Overcoming Adversity

Tweaks, sprains, strains and injuries are part of life, especially if one’s life involves lifting heavy weights up and down repeatedly. I’ve had my share, with fortunately only once having to go under the knife to repair a fully ruptured bicep tendon from a 415-lb deadlift. Learn to Hook Grip kids if you love your bicep tendons. The worst part of any injury for me isn’t the physical pain–and by the way I never felt any pain at all when I tore my tendon from the bone–but the psychological trauma induced by not being able to train. It can get downright depressing, with goals sidetracked, plans derailed… It can even affect my diet. Why bother to eat; it’s not like I’m doing anything?

I’m typically able to eventually put all that aside and make up my mind to train what I can. I won’t train through an injury because that’s preposterously idiotic, but I will train around it (I did Hack Squats with my arm in a sling two days after surgery). My latest foray into the land of the crippled is a wickedly inflamed left forearm. That’s a little broad, but there are a few small muscles in there responsible for pronating and supinating the arm, and judging by the knee-buckling pain I get when  I do either, there’s something angry happening in there.

This all started a couple of months ago, during a particularly cold night when I decided to save money by refusing to put the heat on. I was in bed and awkwardly pulled the sheet and comforter up to my neck when something popped in my left forearm. It was incredibly painful and stayed that way for a few days, then seemed to subside. Saturday, I decided to hit some neglected muscles and did a bit of shrugging from various angles and then did the one exercise I despise so much, I’d almost rather take a Zumba class: bicep curls. I did them Hammer Curl style so I could at least tell myself I was training the brachialis which is important for deadlifting. A few hours later, I turned my palm up with half an avocado in my hand and loudly cursed the names of relatives I didn’t know I had. I have a pretty good pain tolerance, but this was as close to a 10 on a scale of a 1-10 as I’ve ever experienced.

An injury like this is insidious in its impact on daily living. It’s not like it just affects my ability to powerlift. It affects my ability to turn the key in my lock! There’s almost no way around using your hands and their attachments and I’ve been moaning and groaning periodically for the last two days. As indicated above, my psyche has been traumatized by this setback and unlike previous maladies, I see difficult times ahead trying to work around using my hands. As I mentioned recently, I signed up for Project Momentum; an experimental 8-week program by the coaching staff at Reactive Training Systems and I received my welcome packet today. I want to participate so the timing of my crippling ailment couldn’t be worse.

The plan I’m currently concocting is to perform GPP type activity, or maybe just some squats since that movement has the least amount of injurious motion involved and see if I can be healed up and ready for the Feb 5 kickoff. I’m not optimistic on that score, but may the gods of healing bestow their blessings upon my flexor muscles.




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