I know what you’re thinking, did he really just say opportunities from incurring an injury? I did. Anyone who plays a sport, or is highly active in some sort of physical activity, goes to the gym on a regular basis. To perform better, be in better shape, or become more competitive.
All of these individuals, from different walks of life and points in age, or career will suffer an injury, limiting, or debilitating pain. Some will say this is just par for the course. But it doesn’t have to be a continually happening event. It is in these instances, and circumstances as a seasoned athlete, gym goer gives us the opportunity,to learn better ways of training, and listening to our bodies.
We learn better ways of training, different methods to stimulate the muscle, to continue hypertrophy, hold on to your physique development during recovery and rehabilitation of the muscle, or muscles affected,and to even develop a better looking physique in the end, Lessoning the risk for another injury in the future.
After tearing my right pectoralis in 2008, while performing heavy bench press in a highly explosive concentric motion. I suffered a stage III tear to the muscle,and dislocation of the pectoralis tendon. After undergoing reattachment surgery, and extensive rehab. It took nine months to fully recovered. To say I was bummed would be the understatement of the century.
The thought of my symmetry being altered for the worse. What it might look like ones I got back to the stage. To just simply being comfortable with my shirt off. All this was on my mind, amongst the angst,the depression,I was still determined to make a full recovery. It was in this time, I learned how to train the rest of my body in a way that I didn’t atrophy, or lose too much muscle. I threw myself into studying different methods to train, and work around physical issues. To keep my mind occupied and moving forward.
During rehabilitation there were a lot of setbacks. These setbacks caused me to reevaluate my style of training. No longer would I train ballistically, carelessly, or let my ego dictate my actions in the gym. This challenged my thinking as an athlete,and as a person.
But going back to the depression. I think it is the number one obstructive, and destructive emotion in the process of recovery. As an athlete all my life I’ve used my body to pursue 90% of my goals in life. After suffering a major injury it starts to make you doubt,and fault, and have contempt for the one thing, that you’ve spent your life putting first, nurturing, and developing. Feeling that it has let you down.
These feelings are even more debilitating than the actual injury itself. This pushed me to reading about other athletes who had suffered major injuries, and how they approached their mental recovery and rehabilitation, as well their physicality. What they did to bring themselves back to the top of their game,and performance. This served as a very positive form of therapy for me.
Do I have some range of motion issues? Yes. Can I still lift the same crazy weights I used to? No. I can say however I am absolutely, without a doubt a better coach, athlete, and bodybuilder, student of training, and personal trainer today for it.
The lessons learned, and opportunities gained in the process are priceless and never go away.
Form, function, range of motion,time under tension,and development of the mind, muscle connection. These are the tools that will build the best physiques.
Respect the weights. This something I make a point to say to younger athletes.
“Young man’s injury, can be a old man’s nightmare.”