That which should be never spoken of: Getting Hurt
The funny thing about doing something for a long time is that things that used to trigger you no longer do. Like the subject of CrossFit hurting or injuring people. I have written many blog posts about this over the last five or six years, and I have come to realize that not everyone has heard my schtick regarding the fear of injury, the possibility of injury, and actually…getting injured. So here it goes, again.
At almost every single intro I do, the participant says, “I just don’t want to get hurt.” Really? Because I was planning on putting you into intensive care for at least a month! I kid, and I realize that this is a real concern for newbies. Really, I understand, but the reality is that the comment doesn’t even phase me anymore. I already have my data-driven answer that should immediately put the prospective member at ease. Does this response prevent injury? No it does not. Do people bring preexisting injuries into the gym, some of which they know about and some of which they don’t? Yes, they do. Have people left this gym injured and never come back? Yes they have.
Which is a bummer. Not that they got hurt at the gym, which always sucks, but that they have let their fear overcome them. Injury is part of everyday life. Hurting your back while picking up your kid or 300lbs will cause you great distress and will immediately have a negative effect on your life. A bulging disc, torn labrum, floating cartilage, sprained ankle or a migraine are all a part of life. No different from getting a positive cancer diagnosis, getting rear ended or having a kid in the hospital. These things suck. Does the fear of these things cause you to not drive, not go skiing with your kids, or not go outdoors? That would be ridiculous, because you need to live your life and live it the fullest, right?
The latest article that has come across my desk about injuries and CrossFit is from Outside Magazine. There are quotes and stats and all kinds of stuff in here. Looks to me like someone had a deadline, CrossFit draws eyes, and now we have another piece of media that really doesn’t teach us anything new. All you should be concerned with is how is YOUR strength and conditioning program is affecting YOUR life. Don’t worry about the faceless masses that a university study told you to be worried about. You need to push, pull, bend at the hip, and squat, and you need to do these movements with perfect technique. You need to apply intensities to these movements that are “unsustainable” meaning you are unable to work at maximum capacity for greater than three minutes at a time without some sort of rest. You need to put combinations of these movements together to discover your weakest points and then create a program that will improve your weakest movements in combination with your weakest energy systems. You will then change and make improvements at a hormonal level. These improvements will increase the quality and quantity of activities you enjoy doing for greater than 3 minutes (running, biking, hiking, kite boarding, beer brewing, or whatever). Anaerobic activity improves aerobic capacity, but aerobic activity does not improve anaerobic capacity. Fact.
Ok, but what if an injury should occur? Shut it down? Call it a career? Forget about the goal of increasing your hormonal value? No. Remove the movement that exacerbates the injury, and continue on. I’ve told some athletes this week: “Your metabolism doesn’t give a shit about your hurt wrist or knee or back. Get a plan, and keep going.” Does that mean you should work through the pain of a bulging disc or shredded rotator cuff? Do I even need to answer that? I can give you dozens of examples of people who have come into the program knowing that their knee or shoulder is a wreck. But they want health, performance and aesthetic change. We create a plan for them to follow, and they make great gains. Then something happens that pushes the knee/shoulder/ back over the edge. The injury is now acute, there is no relief from the pain, the MRI shows severe damage and surgery is now inevitable. So now what do you do? Here is option one:
“AHA!” you exclaim excitedly. “Your program has damaged me, and I have the proof that this program is bad because it HURT ME and there is no way you can argue against that and I will never do this program AGAIN (say it like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein… AH’GAAIIINNNN!!!!…gives it oomp)
Hmm. Goodbye, then? You may or may not have brought your injury into our program, and poor mechanics may or may not have led to something breaking down, and there you have it. Did you happen to know that we have taken on hundreds of injuries over the years and actually healed them. Ask around. Ask the person next to you. “Have you ever had an injury here?” You will probably hear a yes if they have been at this long enough. Then ask them why they didn’t quit. They will look you in the eye and say something like, “Why would I quit; injuries are just a part of life. I’m far healthier than I would be if I didn’t come here, and I have far fewer injuries than I ever did when I (insert activity of choice here: mountain biked, ran, played tennis ALL THE TIME).”
Some folks have become their injuries. They are a walking, talking disc bulge, shoulder tear, knee ache. That’s a tough life. Nothing we can do about it. Doctor Psychologywod has had a few things to say about that topic. Ask long-time TJ’s member, Neil, how shitty it was to be in agony from a bulging disc in his back he got about a month ago. How he was in agonizing pain and on enough prescription drugs to make Paula Abdul raise an eyebrow in concern. Ask him about how he hurt himself trying to out squat-clean some whippersnappers at a gym back east (which he did), ask him about not being able to stand, go to work, be a parent, not to mention exercise. Ask him about the MRI he got a few weeks ago confirming the bulge. Bad news, they said. Ask him about dropping out of the TJ’s Rodeo and having to watch from a chair. Ask him about getting the cortisone shot a couple of weeks ago. Ask him about the PT session he started last week. He’s an incredible guy and very easy to talk to. As a matter of fact, he’s easier to talk to than you think because he was in the gym today. Benching 250lbs and working towards the long-term hormonal change that has made him a million times fitter than he was when he started these workouts back in the day.
TJ’s GYM CORTE MADERA GRAND RE-OPENING PARTY IS COMING SOON!
Saturday, November 16th at the Corte Madera gym 6pm. All TJ’s Gym members and their families are welcome. Please RSVP on the discussion board. We will provide appetizers and beverages.
DONATE OLD SNEAKERS–we have a donation box in the Corte Madera gym to support an organization providing sneakers for those who need them worldwide. Please help us help others by donating your old sneakers.
THANKSGIVING DAY WORKOUT: THE TJ’s GYM TRADITION CONTINUES THIS YEAR!
8:45 am Redwood High School Track. Stay tuned for more details on this blog and the discussion board.
TJ’s GYM HOLIDAY PARTY
Saturday, December 14th at TJ’s Gym San Rafael. 6:30 pm till whenever. Food and drinks provided. Gym transformed. Mark your calendars!
Wed Nov. 6th
4 Sets for Quality and Load
A1. 8 Deadlifts; rest 30sec
A2. 12 DB Push Press; rest 30sec
A3. 12 Strict T2B; rest 60sec
50 Cal Airdyne
15 Wall Walks
100 Double Unders
A. Clean Grip RDL; 3121; 6-4-4-3; rest 2:30
B. AMRAP KBS (70/53) Unbroken
C. 1k Row Time Trial
Row 20 calories
45 pound Two-arm dumbbell ground-to-overhead, 40 reps
50 Toes to bar
100 foot Walking lunge with 45lb plate held overhead
150 foot Sprint
Thurs Nov. 7th
A. Pause Front Squat; 21X1; 5-4-3-2; rest 2:30
3 Min AMRAP
AMRAP Wall Balls
rest 2mins; 4 sets
A. Front Squat 30X1; 5-5-5; rest 3mins
B. Front Squat @ 85%; 3reps EMOM x 5mins
EMOM x 15
1st – TnG Squat Clean x5
2nd – 8 Burpee Box Jump Overs
3rd – 3-5 Muscle Ups (bar or rings)
Out of Town WOD
1st- 5 Burpee Box Jump Overs
2nd- 10 Walking lunge Steps
3rd- 20 Situps