifts, and avoid some of my compound lifts for a week or two, it’s better to do that than to keep delaying the healing process simply due to my own stubbornness, and stupid need to “test” my injuries even though I know better. If I spend this week on some accessory work, mobility work, and conditioning, hopefully within the next couple of weeks I can get back to the compound lifts that I love.
So until I can do deadlifts without feeling like a grizzly bear is shredding my right lats, I will avoid them. And to be honest, this is essential for not just my lifting future, but for daily life as well. Lats are one of those muscles that you use in so many normal daily activities, never mind the weight room. I’ve gotten to the point where even opening doors is painful, and pushing through that won’t do me any good at all.
I guess in my old age, even though I seem to be falling apart, I’ve at least gotten a little bit smarter. Silver lining?
Ok, complainy-pants rant is over. If you made it all the way to the end of this post, I applaud you, because there really was no point to this one at all, was there? Now go enjoy your Monday!
How do you work around injuries in the gym? When you’re hurt, do you tend to avoid the gym all together? What was the last injury that kept you from your usual routine?