By: Anthony Campo
If you are consistently training, eventually you are going to get banged up. Whether a sore back or a sore wrist, the question always arises as to whether or not to train thru the pain, or take some time off. First it is important to understand the difference between being hurt and being injured. Being hurt means that though there is some discomfort, you are not going to make it worse with training. Being injured means that if you resume with your normal protocol, you will make the problem worse. My general rule in determining which one of these is the case is to take it on a week to week basis. If you are on your normal training protocol, and every week it feels worse and worse, this probably means that you are injured. If there is slightly elevated pain directly after training, but it seems to get better by the next week, or the next time you train chances are you are hurt. If you are hurt it comes down to pain tolerance, and what you can do without it disturbing your life. It is important to remember that exercise stimulates the body’s production of endorphins, your own natural pain killer, which might offer the best form of relief. Very rarely (hurt of injured) do I recommend that someone do nothing. If you are hurt it is imperative that you make sure you do a proper warm-up complete with stretching of proper muscles, soft tissue work, mobility work along with some neurological stimulating aspects (ie: jumps, plyometric pushups…). Get yourself to a feeling of reduced pain through these techniques in order to get the most of your training sessions (I feel in these cases the warm-up is even more important than the training, so don’t skip this!). If you do get injured you want to wait for the initial acute phase (usually 48-72 hours) is over with before you start attacking the problem. Once the acute phase is over, it is important to remember that you may have to switch your goals. Whether your goal is to compete in a competition or drop a few pounds, if you are injured, taking care of the injury should become priority. If you focus in on correcting the injury, and specialize in training for the current issue, you will dramatically cut down your recovery time. Once you have corrected yourself then you will be able to resume specializing in your prior goals. You get the most benefit from specializing in your training. So this means that if you are still injured, and you are not taking care of it, and also trying to pursue other goals, you will NOT be paying enough attention to any one thing, and will have trouble achieving any goals at all. Take care of things systematically, and specialize, and you will greatly increase your chances of overall success.