This is for all those who are currently struggling to come out of an injury. As a person who has been through her own share of injuries & has always bounced back, let me assure you that it is actually a process that makes you emerge stronger than ever.
Sometimes when I am trying to get the form of an exercise right, I have realized that it’s the outlook of correcting the form that matters.
I start focusing on what exactly I have to do to get it right, instead of focusing on all the faults that are making my form go wrong. For example: when during a squat I realize that my back is losing its tightness which spoils my entire lift I start focusing on everything that can make it right.
1. Maintaining the rigidity in the spine starting from the thoracic spine
2. Opening of the knees to the fullest at the bottom
3. Starting the concentric with the shoulder up etc.
This makes me open up my mind to so many correct movement patterns instead of zoning in on the one mistake that I am making and Guess what? I have suddenly experienced the magic! The lift feels easier and effortless as now in the bid to DO the correct movement I have chosen to ignore what is Not to be done hence making it easier for my body to forget the mistake rather than reinforcing it.
What I am extremely excited to share with you is how this time around, I could use this approach to bring myself out of a series of injuries.
1- Spasm in my right hip
2- Rotator cuff in my right shoulder
3- Pain in my left knee
These injuries may not sound like much, but the injuries caused tremendous discomfort in routine day to day movements and workouts. The injuries and the resultant impingements & stiffness disturbed a lot of my natural movement patterns causing me even further pain while doing the workouts.
The injuries came one after another seemingly for different reasons before the earlier one could recover. My workout had to be totally restricted and NOW was the time I realized that I have to concentrate on everything right to find a way out of this.
The first thing I decided I had to do is to get it diagnosed after exhaustive history taking by my Physio, Tamara Zweck at 206 Optimum Movement, she attributed ALL of them to Fatigue arising from overtraining.
Even my initial analysis told me that I was trying to do too many things in my day- I was training my students so demonstrating each lift every day, I was getting trained by Kaizzad Capadia at Master Training sessions that would last for 3 hours plus I was learning Wing-Chung, a form of martial art thrice a week I was training my lifts thrice a week.
So was I supposed to give up on a few things I was doing?
My heart and head were not agreeing to it. There was nothing out of the above that I was ready to give up. Giving up any of the above activities in order to recover from injuries or prevent them, according to me was not a viable solution. I know of a lot of people who are probably doing more… I simply had to overcome these injuries & get stronger.
I had already finished giving the injured joints total rest for almost 2 weeks, which for me is a frustratingly long duration and I simply HAD to have a better plan to break through the injury pro-actively now.
1. To get rid of the pain
2. To correct the movement patterns that may have caused that final injury to that fatigued the muscle
3. To keep my body from getting into this kind of fatigue
THE PLAN: DO DO DO
1. Pre & Post-workout physio sessions during the first three rounds of the workouts
2. Adding lots of activation and mobilization drills to my pre-workout regime
3. Adding lots of stretches and relaxation to my post-workout regime
4. Adding Cold-Hot Contrast showers & packs, Diclofenac Based Topical Analgesic gels, NSAIDs only during SOS, full-body massages once a week fatigue injury, remember?
5. Filling in a few gaps in my diet. (Added up my protein by another 50gms per day)
6. Most physiotherapists won’t even look at this aspect, but my physio asks this question about adequate diet in her assessment which made me think and check it and Kaizzad Capadia, who after taking my diet recall added it into my diet. (All the protocols were done in consultation with my physiotherapist and Kaizzad Capadia)
I decided I did not want to take away any movement from my current regime simply because I had full faith in them being beneficial movements & I was certain that my injuries stemmed from fatigue rather than what some people might term as dangerous movements.
So my Physio helped me maintain the regime with the pre work out sessions and the recovery post-workout was boosted with the post-workout physio sessions.
We both agreed on regressing the intensity a bit by reducing the weight or in some cases no weights at all or stopping the movement altogether in case of sharp pain but if I chose to do a movement then I would never alter the form as correct bio-mechanics should never be messed with especially if you are coming out of an injury. So if I chose to do squats then it would be to full depth or not at all. (My Physio believes in my expertise and her expertise lies in NOT restricting me ever from getting there!)
Post First month Results
I was not making any change to the already regressed weights I was trying and yes it was still quite painful. So instead of thinking “oh the pain still persists in the second month, damn” I asked myself to be patient as, even if it was an inch of progress. (The pain levels had gone from level 9 to level 7) it was finally some progress and that is what mattered.
Next month my pre-workout sessions had stopped and everything else remained the same.
Post Second month Results
End of this month, I had only been trying to heal and I was still not lifting the weights I was lifting prior to the injury. Discomfort still existed, even in holding up the bar in the right positions etc. Believe me, it’s extremely difficult for an active individual who wants to perform well every day and progress through that performance the next day.
Stagnation due to pain feels like regression and being patient gets more n more difficult. My workouts had regressed to embarrassing levels. Mind and heart were screaming to push me further without caring for my pain.
So again I used the approach that I use to train my mind during lifting.
“It’s ok to take a few steps back when you know it will make your run-up to leap further even better” and I refrained from pushing myself through the pain, which was a huge lesson in self-restraint.
But again I had to tell myself that I gotta keep doing what I’m doing as I’m healing every day! As the pain levels had reduced from level 7 to level 3.
I have learned to be happy with small packages as they add up to make a huge difference at some point in time.
Third Month – Magic month
All this while, I just kept on pushing myself in the right direction believing in all my pillars of support AND The magic of doing everything right was finally working My protocol, including correction into all lifting techniques due to the master training class by Kaizzad Capadia, had given me a magic boost.
The Pain had gone! I was lifting my prior to injury weights prior again!
But……………. in a much much much better way.
I had also added more lifts to my routine like push jerks (do u wanna warn me of my shoulder, hip, and knee injury hahaha) well the bar feels like butter and lifting makes me feel exhilarated. 70lbs feels easier than the empty bar I would attempt for push presses pre-injury which I would actually struggle with then.
The Magic had finally happened and like a kid full of awe I am waiting for the next trick! And guess what I am the magician. And so are YOU.
All we need is to bring out that trick that’s hiding right up our sleeve. Focus on the Do’s rather than the Don’ts. Training my mind for lifts has given me immense patience, the capability to calm my mind and think right and transfer the good habits to the rest of my life.
TJ, my husband’s Rock solid support always, my Physios progressive approach and Kaizzad’s constant encouragement and correct guidance helped like a boon!
Hope this sharing of my experience helps you in some ways to understand that injury is a part of an active lifestyle and going through the process of healing will always bring out a Stronger You!
“That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – Fredrick Nietzche