Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Understanding the difference between injury, and exploitation of weakness.

I've had several cases of this lately, so I thought I'd go into a short explanation that some of you may find useful. Often when I start people on kettlebells or some other form of advanced strength training that forces the entire body into action instead of just the biceps or the chest (i.e. isolation movements), clients will tell me that their knees start to hurt, or their back hurts, or their shoulders hurt. Sometimes this may be an injury caused by something such as overuse, but most often I find it is something that was always there, but was not brought to light due to quasi-traditional isolation movements such as are done in the popular three day split. Once you begin to really work, and train your body as one piece, the fact you have a weak back (something not discovered while doing rows and lat pulldowns) is revealed because you now must use it. It is important to understand that this is not some new injury brought on by kettlebell training, and allow that to cause you to run back to 'safe' and ineffective training. Instead I want to stay very aware of this weakness and not try to punish it into submission, but rather temper my training to a tolerable level and take other measures to alleviate it. These may include massage, myofascial release, fish oils, glucosasmine, or other proven measures. A good example of this is a client who was doing sets of super planks, which can be very demanding, particularly if you have not done many. We then progressed to bear crawls and killer planks, the latter of which is essentially super planks with a push up. The next week he expressed concern over his extremely sore shoulders, and it seemed he thought he might have strained or pulled something. In reality it was just DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) brought on by the fact that his arms had not before been worked hard in that range of motion.
It is important to follow logic and proven techniques, and not allow popular fear to guide us. I cannot tell you how many times I have had people tell me that some trainer or other 'expert' told them kettlebell training is dangerous, or that some other type of training I do looks horrible for your back or joints. This is simply because you have never been pushed and have always taken the easy road in regard to training. Not because you didn't want to take the hard road, but you just didn't know where it was.
Congratulations, you just found it.
This is a link to a blog from Mark Reifkind, an excellent trainer and Senior RKC in Palo Alto that tells his story of recovery from 'other' training methods using kettlebells and I feel sort of re-enforces the point of this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment