I'm standing up as I write this column. I tweaked my back a few weeks ago and its feeling better, but sitting down isn't an option right now. And I don't care at all. I'm gonna train anyway.
I was thinking about it the other day and I think that I ruptured a disk in high school. I had a coach that advised swinging the weight way out in front at the bottom of a stiff legged deadlift. I heard a "pop", or did I feel a "pop"? Anyway, it was there. And coaches should know what they are doing.
And I broke my elbow in college and had 2 surgeries on it and a broken nose and wrist and thyroidectomy and Oshgood Schlatters and broken fingers and sprained ankles and a broken hand and a broken big toe. So what?
Many folks have had a lot worse than that, but that's not the point at all. The point is to keep training, to keep working around injuries because you love to train and there are a myriad of exercises to choose from and you just may like having some variety.
For example, yesterday was arm day, and doing any standing curls is out of the question. That hip flexion position feels like crap to the low back. And my elbows and flexor muscles get pretty inflamed from barbell curls. So I rigged up a preacher bench with a rope attached to a low pulley. I have been lifting since 1979 and I have never done that exercise before. It felt awesome, no discomfort. Now they will be a mainstay in my biceps program.
I tried to squat last weekend, just 225 and screwed my back up again, but switched to leg press and it felt fine. I will be leg pressing for a few weeks. I just do more sets, at least 15, to get the same stimulation that squats give me. Overkill, probably, but if I am not squatting, I need to be punished some.
What else? Something is going on in my left shoulder, so barbell benches are out. Dumbells and machines feel fine, so I have been doing those for awhile. Just adapting, improvising.
The crazy thing about working around injures is that you may actually feel stronger when you go back to the "basics". Maybe you needed more triceps strength and since you can't bench, you upped the sets on lying triceps extensions. The added strength and mass helped your lockout, believe it or not.
So my point is, keep training, injured or not. You can do something, right?
Stop Fighting It
Certain myths just won't die in the weight training world, and I get so frustrated by it all, that basically, I have quit even entertaining them when they come up.
The whole bullcrap about women getting big is just that, bullcrap. I have known maybe 3 girls in the THOUSANDS of athletes that I have trained who have gained a significant amount of mass from weight training. If your mom was a pro bodybuilder and your dad played defensive end for the Steeler's, you may gain some muscle. Sorry. I didn't know that being strong and looking athletic was the worse thing in the world. WAIT A MINUTE!
Why is that so bad, anyway? Why is being soft an ideal? Why is there an EWWWWW reaction when a female is muscular and strong? What kind of society looks down upon muscularity and strength? Seems sorta....sexist to say that its okay for men but not for women. Shoot, the toughest people I train are women, and I never have training partners that are men. I tried it, they are always late or hurt or want to change the program. That's my experience.
Anyway, unless, as a woman, your parents are awesomely muscular, you aren't gonna get big.
The Greek Ideal
My son is in kindergarten and he has gym class ONCE A WEEK. I was like, what?? when I first heard that schedule. How do those kids sit still in class? Who decided that physical education was not important? And in gym class, they don't do a damn thing. No rope climbing, no flag football. Probably because, god forbid, someone may lose and there aren't any trophies to give and what if they trip and skin a knee? Of course, I see the parents , most of them that are waiting to pick up their kids. They look like they eat Cheetos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cheetos always comes in my head when I see them. Over sized sweatshirts and bad skin, Cheetos spilling out of their spandex pants.
Now, I know that I am in the minority, but I believe in a healthy mind and body. Once a week isn't enough. I am sure that my son will end up in jail later in life for me writing this, acting like I am bragging or something, which I am not, but I am trying to build up his mind and body. He does pushups everyday. If he wants something, a game for example, it's 10 perfect pushups. He sprints at least 4 days a week with the dog when Bas is retrieving.
He writes two letters a week to his grandparents and reads a book a night. Yup, he has all of the other crap, all the video stuff, games and apps. He watches TV and he talks back and gets punished. But damn, he exercises. I'm trying to make it a habit that will last.
A Good Book
I am reading Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors Part II and it is good, very good. Its all about bodybuilding and the characters behind the scenes from the 1960's until Arnold retired. It is so well done, that you wonder what possessed the author to spend so much time on something that you just know won't make a lot of money. Particularly interesting to me was the nutrition and the drug section. Its expensive, like 65.00, but its worth it if you grew up reading the Weider mags and love the behind the scene stuff.
All About Being a Lifer
What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.