When it comes to injuries, you've gotta know when to fold em'

I stood, hunched over the barbell. 

Two minutes ago, I was getting my sweat on with some deadlifts. Then suddenly, with one pull of the barbell, I wondered if I'd ever stand up straight again.

I tried move towards the door, but a hot rush of pain made the entire gym go black. I didn't pass out, but it was close. 

Son of a…..

This time it was serious.    

Injury happens to everyone at one time or another; but along with the devastating, crippling spasms in my back was the equally painful knowledge that I knew better.

Prior to the rep that did me in, my back felt a little tweaked. Nothing major, but I knew something was off. I walked around, tried to stretch it out and debated my options. I could cut the workout short and go get on the bike for 20 minutes. But I was having a bad day. 

I didn’t just want to work out. I needed to work out. I needed to get some happy in my system and while working out doesn’t always do it, it’s rare that I don’t feel at least incrementally better afterwards.

Our body communicates with us, all of the time. If we are stiff our body is sending a message; if we are loose there is a message; if we have a headache, stomachache, or whatever, pain exists to send us a message.

But as athletes, former athletes, and people who’ve finally gotten ourselves into a workout routine, taking a break feels like giving up and giving in. We don’t want to miss a beat, for fear of taking a few steps backwards or losing momentum. So we ignore the signs our body is giving us.

That day, I went back to the bar. (Not that bar people…) And form be damned, I picked it up, determined to grind out the set and get the training effect. Instead, I couldn't stand up straight for two weeks and sidelined myself from lifting for six weeks.

Six weeks.

My persistence in sticking to my exact program on a day when my body wasn’t ready, cost me. I was flat on my back for a full week. Later, I found myself petrified of certain lifts for fear of triggering whatever it was that caused the spasm in the first place. So if I had a do-over, what would I do differently?


I was paying attention to my body, but I wasn't listening. That lift wasn't working. Dave Dellanave uses biofeedback to teach his clients just that. He has a system to help his clients test their bodies to find out which lift tests well on certain days. As a result, Dave's clients make tremendous strides, setting personal records on a regular basis. Needless to say, after my mishap, I was very interested in Dave's system and have been using his program "Off the Floor: A Manual for Deadlift Domination." My main goal is to deadlift more weight. But I can't do that if I don't stay healthy.

Be Flexible

I would also be flexible. Yes, I'm on a program that goes five days a week. But I'm not a professional athlete making money with my performance. 20 minutes on the bike that day would have been fine. 


I'd also be prepared. Yes I went to the gym with a specific workout. But now I'm prepared with other workouts in my binder; density and metabolic circuits that kick my arse and give me the training effect I'm looking for. Or you can do a dynamic warm up five times and work on mobility. Or get on the bike. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that you listen.

And because I just can't resist...you know I can't resist; in the words of Kenny Rogers, with fitness and all things, you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. 



Yes, this is really from my vinyl collection...

Yes, this is really from my vinyl collection...