O, It Hurts So Bad

One of the biggest challenges in life is knowing when to say when. Whether it be drinking alcohol, arguing with a peer, or just carrying on a conversation you have to know when to stop. However, it’s in our nature not to stop. We often think it will be ok to have that one more drink, say that one extra word, or not stopping to listen when we should have. Well, it happens to most in the fitness world also. There’s nothing worse than a nagging injury that just won’t go away.

First, let’s get this straight. Injuries are going to happen as you are stressing the body. We only hope they are just small little aches and pains. It’s your job to know when is enough. Sometimes that can take a large amount of time to learn and understand. As you start on your fitness jouney you must understand that learning your body and form are critical to help to avoid injury.

Body builders are generally classified in beginner, intermediate, and advanced stages. The problem is we all think that we are advanced however, that’s just not true. John Meadows wrote a fabulous article on T-Nation explaining these stages (https://www.t-nation.com/training/mountain-dog-training-for-intermediates):


  • Less than two years in the gym.
  • Strength is poor. Can’t bench press or squat their own bodyweight.
  • Not coordinated enough to do heavy compound movements well. Require plenty of hands on guidance.
  • Often can’t feel target muscles working.
  • Can’t understand most cues such as “tuck your elbows in” or “lift your sternum up.”
  • Physiques can vary considerably, but usually will show very little muscle belly fullness or roundness, vascularity, or striations. Might even be skinny fat.

As a beginner there are a lot of opportunities to get injured with the lack of coordination, strength, and not feeling the muscles. This tells us that at this stage we don’t know our bodies well enough to differentiate between pain and training pain. It’s difficult to tell them apart at first and takes time to learn the difference. From my experience, if it burns you are ok. If you feel any sharp pains, numbness, or hear popping, you need to stop and evaluate what you are doing. It’s mentally difficult to walk away as you may think you are a failure. Remember it’s easier to come back to the gym in two days than it is after six weeks of rehab and a doctors visit. I have to remind myself all the time, especially with a bad back. Just a few days ago while doing barbell rows my back decided to remind me that it doen’t like that….at all. Before I would have pushed it out, but now I was back two days later, getting it!

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