Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A word on injuries...

They shouldn't happen in training!
Mike Boyle of - who is one of the premier presenters for Perform Better and a great strength coach - got himself a huge number of negative responses when he made this statement in an article on


What about that statement could produce such ire and negativity? Do people really expect to get injured through training?

The answer - sadly - is yes. "If you push hard enough you are going to get injured" - goes the response. "Being afraid of getting injured will keep you weak and not progressing because you won't push hard enough" - goes another. So trainees push and struggle and when injuries happen - it is just a part of what they are trying to do. Not so - or at least it shouldn't be.

Now I will be the first to say that - yes, I have injured myself training - but that was when I was younger and not so wise. ;)
Seriously - it happened and I learned from it.

There are very few instances where you are getting paid to lift - and only the sports that are actually contested with a barbell can even accept the fact that they may get injured due to training (because it is all they do) - But athletes and people trying to get and/or stay fit have no reason to get injured doing something that is supposed to be improving their lives.

Athletes get paid to be on their field of competition - not be on the sideline because of a training injury - an injury should only come from competition for an athlete.

General fitness trainees - no injuries should be the goal - and if that means a lower 1rm or a couple fewer reps - so be it.

This is also where a balanced training approach comes into play - mobility, flexibility and screening for asymmetries should be a part of your routine.

So no injuries - allow yourself that much.


Anonymous said...

Your comments about injuries and training are right on. Unfortunately, this seems to be one of those things where experience is the best (and maybe the only) teacher.

In other words, until it happens to you and you end up losing days, weeks, or months of training, you simply don't know when you're approaching the borderline between a really hard rep and an injurious rep. And you really don't know how bummed out you can feel about the situation.

It just seems to be a part of human nature to want to find your limits. However, as you mentioned, the key is to learn from an injury and take steps to avoid it happening again.

In my case, this involved a mental "adjustment" coupled with getting professional coaching.

The mental adjustment meant that I now valued consistency and feeling good 24/7 more than the short-term buzz resulting from continually attempting to set a PR with nearly every workout. The potential rewards no longer outweighed the very real risks.

The other change was getting professional coaching from someone who could help me design a balanced training program geared towards long-term health. The change has been dramatic; I'm actually lifting more than I was when I was following a self-prescribed "balls to the wall" approach. And those nagging aches and pains that I considered part and parcel of "working out" are disappearing.

Now, before anyone gets too exercised about these comments, let me add that I'm not an elite or professional athlete (duh) and that I'm not saying that there's *never* a time to test your own limits. In fact, I relish those opportunities when I "go for it."

(For instance, I can't wait until next attempt a max-KB-swings-in-10- minutes workout. But only after I trained for it and am well rested, too.)

Ultimately it's a matter of choice. I've made mine and am comfortable with it.

Anonymous said...

"If you seek your limits there is a very good chance you will find them"

Injuries are a sure sign you are doing something wrong and have overestimated your strength, ability, endurance or capacity although sometimes,especially in the heat of intense competitions accident occur.Can't plan around them.
But training is different and all avenues should be taken to avoid training so close to the edge that injuries occur.As Pavel says" training not testing." Testing is for the platform and the meet not the gym.
This is especially important because "Injuries are forever, glory is very temporary", not the other way around,as we have been told.
This is especially true for joint injuries.
The window of opportunity for most to achieve whatever they will in life athletically is very small. but the number of years one will carry around the painful reminders of those challenges is a very long( hopefully) time.
One has to truly weigh the risk/reward ratio to see whether the risk is really worth it.
Sometimes it is and Champions always are the ones that have taken the risk and came out on the other side.
But there are lots who do take the risk and dont make it.Plenty to chew on here.

I also dont think how much money one gets compensated for has much to do with whether the risk is worth it or not. I took huge risks for no money because I perceived it a worthy quest and what I wanted to achieve.
Sometimes it is the simplist thing that makes something priceless.

good stuff brett.

Coaches that speak like injuries

Anonymous said...

last sentence didnt get deleted.

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