Results of RMT Visit

I am currently facing my first huge setback in training for this competition, and it remains to be seen how quickly I will recover and move beyond it. On Thursday last week I injured my mid-back on the lat pulldown machine. I only noticed the injury two hours after I had completed the exercise, so I had no indication that I needed to stop or drop my weights. In fact, I was doing the same weights as the week prior with less reps, so I really had no indication that this was going to become such a large issue. I had stupidly destroyed my lower left back months ago doing squats on the smith machine, the only option my last atrocious but cheap gym offered for weighted squats. I stopped doing squats until about two weeks ago, and it became painful and inflamed again. I have also had an awful knot in my mid back/shoulder that I have had for three years that I only notice when I run. I recently received benefits at work, and was able to make a RMT appointment just in time.

The RMT couldn’t find any large issues with my mid-back aside from the shoulder knot, so she focused on that. When I went back to the gym on Monday I decided to tack on a shoulder workout to my regular chest/tri workout. This seriously injured my shoulder, and so I had to get her to take a look at it as well. I just assumed it was because of my mid-back injury from last Thursday. I noticed I was much weaker in my right side even before I added shoulders, to substantially mess things up even more. Idiot me.

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My RMT told me that I had a large amount of scar tissue in my shoulder, probably from a rotator cuff tear from months ago. I noticed that I severely injured my shoulder during my last transformation program, but it went away so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I kept training as usual, which was obviously a mistake. Now I have scar tissue in part of my shoulder, and the top of my shoulder is injured from trying to compensate. Needless to say, I have booked two massage appointments per week and am trying ART massage therapy to see if I can do anything to speed up the healing and breakdown of the scar tissue. Apparently shoulder injuries are the most common for bodybuilders, and the most difficult to work around.

My back is still an issue as well, so I will have to now avoid all exercises that will further damage my back and shoulder- meaning no more back, bicep, tricep, or shoulder exercises for awhile. I am now stuck doing legs (no squats), cardio, and abs for quite awhile. This will drastically change my training, since I have always been arm based, with a single leg day and very light cardio.

At first I just thought I would do light weights and high reps, but I really have to take this seriously if I want to fix the issue. I will be finding a new workout program to use for the next few months, and I will share it as soon as I have decided on one. Check out the following links if you are trying to decide how to train around an injury:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/10-tips-when-training-with-an-injury.html

http://www.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/954/How_to_Train_Around_an_Injury_Shoulders.aspx

http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/training-through-injuries-the-dos-and-donts

http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2011/05/12/injuries/

Back Pain Getting You Down?

Injuries are a part of life, especially for those leading very active lifestyles. Injuries and bodybuilding seem to go hand in hand, a simple google search provides 1,970,000 search results for the keywords combined, which should be a clear sign that it can be a dangerous sport. I have certainly been injured, and am injured, and these injuries get me down. I tend to really freak out when I feel an abnormal amount of pain after a workout that is far from the usual pain of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). So what do we do when we get injured? One option is giving up bodybuilding temporarily, but this is an unhappy choice.

A few months ago I seriously injured the lower left side of my back doing squats on a smith machine. I had heard about how dangerous this was, but my gym did not have any other options for weighted squats, so I took my chances. It was an unusual day, because this usually empty workplace gym actually had someone who was doing their entire workout on the smith machine. I waited, and went through my entire hour long workout and she was still not done with the smith machine. So I alternated with her, and she was doing dead lifts. I am not sure if I injured my back on my squats, or lifting part of her dead lift weight back up to start my squats. Either way, my back is still painful five months later. I have temporarily fixed it with massage therapy, but it needs a lot more work. I was working around this injury, avoiding squats and dead lifts, and other exercises I wasn’t confident with. I recently started doing squats again and it has become slightly more painful as a result.

Last Thursday, I was doing my regular workout and I injured the middle of my back, in between my shoulder blades. I presume it was from the wide-grip lateral pulldowns, since when I complete this motion weightless, I feel a lot of pain. During the workout, I did not feel any pain, I felt nothing out of the ordinary. I did not even notice any back pain until two hours after I finished my workout, and the exercises that caused the pain were my second and third of the day! I skipped the gym and cardio on Friday and Saturday to give it a rest, and did only cardio on Sunday. I went back to my usual Chest/Tricep workout today and noticed something truly terrifying: I was a lot weaker than last week. Last week I was benching 65 pounds, 4 sets of 12. This week 6 reps was a serious struggle, and I was significantly weaker on the right side, almost dropping the bar. This, and a few similarly terrifying examples showed me that I clearly injured my back worse than I thought, and that it is more injured on the right side, which failed much faster in a few exercises.

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Needless to say, I am seriously concerned about this injury. I have 6 massage therapy appointments booked over the next month, which I am hoping will help work out the injury. If not, I will  have to start to visit a physiotherapist. Since I am still determined to get back into shape and live a healthy lifestyle, I am going to try to train around my injuries. I will likely remove all back exercises from my workouts, as well as squats. I have been looking into training around injuries and I found this excellent article on bodybuilding.com. I will definitely be reducing my weights and upping my reps, as this seems like a logical thing to do. I may also add more cardio, and focus more on burning fat rather than building muscle. It is definitely better to take things slowly rather than continue to train hard and end up unable to train for months. I am going to watch my injuries closely and see if they start to subside. Tomorrow is my first massage therapy appointment, and I will be checking with her to see if she suggests going to physio. Fingers crossed that things will get back to normal again soon!