This week, I had two athletes ask me seemingly similar questions.
Athlete #1: I hurt my back playing soccer and I am in pain when I try to workout. Should I continue to CrossFit?
Athlete #2: What are your thoughts on working out when you are really sore?
Taking these questions together, its semantics. You can work out sore, but not in pain. However, navigating that line can be difficult. Especially for those just starting your fitness journey, or adjusting to not being in our invincible 20's anymore.
I wish I had a clear cut answer for you. Unfortunately, more often than not, if you come to me with these questions, I’ll throw some questions back at you that might just leave you asking more questions. I am not a doctor, nor do I have medical expertise. I can only use the expertise I do have, and my own personal experience, and give you my opinion.
Personally, I have had many tweaks and a lot of soreness that I’ve chosen to work through. I have had a few major injuries in my life, some have required surgery, some have required me to take time off from working out and some I was able to modify workouts so I could continue to train.
A couple of my injuries and surgeries I pushed through because in my 20’s I was competing and had a short competition window so I made a conscious decision to put my body at further risk to train and compete. Then when I was in my 30’s and no longer competing, I struggled with how to modify my training and realizing I did not have to do certain movements or workouts if I had a certain ache, pain or overused a body part. Unfortunately my mind felt invincible like I was in my 20’s but my body was learning it was tired and needed rest, I learned the hard way that I couldn’t push myself like that anymore.
We need to learn our own bodies and if we make a mistake, fault on the side of being too cautious with your body. You can still get extremely fit without putting your body unnecessarily at risk. Don’t stubbornly follow a program or stubbornly feel you have to do Rx, FB or a certain movement. Coaches are always here to modify workouts, movements and everything so you get the best day of training in. We want you fit, healthy and injury free. It isn’t worth a forced month off due to injury or re-injury.
Now some of you may think that your goals are worth some level of risk. This may be because you’re training for sports, CrossFit Competitions, weightlifting competitions, races etc……Which takes priority?
The answer is – I don’t know.
You can start by listening to your body. Again, as you can see from my experience, this can also be a grey area. Your body is not the clearest communicator. It might take some trial and error to figure out the signals. There are times when you need to tell your body to get tough, and pick up the weight. FYI, Weight training, among other things, prevents injury. Getting stronger involves breaking down muscle tissue, and then allowing it to repair. So it is a balance of pushing yourself through discomfort, and allowing time for recovery. If you don’t push yourself through discomfort, you are not getting stronger and fitter. You can’t interpret every ache and pain you feel as your body telling you stop in the middle of a WOD or to take a rest day. That said, you can’t ignore your body and work through pain so often you end up with injuries.
5 Sets of 4 Reps (70-80% 1RM)
30 Reverse Lunges (each leg = 1)
25 Wall Balls (20/14, 10ft/9ft)
15 Ring Dips
I'm pretty sure this is exactly how differences are resolved on the playground now a days.
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