Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fortune cookie wisdom

I received this piece of wisdom in a fortune cookie (and yes, I ate the cookie, it was a cheat meal right after a workout).

"When things go wrong, don't go with them."

Amusing, sure, but it also sparked some thoughts about working out.

What do you do when you are training and things take a turn for the worst?

Quit. Probably the most popular. Give up, go home. Nurse the injury, forget the weight you couldn't budge today, just end the workout and go home. The pro to this one is you sure as heck aren't going wrong with them. The cons are the "giving up" part, where you neither adapt nor overcome, and the "go home" part, where you miss a chance to get some kind of training effect.

Forge ahead. Probably the second most popular one. Ignore it. Keep trying for heavy weights no matter how badly your form is deteriorating. Ignore the pain and push through it. The pro is you demonstrate your resolution, mental toughness, and drive. The con is that you can get further injured or just injured because you aren't listening. You are going wrong along with those "things" my anonymous fortune cookie writer spoke of.

Modify your workout and continue. Probably the least common, but possibly the best response. Instead of just quitting, you find something you can do. Leg hurts? Do upper body. Back hurts? Do some isolation exercises for your limbs and get in some light work to rehab the back. The pro to this is that you still get something done, and don't waste the workout session. The con to this is that it's hard, especially mentally, because you need to find just the right level of "enough" and of "different" to avoid going further wrong. Emotionally it's frustrating, because you have that nagging feeling you just aren't toughing it out.

For the record, most of the time I got for option 2: Forge ahead. I try my best to do number 3, and I insist my clients take option 1 (bag it, go home) or option 3 (let's do something you can do).

How about you?

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