It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! Hockey playoffs are winding down, or over and off-season training is upon us! As I’m interviewing and on-boarding new athletes (additionally I hear this from personal training clients as well), I commonly hear “shouldn’t I avoid __________ lift because it will hurt your __________?
Here’s a secret, there are no “bad” lifts!
Chances are “Jimbo” who told you not to do deadlifts cause they hurt your back (he knows because he hurt his back deadlifting), actually got hurt for one of five reasons.
Too Steep a Gradient
Remember ‘conditioning’ is context specific. So in this case we are talking about a base level of work capacity specific to the resistance training program you’ve undertaken. A big mistake after a long break in training (say a season) is trying to jump right into what you used to do. While good intentioned, it can cost you in the long run either with injury or lost training days due to excessive DOMS. Usually with athletes I incorporate a prehab phase to reintroduce the body to training concepts and take care of any structural issues that arose during the season.
This (you would think) is an obvious one, and I would surmise the underpinning of most exercise related injuries. Improper technique can be a by product of lack of knowledge (or the wrong knowledge provided by an unreliable source *cough* Gym Bro *cough*), failure due to fatigue (see above) or….
Wrong Technique for You
There is no one technique for any given exercise. There are basic principles we want to adhere to, however, the ideal squat or deadlift technique of a 6’5 basketball will look different than that of at 5’9 powerlifter, for reasons both biomechanical and intent driven. Bottom line find a trained eye, like a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) and ultimately, listen to your body.
Lack of Mindfulness
This is a message I frequently give my athletes. Do not approach the bar (or dumbbell, or kettlebell), until you are ready to move it. We must approach each set, each rep, with INTENT. Otherwise, firstly we aren’t maximizing our training outcome and secondly, we open ourselves up to injury; either as a by-product of not creating appropriate tension to bare the training load, or from not moving through our optimal technique.
Over trained/Overuse/Under recovered
This is a hotly debated topic, and often a case of semantics. What is overtraining? Does it exist? What are the signs? Shouldn’t it be under recovered? This is a whole can of worms which can be unpacked another day (and was briefly discussed here). Bottom line is this; not everyday is the same, and some days our bodies are better prepared (for a multitude of reasons) to perform optimally. Just because last week on Tuesday you deadlifted 285 for 6 reps, doesn’t mean this week on Tuesday you are ready to deadlift 285 for 6 reps, or 5 reps, or 3 reps for that matter. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, be flexible in your programming and expectations, be aware of the effects of previous work on future work and live to train another day!!
Thanks again as always for reading. I would love to hear feedback, comments, question. Stay healthy and keep challenging yourself one session at a time!