Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Know pain? NO GAIN.

"Tough guy periodization: Heavy, heavier, even heavier, injury, light, light, heavy..."
                        -- Mark Reifkind, MRKC

Training-wise, I’ve had a pretty good few months.

If I may brag a little, I’ve hit a number of big PRs since January thanks to smart programming, namely Dan John’s 40 Day Program, and focus on just a few things.  Here are the major ones:

 Double kettlebell overhead press – 62 lb + 62 lb
-          Double kettlebell front squat – 70 lb + 70 lb for an easy triple (on a cushy floor, too!)
-          Two one-arm-one-leg pushupson either side
-          One one-arm-one-leg pushup on either side with the back foot elevated
-          5 dragon flags
-          One-arm hanging leg raises
-          Pullup + 88 lbs
-          70 lb kettlebell snatch for reps each side
-          Half-bodyweight one-armpress
-          One-arm flexed arm hangs
-          A much easier snatch test (80 reps without rest, followed by the last twenty)

But comfort-wise?  Well, that's a different story.

As impressive as this list may sound - and as happy as I am with everything on it - there’s a dark side to all of this that I haven’t told many people about.  And it’s pain.

Back in November, I injured myself doing something stupid (not kettlebell related), and paid a heavy price for it, both in my body and in my wallet.  I paid $1000 + dollars just to get back to the point where I could lift ANYTHING, as the muscles in my upper back were knotted up so bad that turning my neck and moving my arms caused me to shriek more than a few times.  I couldn’t do anything more athletic than lift a fork.  I sacrificed a lot of money that could have gone toward doing other, cooler things, rather than getting my body unf*cked.  I was able to get myself to the point where I could lift heavy things again, which is where I stopped my treatment.  

All right all right all right!  I think I’m good to lift again!

I still woke up very stiff and achy, but after moving around for a bit most of the discomfort would dissipate.  I would do whatever I could to abate the pain, and for a while, I was able to train around it (and quite successfully, obviously).  A lacrosse ball and a few selected self-massage/myofascial release techniques were my daily oasis in the wilderness.  As with anyone, I learned a lot about my body as a result of my injury.  Here are a few things I learned:

·         Getting injured is like rolling a snowball down a hill; more things start to accumulate because of it, and no matter how well you chase after it and hack it down to a manageable size, it will eventually become unmanageable and you will pay the price.
·         Do you plan on lifting and training for another few decades?  Then plan on prioritizing soft-tissue health, which is the yin to strength’s yang (I’ve been good about this when it comes to mobility and flexibility, but bodywork is a big part of the picture, too).
·         The one-more-rep-bro mentality is stupid.  Following the RKC training mentality for years kept me healthy, and ignoring it once made me pay the price. 
·         Know pain?  NO GAIN.

Despite other big goals I’ve set for myself for this year, I’m putting them off indefinitely while I get my soft tissue issues worked out.  For the last four years I've been diligent about keeping my soft tissues healthy a la Super Joints and Relax Into Stretch, and as a result, I've avoided probably 99% of injuries I might have otherwise had to deal with.  Since this injury, my go-to treatment for jacked-up soft tissues has been cupping massages, and now guasha (“coining”) as well as my Super Joints and Relax Into Stretch routines.  I’ve already noticed a huge difference, and am going to continue the treatment until I’m back to better than ever.

In case you were unsure, yes, this is me, and yes, I am half robot.

A final note: Just yesterday on Facebook I ran across a picture of Franco Colombu bench pressing some really heavy weight.  The majority of the comments on the picture were disappointing: “Man, I wish I could lift heavy again, but my joints just can’t take it anymore!” “I love lifting heavy!  I used to do it all the time!  I wish I could go back to it, but my joints are all screwed up from years of lifting heavy.  But there’s nothing like lifting heavy!!!!!11!!!!1!!oneone!”

I agree, there really IS nothing like lifting heavy.  There’s also nothing like enjoying your life.  Dealing with pain is like hearing static over your favorite song on the radio: you can still enjoy the song, but the static will keep you from ever enjoying it completely.  If you want a life full of both heavy lifting and freedom from pain, take it from me: stop working through, around, under, and over your problems.  Get them fixed before it’s too late.

Until next time, lift heavy and eat hearty!


No comments:

Post a Comment