Train long enough and you’ll get hurt. Forget training. Live long enough and you’ll experience pain. It’s normal. Pain is complicated and others explain the topic much better (like this article). When you experience an ache, pain, or injury, run through this mental checklist to figure out your next steps:
- Don’t Panic. As Beau explains in this video, your back hasn’t snapped or exploded. It’ll be O.K.
- Assess the situation. It’s likely your pain isn’t something that requires medical attention. There are instances where it does though (i.e. numbness, tingling-especially in the groin area- loss of bladder function, or if you were in a major accident). This article provides an overview of when pain is indicative of something serious.
- Figure out what you can do. I steal from the best, and this is something Barbell Medicine talks about often. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Can you do the same movement with less weight (or even no weight?). If so, start there. Find the weight that doesn’t cause pain. It might be lighter than your ego likes. That’s o.k. Think of the long term. While you’re at it, read this book.
- Can you do the movement with a reduced range of motion? If the bottom of the bench press hurts your shoulders, switch to a floor press. If the bottom of a squat hurts your knee or hip, use a pin squat set to a height that doesn’t cause pain. If deadlifting from the floor causes pain in your back, raise the bar and do a rack pull.
- Can you do a similar variation of the movement? If your back is in pain during low bar squats (and changing the weight and range of motion don’t help), try switching to a front squat- or even a leg press.
- If these 3 tactics fail, change the movement or exercise. If any squat variation is causing pain, but deadlifting feels fine, then deadlift.
These steps cover most aches, pains, and injuries. Don’t panic, figure out what you can do, and keep yourself moving.