I’d like to talk about injuries. My last major injury in the gym came about a year and a half ago as I was training on the smith machine doing a flat bench variation during chest day. I felt a slight Pop followed by an intense twinge in my left pec (Pectoralis). Now for the record, I wasn’t using any type of heavy weight. Just enough to stimulate and get a good training session in. Flat bench barbell press is not a movement I do a lot of, since back in 08 it was the exercise that I tore my right pec on. The pec had to be surgically repaired. This brings me back to my original reason for writing this blog.
Anyone who has spent a good amount of time in the gym, whether you’re a recreational lifter, gym goer, or seasoned competitor., you’re going to have sustained some sort of ache,pains,and slight strains, or God forbid, a torn muscle. As bad as they seem when they happen, the good news is all these issues heal. BUT they never get back to the way they were before. In our subconscious we know that they are still there.
With that we have to learn to train smarter, employ better methods, and depending on where you are in the healing process, work around them. Most importantly, we must make sure that we don’t cause them to become a major injury, that sidelines you temporarily,
There’s so much information out there on “training style” with varying opinions as to which one is the best for adding muscle. We’re constantly pounded from a very young age with the idea that using heavy weight is the only way to increase muscle. That may be relatively true. You have to train within your knowledge, abilities, genetics, and development. Whether you’re a novice, intermediate, or advanced trainer. If there’s anything you take away from this blog, hopfully it’s this; muscle has no eyes, it can’t see the weight.
So depending on speed of rep, the angle, and rep range, you can make a 60 pound dumbbell feel like a 110. Also by using methods like time under tension(tut), Pre exhaust, coupled with drop sets, pause reps, supersets, or giant sets. You can get much more stimulation without using crazy heavy weight. One thing I witness daily is people missing something so imperative to getting great development, and thats focusing on the contraction of the muscle through out the lift. Squeeze the hell out of that muscle and make it do more work, this will also help you attain better mind muscle connection. Doing it this way, I promise, you can achieve maximum muscle stimulation without the risk.
As for the younger guys I see you in the gym. Every day, you’re busting your ass to get bigger, leaner, stronger, closer to your goals. That’s great but be smart about it guys. Consider the long term, I know at this point your invincible, unbreakable, and your gonna be a badass for ever. All of that may seem totally possible. But here’s the reality, I was where you are now. It took a while but guess what I found out. LOL! Yep, I wasn’t invincible, unbreakable, or a badass, the weight let me know who was stronger.
We all only get one body, and it actually has to last you another sixty something years. That PR (personal record) or that max lift, you’ve been focused on, or maybe you’ve been taking every set to failure, every time you’re in the gym. Guess what? It’s not written in the gym bible that it’s the only way to build that awesome physique you’re after.
Alright, go with me on this… Let’s say you do a 200, 300, 400 pound bench, or a 300, 400, 600 pound squat! And during that lift you rupture a pec tendon, or tear a quad. First off it’s gonna hurt like HELL. Then when it’s all over you’re the only one that has to deal with that injury, stuck at home waiting for surgery, or physical therapy that’s gonna take six to nine months after. Meanwhile everything just keeps on moving on in the world. Nobody remembers, or really cares that you got injured, and you’re sitting at home depressed because everything you read and believed about the “LAWS” of lifting had you pushing to be the man in the gym. Sound like I’ve been there? Unfortunately, I have…
Guys I’m not saying don’t go in there and push yourself. I love going in there and pushing myself. I’m just saying be smart about your training, listen to your body, stay within your limits, lift with impeccable form and maximize all methods of intensity, and training variation. In time you will get the physique you’re working so hard on, with less risk of injuries.
The body is a great storyteller. It will tell the story on how you treated it both good, and bad. Treat your body like its your most prized possession.
“A young man’s injury, is an old man’s nightmare”.