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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pluripotent View Post
    My question, not having torn anything as yet, is how did it happen in the first place, and how to avoid it.
    The awful truth is that sometimes shit like this just happens. I tore a little quad once on the 7th set of 10 sets of 3 across. Warm, stretched, not tired, just tore the damn thing.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Morris View Post
    The #1 predictor of future injury is history of previous injury.
    Given that, how does one continue to push through mentally and continue to train and make progress? As noted, I torn an adductor over a year ago and I'm still feeling some effects. More recently (August, actually), I tweaked my back pretty good on a 465 lb deadlift (and Will, I truly appreciate the time you spent texting with me, helping me work through the first days after the injury). I've been back in the gym for a while now and pulled 325 x 5 without any issue yesterday (I'm basically doing an LP again). But with every squat and with every pull I'm thinking of those injuries and how much I don't want to go through that recovery process again (especially with my back), plus the possibility of real long-term damage. I'm not so young now at 56 and healing takes time.
    So how do you guys, especially you older guys, who've injured themselves (beyond the minor tweaks we've all had and worked through) get yourselves beyond the point you were when you were injured? Any regrets on pushing through? How often did you re-injure yourself even worse than the initial injury?
    Thanks.

    -RJP

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    The awful truth is that sometimes shit like this just happens. I tore a little quad once on the 7th set of 10 sets of 3 across. Warm, stretched, not tired, just tore the damn thing.
    Here's hoping I never need it, but I suppose I should probably proactively familiarize myself with the process, in case I ever need it. I only have a passing understanding at this point, garnered from the little bit of exposure I've had to it reading this board.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJPinAZ View Post
    Given that, how does one continue to push through mentally and continue to train and make progress? As noted, I torn an adductor over a year ago and I'm still feeling some effects. More recently (August, actually), I tweaked my back pretty good on a 465 lb deadlift (and Will, I truly appreciate the time you spent texting with me, helping me work through the first days after the injury). I've been back in the gym for a while now and pulled 325 x 5 without any issue yesterday (I'm basically doing an LP again). But with every squat and with every pull I'm thinking of those injuries and how much I don't want to go through that recovery process again (especially with my back), plus the possibility of real long-term damage. I'm not so young now at 56 and healing takes time.
    So how do you guys, especially you older guys, who've injured themselves (beyond the minor tweaks we've all had and worked through) get yourselves beyond the point you were when you were injured? Any regrets on pushing through? How often did you re-injure yourself even worse than the initial injury?
    Thanks.

    -RJP
    I don't mean to sound needlessly pedantic, but you approach the specter of future injury much the same way I approach making my bed in the morning. I'd just as soon leave my bed unmade, because heaven knows I am going to mess it up again that night. Making my bed seems fruitless at the time because of this. However, I know it makes my wife happy to make my bed, and I will pay for it in spades if I do not do it.

    Training is the same way. Nobody can help you develop the mental toughness to drag your ass to the gym day in and day out. Certainly nobody can instill in you the drive to pick your injured ass up off the ground and crawl back to the gym when an injury occurs. The best predictor of future injury is a previous injury, as previously stated. I'm going to save you the suspense sir, you are going to injure yourself again....and again...and again. Each time, you approach going back to training like I do with making my bed. You hate to do it. It seems like a waste of time, since you are just buying time until you undo the work you did. But, in this case, you don't have to worry about the scorn of a peeved spouse. In this case, you choose not to train, you bring the wrath of an angry Mother Nature upon you. It has been said here before, "Injuries that are born in the gym, will die in the gym. Injuries that are born out of laziness (osteoarthritis, sarcopenia, osteopenia, Type II DM, cardiovascular disease) are terminal." The real long-term damage you should be afraid of is what happens to the body when you are sedentary. Orthopaedic surgeons can treat bone and joint injuries. Internal medicine physicians can prolong clinical life. The quality of that life's mileage may vary.

    Play your hand as you see fit, but the odds are on the house when you choose to hold your cards. Nature forces us to play our hand in the physical realm, and those who don't are treated to vicious repercussions.

    Just three weeks ago, I had allowed myself to become extremely anemic due to a long term health issue I have. I audited a starting strength seminar in Wichita Falls and I could barely do my warm-up in squats without feeling like the lights were going to go out upstairs. I struggled mightily to perform a single squat at 425, when months ago I was hitting 475 for a double. I lost 15 pounds of bodyweight. I could perform a set of 265 without feeling like I was going to die. I have since run a linear progression, going up 20# each time, and just yesterday I was able to hit 3 sets of 5 at 405 and I have worked my way back up to a 275# bench press for 3 sets of 5. Tomorrow, I will move up to 415 on squat and 280 on bench. I'm still weaker than I was a few months ago, but cashing in my chips and waiting patiently for death just doesn't seem to interest me much. The beautiful thing about the linear progression is that it is the go-to program ANYTIME you have a physical set-back (either injury, illness, or time away from the gym). I've gained some of my weight back. I don't look like Casper the Friendly Ghost as much anymore. I'm training, and my subjective feelings of health are directly proportional to the strength returns I have had. But, then again, that's just me. You are going to, unfortunately, figure this one out yourself. Choose wisely.

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    I am also 56 and have returned to powerlifting after a looong layoff. Like others, I have had my share of slight tears over the years (quad, hamstring, hip flexor, calf). In each case I made sure to work the muscle as soon as the initial pain subsided. I didn’t know about the Starr protocol but understood enough physiology to know that if scar tissue develops, the muscle WILL tear again at the scar tissue boundary since flexibility is compromised. Next understand that injuries are a blessing. They teach us where our weaknesses lie. A muscle tears when it’s stretched beyond its capacity to absorb force. A weak muscle is inhibited from stretching and the way to stretch the muscle and almost prevent further tears is to strengthen that particular muscle.

    For example, let’s say that you tear an adductor while squatting. Th first thing to do is to examine techniqu

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pluripotent View Post
    My question, not having torn anything as yet, is how did it happen in the first place, and how to avoid it.
    Like Rip said sometimes it just happens. I've had seemingly random tears happen. That said, there can be warning signs. One I've had experience with is if a muscle feels unusually sore, outside of normal DOMS, and especially if it starts feeling more sore and tight as you warm up.

    Generally being stupid and doing things like maxing out and lifting super heavy all the time are also typically bad ideas. I've torn a couple things (quad, pec) doing that. At the time I knew that I should be dialing it back but didn't want to. For example once I did a meet and wasn't happy with my squat at the meet so I decided to go for a max again a few days later.

    One last thing I've had experience with is going too heavy too soon after making a drastic change to your form. E.g. I went from years of only doing conventional deadlifts to one day trying wide stance sumo, maxing out, and tore my hamstring. If you jump into an unfamiliar movement pattern it's best to ease into it a little more than maxing out immediately. I remember Joe Ladnier mentioned in his interview that he hurt his knee after he made a big change to his squat stance and went too heavy too soon.

  7. #17
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    Hey, look at that, this thread made Best of the Week. Cool. Reminded me that I wanted to post a reply to Will's informative post.

    I developed enough mental toughness to drag my sorry ass to the gym to get my deadlift up to 485 for a single, 465 for reps. Nothing special, but still a weight that required a fair amount of time and dedication. After I tore my adductor, I came to the gym every day for more than two weeks straight, running through the Starr protocol, and eventually getting back to squatting my pre-injury weight. Again, something that many guys here have also done, but still requiring a certain degree of mental toughness. After experiencing my back injury pulling 465, I went back to the gym after about a week and did a few sets of very light squats and RDLs. I confess I did not return to the gym for a while after that because that one session made my pain and discomfort significantly worse, not at all the result I wanted or was expecting. I did continue with stretching and air squats though. However, for the last month and a half, I've been running an LP, dragging my ass to the gym on a regular schedule. I had a two-hour session with an SS coach last month, going over all the lifts so I'm confident with my form. Tonight the plan is to squat 285 x 5 x 3, pull 335 x 5 and bench 210 x 5 x 3 (or 205, I forget now).

    Anyway, the upshot is I'm not planning on becoming sedentary any time soon. My questions really were directed at those who have experienced and recovered from an injury beyond the usual aches and pains that we all have and all work through. Pre-injury I was very focused on getting to a 500-pound deadlift. Right now I'm looking at being comfortable with 405 and I'm not sure where I'll go from there (it won't be the couch, trust me). I'm wondering if others have re-adjusted their goals or if they have successfully pushed through beyond the weight where they were injured and how they mentally and physically faced that challenge. With all due respect to Will's determination in working through his anemic state (and not knowing all the background details), I don't think the situation is analogous. I'm concerned about an acute injury that could have real long-term consequences, not a short term illness that can be cured completely with rest and the correct diet. My back is still somewhat sore more than four months after my injury and I have a nagging tightness in the hip area. Not enough to really affect day to day life, but it's something that was not there before that one deadlift rep. Which is a bit disappointing after reading all these stories of guys whose back pain was fixed by heading to the gym.

    Thanks for the interesting contributions from everyone on this thread. This board always provides an education.

    -RJP

  8. #18
    Brodie Butland is offline Starting Strength Coach
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Morris View Post
    I'd just as soon leave my bed unmade, because heaven knows I am going to mess it up again that night. Making my bed seems fruitless at the time because of this. However, I know it makes my wife happy to make my bed, and I will pay for it in spades if I do not do it.
    Making a bed makes as much sense as re-tying your shoes after you take them off. But you are right...this isn't about us. Great post!


    Quote Originally Posted by RJPinAZ View Post
    My questions really were directed at those who have experienced and recovered from an injury beyond the usual aches and pains that we all have and all work through. Pre-injury I was very focused on getting to a 500-pound deadlift. Right now I'm looking at being comfortable with 405 and I'm not sure where I'll go from there (it won't be the couch, trust me). I'm wondering if others have re-adjusted their goals or if they have successfully pushed through beyond the weight where they were injured and how they mentally and physically faced that challenge.
    I can speak for myself, I guess. I tore my hamstring a about three years ago deadlifting 385 for 5...damn thing tore in the middle of the fourth rep. I had previously deadlifted more than that for reps, so it wasn't some new heavy weight I was going for, and the lift itself felt good until it felt like someone kicked me right behind the knee.

    I did the Starr rehab using mostly high-rep squats, but I threw RDLs in as well at Rip's suggestion. (Incidentally, I got to find out how embarrassing it is to deload a bar with 25 lbs plates when a very tiny woman was working in with me...) Five weeks after the injury, I was back to squatting my pre-injury weight (320x4).

    The real mental block was deadlifting 385 again on a weekly progression, because it was hard to let go of the knowledge that I was injured the last time I did that same weight. I will admit, it was hard for me to approach the bar on that one. But I told myself that it was only 5 lbs heavier than my previous try, and I had previously done four plates for reps, so in reality this should be nothing. I did the lift, survived, and felt jubilation afterwards. 385 later became a warm-up set.

    So, yeah, the mental block can be difficult to push through--I get it. But I also have learned that setting arbitrary "good enough" ceilings is a recipe for complacency and stagnation. In my experience training through several injuries (the torn hamstring being the worst of the bunch), the best way to "maintain" strength is to try to make progress. On the few occasions I've tried to "maintain," I just ended up getting weaker after a few weeks. I realize that my absolute strength level ebbs and flows with the occasions of life, some which is within my control and some which isn't, but my hope is that when I invariably end up trodding over the same path, it'll be a little easier the next time.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Morris View Post
    I don't mean to sound needlessly pedantic, but you approach the specter of future injury much the same way I approach making my bed in the morning. I'd just as soon leave my bed unmade, because heaven knows I am going to mess it up again that night. Making my bed seems fruitless at the time because of this. However, I know it makes my wife happy to make my bed, and I will pay for it in spades if I do not do it.
    If you wanna change the world, make your bed


  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJPinAZ View Post
    With all due respect to Will's determination in working through his anemic state (and not knowing all the background details), I don't think the situation is analogous. I'm concerned about an acute injury that could have real long-term consequences, not a short term illness that can be cured completely with rest and the correct diet.

    -RJP
    You want me to go through and talk about how I've returned from orthopaedic injuries? I have a laundry list of those. Which one do you want? maybe you'd like to take a look at Matt Swogger's story one more time. Or, perhaps, you'd like to hear of the wounded warriors I've rehabbed that trained through unimaginable pain and absolutely horrific injuries. I understand these won't be completely analogous, because I can see how a groin injury or some back pain should give you pause to attempt to continue to train at a high level, whereas, someone with their leg amputated from bone cancer, or someone who took 7 Ak-47 rounds to their leg really have no choice but to train. Honestly, that was the whole point of my response. Some people look at training as a choice. A calculated risk taken after they have exhaustively analyzed the proposed benefit with the relative risk.

    Some of us, however, training is not a choice. It is a necessity. I will likely struggle for the rest of my life to eek out some marginal strength gains compared to what I am capable of now, but, in the end, this is certainly a part of life where the destination doesn't mean a fucking thing to me. The journey means absolutely everything to me. I wear my numerous surgical scars like a badge of honor. Injuries happen. I understand that. I'd prefer not to get injured, but when they do happen, I welcome them. Injuries provide me with adversity and I've dealt with enough adversity in life that I am most comfortable when the chips are stacked against me. Injuries that occur under the bar also affirm that I was, at least, in the arena and the "credit belongs to the man in the arena".

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