In this post, Coach Amanda talks about her experience dealing with injury and coming back stronger than before. If you've ever dealt with a long term injury, this one is for you.
Many of you have dealt with injuries and had to modify workouts because of it. Anyone who has been in that situation knows that it can be incredibly frustrating. You come to the gym and look at the workout only to find that you aren’t able to do half of what is programmed. Some days you might be excited because the movement you have to modify isn’t something you like but other days you are frustrated and discouraged because it’s one of your favorite movements and you feel like you’re missing out by not doing it. Maybe you are self conscious about the fact that you need extra attention and don’t want to be a burden. Maybe you end up doing it anyway even though you know you shouldn’t and you suffer because of it, thus making your recovery time that much longer. I have good news for you—if you have had this experience or are having it now, we are here to help you and I promise your patience will be greatly rewarded.
Some of you know that I have been dealing with shoulder/back issues for a long time. This is the main reason I am so passionate about mobility and recovery. I have seen the benefits of taking the time to focus on what my body needs and I have seen the regression when I don’t. If I don’t take proper care of my back and the surrounding areas, the problem will carry up to my shoulders. When that happens and I keep doing shoulder heavy movements, it makes my shoulders incredibly aggravated.
A few months back, I started to feel pain in my shoulder and I ignored it. I continued to do the movements that I knew I shouldn’t do. It got to the point that my shoulder was in so much pain, I took a week off of CrossFit only to find out that riding my bike made it hurt as well. It got to the point where doing an air squat was the only movement that didn’t hurt it. I had to take a serious step back and evaluate my decisions and what I was doing to take care of myself.
After I sought out help from a wonderful rolfer in town, and was able to actually get back in the gym, I spent a solid two months avoiding shoulder movements all together. It was killing me to take time off thinking that I was getting weaker by the day. During that time, I spent a ton of time mobilizing on my own focusing attention on my back, shoulders, pecs and anything in the area that is connected. I made sure to spend time both before workouts and after just to make sure that the workout wouldn’t do anything to aggravate my shoulder—even when there weren’t shoulder dominant movements. I spent a lot of time using the Crossover Symmetry bands that we have at the gym and found how incredibly helpful they are (if you don’t know whatthat is, let me know because I would be happy to show you how they work). I slowly started adding shoulder movements back into workouts but made sure to pay attention to the volume and load each time. Over the last month, I have added some movements that I most feared would hurt me…only to find that not only did they not give me pain, but I was stronger than ever before.
My shoulder doesn’t hurt me at all right now and I have done every single movement that ever bothered it, with a decent amount of volume. This whole experience challenged my mental state more than ever before. Reflecting back on it, there a few great takeaways. At the end of the day, when we go to the gym for a workout, it doesn’t matter what the workout is. What matters is that we show up and give it our best. Modifying a workout doesn’t mean that we are missing out or that we are being a burden. It means that we are taking our own health seriously and doing what we need to do to make sure we get a good workout in no matter what. When our body tells us something and we don’t listen to it, we are on a collision course with injury. When we do listen, it makes us stronger both mentally and physically. I know that it can be frustrating when you have to do a different workout than everyone else but just think about how much you have to gain from that experience.
If you ever have a question about mobility, I would love to share with you all that I know. If I don’t know the answer, I love doing the research to find out. Don’t forget that I do a mobility class every Sunday at 9:30 and there will be a mid week mobility class starting soon.