The Gym 101: P5: Training Around injuries and Imbalances
We all have them: imbalances and injuries the affect our daily lives..
Learning how to push through a certain amount of pain is an important part of weightlifting and fitness in general. The fact is, there are no outstanding figures that are not the product of hard, consistent work, pain and sweat.
Don't let that scare you. The fact is, not only is the work worth it but you will also learn to enjoy it.
People of all ages have imbalances and these tend to multiply themselves as we get older and bad movement patterns settle into our musculoskeletal system. Most of these imbalances are either the product of an injury or produce an injury. These are things to watch out for and train with, not against.
Let start by going over some common imbalances in the body. Know that no body is symmetrical. We all move and are made differently. The shape of the hinges in your hip joint dictates how low you can squat, for instance.
If you have a chronic dull pain or a pain the only happens when you do certain moves, it means that you probably have an imbalance. You should absolutely get looked at my a chiropractor or a physical therapist to know what you body has a tendency of doing. This way, you can work to retrain your body for more symmetrical strength and better movement patterns.
Man of these poor movement patterns lead to injury. Think about this: you go over and over the deadlift technique, making sure you do it right in order to protect your back BUT you still round you back when you pick up the kids or pull weeds in the garden. These are poor movement patterns. But if you are working on your deadlift technique so carefully, you are well on you way to improving movement patterns - just keep your body in mind as you move.
Sounds complex but it does get easier after a while of moving a specific way both in and out of the gym.
I famously say, give me a body and I can train it. That's because fitness and training are literally infinite. You are only hindered by your lack of imagination, knowledge of mediums or desire to train. Oh yeah, I’ve had the wind knocked out of my sails from an injury. Not fun when your grumpy about what you cannot do. Those times you really have to step back, see what you CAN DO and take it from there.
Injuries are opportunities: Opportunities to train something that you have been ignoring or to scale back and improve what you have.
Outside of a drastic and acute injury that prevents use of a whole joint or limb, the typical musculoskeletal injury will likely prevent you from either pulling, pushing, squating, rotating through the trunk or hip hinging. How do I know this? Because these are the major movement patterns of the body!
Muscular imbalances go hand in hand with a weakness which then leads to an injury. But you can put specific training into your program to help balance that weakness and correct your movement patterns, thus strengthening an imbalance.
I see many of the same injuries over and over.
Here is a list of the post common injuries. I can tell you that most injuries can be fixed with hip and shoulder mobility exercises, strengthening of the deep core and pelvic floor, strengthening the upper back and consistent attention to posture. This is my no means a complete or comprehensive list
(turns out you can't insert a table on a Wix blog)
So go ahead and do yourself a favor: get checked out by a movement specialist. This can be a highly qualified personal trainer, a sports med chiropractor or a physical therapist. Avoid going to the regular doctor as they are not educated in movement mechanics.
Always add core working into your program 2-3x a week. This include movements like plank, mountain climber, hollow holds, superman, dead-bugs and carries. Make sure to stretch you chest, do shoulder rotations and hip rotations nearly every time you workout. See the opportunity in your training: if you shoulders need a break, you get the green light to go HAM on legs!
Again, know your body and know when something is going wrong. Many times most things can be fixed within 6 months of consistent care and use. And always pay attention to your posture. Hint: your head and spine should be like a balloon on a string.
You have your whole life ahead of you to keep lifting and exercising. It make sense to take the time now to fix things you don’t want to become big problem in the future.
Learn all the basics and insider knowledge
Check out The Gym 101 Series
Part 1: Exercise Selection
Part 2: Set and Rep Schemes
Part 3: Training Splits and Organizing Your Week
Part 4: Creating Fun Workouts
Part 5: Training Around Injuries and Imbalances
Part 6: Menstruation and Muscle
Part 7: Finding New Gyms
Part 8: Navigating the Gym
Part 9: Gym Rules
Part 10: Fitness and Pregnancy
Part 11: Postpartum Exercise, Birth to 4 weeks
Part 12: Postpartum Exercise, 4-16 Weeks
Part 13: Recovery