In one form or another this is one of the most common questions I receive regarding staying injury free from training.
Thanks for the free gifts Logan!! What do I want to achieve through my training? Well real quickly, a little backdrop on myself. I am 42 yrs old, and in reality I have not trained consistently in 22 yrs. When I was 20 yrs. old I was pretty strong, I could overhead press 225 for 3 reps, squat 365×6(rock bottom), barbell cheat curl 185×6 but I ended up w/ elbow, delt,bicep, injuries and finally a double inguinal hernia repair!!!! Since then it has been a very infrequent and frustrating journey? I will start to train for a couple months and then I will get injured! In July 0f 2001 I started training again and I ended up after 6 months, deadlifting 425pds (@158pds),then I hurt myself again.Sometimes I tell myself “thats it I am done”, but in reality the IRON GAME and PHYSICAL CULTURE is part of my DNA. I love the olde time strongman and I can’t stand modern bodybuilding. I train at home, I’m a cellar dweller. Now I have tennis elbow,knee problems and just recently I have been doing HSPU’s (using cd’s as a progressional tool) and I was doing 5setsx2reps w/ only 1cd!!!! Now my shoulder is really bothering me( I was so close too), and I will have to stop again!!! All these yrs thinking I knew how to train, but I guess I really don’t know shit! At this point, I just want to be healthy, and be able to train injury free. – Ryan
Obviously, over a post I can’t easily give you specific advice on what to do for your problematic areas.
Instead I’d like to give a few big ideas. And these apply to EVERYONE as long as you have a human body.
There is a problem with most of the training information that is out there.
I know, this is going to sound weird, but stick with me.
Most people train too hard!
Seriously…but I mean something very specific about that. (Because obviously if we look at the vast majority of people who aren’t fit, going too hard is not their problem.)
The principle that helps people stay healthy and injury-free is that of listening to your body.
IF you do this properly (and there is a form and structure to doing it) then you SHOULD NEVER injure yourself in the gym.
Why? Simply because your body will give you signals about whether something is going to hurt you, or is hurting you, or not.
The question is whether you listen to those signals.
You can’t always avoid an accident like a collisional force where you might get injured, but just lifting is something altogether different.
In training hard, which is a valuable skillset to have when you use it properly, we override these signals. In being “mentally and physically tough” we basically tell the body…
“Shut up, I’m in charge here.”
The body will listen to your command…but really it was just trying to help.
You must learn to distinguish these signals. And that does take practice. The good news is that listening to your body can actually allow for faster progress too.
Really there is no reason not to do it, except being ignorant of the fact that you can.
I give away my Beyond Biofeedback program (something I’ve sold for as much $197 before) as part of the Strength Health Mind Power Inner Circle membership, as the fourth month bonus as it is something that I see as foundational.
Secondly, there is a lot we can do to both rehab and prehab injuries.
Lots of people will say something like strength is key. Or flexibility is key. Or mobility work is key.
The truth is they’re ALL important. In the end you need strength across a full range of motion complete with full mobility to be healthy and fit. True of every area of your body.
In doing so, you’ll often make use of exercises that are outside the box of conventional training.
I laid out my entire plan on this in The Indestructible Body.
I’ve used these exercises to heal those injuries I have had. And I can only count three in the past five years or so.
1) Doing a crazy kettlebell juggling move involving a cartwheel. Pretty stupid and this was the last time I can say I didn’t listen to my body resulting in injury and my spine said NO! Not recommended but you can see it here:
2) A strain or sprain in my right shoulder from playing a game of tackle football one Thanksgiving day. Never got it checked out by a doctor, instead I just fixed it myself.
3) More recently my left shoulder was feeling sore and weak in working on the Beast Snatch Challenge. It wasn’t an injury but some pain. I started listening to it (getting back to some basics plus stuff from inside Indestructible Body) and its back to 95% right now.
Of course in doing all of these you listen to your body as well. So to recap:
Learn how to listen to your body and then DO IT!
Do some unconventional training to gain strength across a full range of motion, complete with full mobility in every joint of the body.
Do those two things and you’ll be able to keep making gains, injury free, long into old age.