This article is dedicated to Rachel Rumschlag!
Bodybuilding and getting a great physique is a process of working out, doing it with more and more intensity. The muscles and your body as a whole adapts to the stimulus, grows more muscle, gets stronger and you see it in the mirror.
In a perfect world, your body would keep on responding like it does when you first start out. In the beginning every stimulus is new so there is so much to do without your muscles getting bored or stopping to adapt to the new rules.
In a perfect world, you would be able to train as hard as you want, as often as you want and any way you want and your joints and ligaments as well as muscles would just do it for you.
Welcome to the real world: it ain’t happening like that! First of all, we have the plateaus which are the times your body is resisting the changes. Whatever stimulus you create it seems like it won’t understand you’re trying to build something here. The second problem is injuries. They come to those who train sloppy and those who train very good. The more you know about the body, why you train the way you do and also listen to the warning signs like joint pain, the better the odds for you not getting injured.
The most common type of injury is overuse injuries. They can mostly be prevented by doing the extra work that few do: stretching, foam rolling, massage, trigger point therapy AND most importantly TRAIN the muscles in a ‘preventive fashion’. Example: you train your forearms so you don’t get tennis elbow. You train your hamstrings harder than quads because we’re naturally quad dominant and an imbalance between these two muscle groups will cause knee problem. You strengthen the glutes so you lift with them when you deadlift and not break (spine rounds when deadlifting).
I have had a lot of overuse issues that I simply worked around to keep training. I had hamstring strain, glute cramp, lower back pain, shoulder plain, foot problem, ankle instability, elbow pain, tingling in one hand, knee pop, hip instability etc. None of it stopped me, but I did choose my battles!
A while ago I so much wanted to sprint often and on the treadmill but my body just wouldn’t allow it. I ended up with strained hamstring, left knee issue and ankles started to make more noise. I couldn’t walk properly, I had to slowly demount the pavement at one point out of foot pain. So, I just realized, I cannot be a sprinter, train the way I do with weight and assume all will work out. I didn’t try to run anymore and no more issues.
Some people can run pain free, others cannot. It’s a technique issue as well as a physical one. Not every human body is designed to run just like not everyone is built strong naturally. My joints can take a lot of pounding, but doesn’t like running.
When you get these problems you cannot just pop an ibuprofen, ice the injured part and then keep going. It’s NOT good to train through pain. You see, the endorphins your body excretes during training is killing the pain but it doesn’t do it in a good way. it’s just masking it.
You need to understand there will be problems and you cannot lose motivation or stop working out. You’re athletic you’ll get some hiccups. It’s a natural part of the whole working out lifestyle!
When I was in my mid 20s I spent no time at all on stretching, foam rolling (well I pin roll, you know that;-), I didn’t train as smart as I do now and I also had other goals. I wanted to lift as heavy as I could and was ok with 90% form. I am not anymore. ¬†But I did take a stand when I started at 17. I read in the magazines that everyone had injuries in the weak body parts: weak hams, weak rotator cuffs, weak back, weak rear delts. I made it my goal NEVER get those typical injuries and so far I’m well off. All joints work properly on me and I’m 30 soon.
Do the best you can by doing ALL the prehab. It’s worth it!