How To Perform High-Intensity Workouts At a High Level While Avoiding Injury
High-Intensity workouts are different. So are the people who do them.
As part of this community, we are highly motivated and driven to perform and achieve things the average person does not even dare to dream about.
The High-Intensity workout experience creates a physical and mental transformation that permeates every aspect of your life… making you a better person… allowing you to live on a higher level.
But there is a potential downside.
And this downside is quite controversial in the community. Here is an example so you know exactly what I am talking about…
There was an article recently published of a woman that got hurt doing burpee and deadlift-like movements.
She felt a tremendous amount of pain in her lower back and needed 4 weeks of treatment for her injury. She was unable to train for that entire month.
The owner of the facility said that he failed her because he did not tell her that High-Intensity workouts would hurt. And from the context of the article – it was pretty clear that what he meant by “hurt” was getting injured.
He went on to give his list of injuries. Some serious… like two torn patellar tendons. He also described his father passing away young – and how his father was “out of shape and ill.” On the contrary, because of the high-intensity workouts, he is fit and surrounded by a great fitness community.
There is one big flaw to all this.
The big flaw is the belief that all of this okay. In other words, the only way to be in shape, have great friends, and all the other benefits of being a part of a High-Intensity workout community is to have injuries. If you want to avoid injuries – you will be out of shape, and miserable.
The fact of the matter is – you can excel without all the injuries.
And the first step to doing it is not listening to people who tell you, “You will get injured – injuries are part of working out hard.”
The Three Basic Ways You Get Hurt
and How to Avoid Them
The first, and most obvious way to get hurt is improper technique.
Even a simple exercise done with improper technique can injure you. One of the most important things is spending a lot of time in the beginning MASTERING proper technique. Too many people get caught up in what others are doing and want to do that, too. And do it now.
The truth is – if you focus on learning the correct technique, you will reach your goal much faster. Improper technique… besides the great potential for injury… only leads to failing. Technique allows you to do things with less effort, energy, and strength. When you master technique – gains may seem to come slower in the beginning…. but then…. all of a sudden… they come almost overnight.
The bottom line is: Poor technique leads to frustrating stagnation and injuries. Great technique leads to tremendous gains.
The Second Way to Get Injured Is
Not Choosing the Right Exercises for You
This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
Some exercises and workouts are good for some people but may not be good for you. There are many factors involved… like pre-existing injuries, experience, etc.
Many High-Intensity workout exercises (like Olympic lifts) require a solid foundation. Therefore, doing them without the proper foundation seriously increases your chances of getting hurt.
As you can see, choosing the right place to train… with the right coaches is vital.
If you have any pre-existing injuries (like you have had back or neck pain, knee or shoulder problems etc. in the past) it is vitally important that you have a qualified coach who understands these injuries and knows EXACTLY what you can do and not do. So is working with a qualified physician who understands the workouts and muscle and joint biomechanics and can help guide you to choose the right exercises for you.
The Third Way to Get Hurt Is to Get Caught Up
in the Intensity and Simply Go Too Hard
One of the reasons why the high-intensity workout lifestyle is so awesome is the community. The support is simply amazing. But that level of support can lead to pushing yourself too hard. And trying to push through the wrong kind of pain.
Clearly, there is “good pain” and “bad pain.” And knowing the difference can be the difference between reaching new heights and a traumatic injury.
Know this: The others cheering you on cannot know if the pain you are feeling is “good pain” you should push through… or… “bad pain” that can lead to serious injury if you continue. Do not be afraid to stop if you are in doubt. That does not mean your weak. It means you are smart.
The best way to perform your workouts better is consistency. The best way to destroy progress and go backwards is to get hurt. Working with a qualified physician or doctor who understands this can help guide you through the “good pain” vs “bad pain” so you can perform better and limit injuries.
Now Let’s Talk about a Way to Potentially Avoid Injury
and Perform Better a Lot of People Do Not Know About…
Most people think injuries happen all at once. In other words, you are perfectly fine one day… you suffer some sort of trauma… and that trauma is the sole cause of the injury.
While this can and does happen… many times injuries come on slowly… over a long period of time. In other words, there is a very small problem that slowly gets worse over time until one day you hit your threshold and a big injury occurs.
Smoking is a perfect example. People do not get lung cancer from smoking one cigarette. They get it from smoking for many years. The effect is cumulative.
Another great example is type 2 diabetes. You do not get diabetes from eating junk (processed sugar) and not exercising just once. For most people, it is the result of chronic, sub-symptomatic habits that reach the threshold for diabetes many years later.
Back injuries are another great example.
Quite often when athletes injure their back, they come in feeling fine and at some point during their workout, their back just, “goes out.” They feel a twinge or a pop. Shortly after they finish that workout (if they can), their back gets stiffer. And stiffer. And stiffer. The pain increases, too.
Later that day or the next, it’s a full blown nightmare.
It is common sense to believe whatever they did during that day’s workout injured them. But that would be like thinking that one last cigarette gave you lung cancer. Similarly, most of the time, that one movement in the workout is only a small piece of the puzzle.
Most of the time, that back injury was festering for quite a while and what happened during that workout was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Here is how…
Your back functions in a complex dynamic between your soft tissue and joint structure. The function is effected by the muscles, connective tissue, and osseous (bone) joint structure. This is often referred to as the “joint complex.”
Micro trauma to muscles (strains) can cause small amounts of scar tissue. This alters the function a little bit. More intense workouts…. more micro trauma… more scar tissue…more altered function.
The same is true for the entire spinal joint complex. Micro traumas alter the joints function. Rinse and repeat.
You adapt. You fight through the stiffness and pain. There might not even be much pain due to the adaption. The body is quite incredible… especially the body of an extreme athlete.
Then, one day the micro trauma adds up enough to hit your body’s threshold and you are officially, “injured.” Clearly, you were injured long before that.
And let me ask you this: Do you think you were performing optimally all that time with all that dysfunction before the “big” injury.” Do you think you were as fast or as strong as you could be? Do you think you performed as well in the workout or maneuver as you should?
That’s why professional athletes have body work specific doctors such as Chiropractors and physio-therapists to keep them functioning optimally and to help them avoid injuries.
Did you know that some Chiropractors not only successfully treat back pain, they help keep the spinal joint complex (and all other joints of the body) working correctly so athletes can operate as close to their genetic potential as possible while minimizing injury? Well, it’s true.
This is why professional sports teams now have Chiropractic Physicians on staff. This is also why serious athletes of all levels come see me. They understand the important of performing on the highest level and are willing to go the extra mile to be the best.
So, if you want to avoid injury and perform better at your workouts, here’s the deal…
(1) Don’t believe injuries are part of the lifestyle and that you are supposed to get hurt.
(2) Have a knowledgeable coach and sports doctor to help choose the right exercises for you.
(3) Spend enough time to MASTER the technique before you try to go hard and outperform your personal best.
(4) Enjoy the High-Intensity workout community and all its support, but don’t get to excited and push too far past your currents limits. You will change your current limits over time, not all at once.
(5) Know the difference between workout pain you can push through and injury pain that needs you to stop and get proper treatment.
(6) Follow the lead of the top pros. Invest in fine-tuning your body with a joint complex-focused Chiropractor to function optimally and avoid injury.
Then, workout hard…without injuries!!!