Working Out With an Injury – When to Dial it Back & When to Push Through
A couple weeks ago I was working out and I felt a pop in my oblique. I have worked out for years, and even then, sometimes you just move wrong or succumb to a moment of poor form. In any event, I felt the pop. It was subtle, didn’t hurt, but I felt my oblique tighten. I knew I strained something in my abdominal.
The core pretty much supports every compound lift and exercise in my regimen, so I immediately knew that I had to dial back what I was doing and cut the weight if I was to make it through the workout. I lowered the weights, but continued to feel the pulling of my oblique during the lifts, so I ended my session for the day and decided rest was more important.
As the day progressed, my oblique started to become sore when I moved a certain way, and I knew that the strain in my oblique could have been much worse had I continued to push my body through it all. This inspired me to write today about being a man, dealing with pride, and knowing when to listen to your body.
When we workout, especially with other guys with us, men often succumb to pride and not wanting to “feel weak” in the presence of their peers, but I think it is important to understand that as a man, we must learn to abandon our pride and the potential feeling of inadequacy that presents itself in the wake of our pride. Our bodies are important, taking care of them is why we are in the gym in the first place, so ignoring the cries of your body when you lift wrong, pull something, or feel any irregular pain is and can be disastrous.
In some instances, you may be able to workout while injured, but you have to understand that your body is in recovery. Ideally, I would probably recommend resting that particular body part until it has completely healed. In the case of my oblique, I obviously avoided any excessive strain, focusing on static ab workouts such as planks or holds. I dropped the weights in my lifts to about 25% of my my maximum and focused on slow, controlled reps, and if I felt a pull of any kind, avoided that lift completely. Unfortunately, this eliminated big compound movements like deadlifts, but I was still able to work my body in various ways.
It is all about listening to your body and keeping the focus of health and recovery as the goal. If you choose to workout with an injury, listen to your body, abandon pride, and allow yourself to actually recover. If you feel discomfort in the area of your injury, stop immediately, otherwise you could cause further or worse, permanent damage. When you are healed, you can go back to lifting heavier and getting back to your regular routine.
Bottom line, take care of your body.