A Painful Lesson

It all started in the spring of 1982, Ah I remember it so well, or perhaps I should say ouch!   It was my own fault, I was trying to kick the guy who had just dispossessed me during a soccer match and I remember seeing my leg going beyond straight and then the pain hit, and boy did it hit. The doctor said I had damaged the ligaments of my knee and I needed to rest.   Lesson Learned – 1982 was not a good year to mess up ones knee.   My new scar – finally a cool scar   Over the next 3 years I kept trying to return to football (soccer) despite not being very good at it. And in the process injured my knee to varying degrees another 10-15 times! Lesson Learned – Twice might be coincidence, 10 or more recurrences of injury tends to suggest that you should give up that sport. In 1985 a funny thing happened. I had all my cartilage removed and I was struck with a lightning bolt of common sense. I got more into my lifting and stayed away from multi-directional sport.   Lesson Learned – Appreciate a good thing when you have it.   Obviously I didn’t  appreciate this good thing, I wanted more, and so my dalliance with Martial Arts started. Even I knew after kicking my own knee out – twice that Muay Thai wasn’t ideal for me so the next 12 years were spent doing Aikido and Judo, better for my knee than Muay Thai but not ideal. While not quite as stressful on the...

Reacting to Setbacks

There are many reasons why individuals achieve a goal; great planning, action, and reacting to feedback and some of the biggies, but perhaps the biggest reason is how you react to setbacks, which in training terms usually means injuries.   From my observations most “normal” people get injured and react badly. Their reaction is often denial, they try to run through the pain, or they take some painkillers before each session rather than seeking professional advice and resting. Oftentimes the body will heal itself despite this less than optimal behaviour, but as many of you will know the injury can also worsen. With bad or persistent injuries there comes a time when you need to stop doing what’s hurting you and start recovering.    I bet he’d make a great physio – my Mrs is so going to kill me for this!   By the way recovering doesn’t mean sitting on the couch eating pizza and drinking beer while feeling sorry for yourself. YOU NEED TO BE ACTIVE IN YOUR OWN RECOVERY, not one of these tender-headed types who helplessly lays there saying “fix me please”.   If at this point you’re wonder which professional advice you should be seeking; I will now refer you to a passage in my book “The Mighty Method” which is available on this site.   Where to Get Rehab Advice From? I realise that I’m going off on a bit off a tangent here, but understanding who to go to for advice in this area could make or break you. In the UK it’s fairly simple; we have Physiotherapists who work in our National...

Why Are You Doing This?

Just an easy blog this week, as in it’s one of those blogs which needs to be said every once in a while, so whenever I’m struggling for an idea I can always go back to this old chestnut, or a variation of it.   Why are you…   Still doing Upright Rows? Some idiot trainer showed someone who showed someone and now every non thinking male (and a few females) do this. Don’t! According to Physio X you’re playing chicken with impinging on a nerve; the benefit Vs risk scale is swaying in the wrong direction. Stick to overhead pressing.  Stop playing chicken with your shoulders Doing Pulldowns Behind the Neck? Most guys do not have the flexibility in the shoulder girdle to do this exercise. It’s like having a shoulder lock applied every rep you do. Also Pulldowns to the front are just as effective but without the risk.   Press Behind the Neck (PBN)? OK, I can kind of understand this one. A strongman named Kamil who used to train occasionally at Darkside once did 180kg, that’s close to 400lbs for 5 reps in the PBN; now that’s seriously cool and I can understand the pleasure that can give but despite allowing you to use greater loads than the Press I think the extra stress on the shoulders isn’t worth the risk. Maybe it’s coincidence but many ex-strongmen have bad shoulders once they hit late 30s, but then again so did I!   Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks? This one really winds Nick up; he says that in South Korea he sees Personal Trainers giving these to women, and all...

Take Your Medicine

Medicine is good for you but might leave a nasty taste in your mouth; that pretty much sums up single leg training!   Some of you may remember from a couple of years ago that I don’t agree with Coach Mike Boyle when he said that he didn’t think it was necessary that his athletes Squatted; what a shock that must have been to everyone! But I do agree in the need for most of us to perform a good 1 legged exercise, for reasons of health, balance, and greater overall strength.   Now please don’t confuse good 1 legged exercises with 1 Leg Extensions, 1 Leg Curls, or 1 Leg Presses (not quite as bad) as one of my lifters at Darkside once did, although I think he realised his error as soon as the words “I do 1 leg training, I do Extensions at such and such gym!” Needless to say he received a torrent of abuse as soon as these words had left his mouth.   No, 1 Leg Extensions are not what I’m talking about, the 1 leg movements we should be doing are: Step Ups and their many variations Lunges and their many variations And Bulgarian Split Squats (BSS)   Obviously I’m not going to cover all of these variations here, but I recommend that most beginners start with the Step Up. This is because Step Ups are easy to perform and they have a steep learning curve; by this I mean that within 3 sessions the trainee should be able to use a challenging weight, whereas if a beginner were to perform Bulgarian Split Squats usually after 3 sessions they would...

Injuries and How to Train Around Them

Injuries and How to Train Around Them The Curse of the Elite (and not so elite) Athlete by Chris Young Introduction I’m going to hit you with the best line first – When injured concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t! Injuries will happen; especially when you’re performing at a high level; it’s something you’re going to have to deal with at one time or another. It’s how you react to an injury that really matters. I’ll give you an example which only happened last week. My training partners and I were performing a max effort lower body session; it was 3 days after a particularly nasty dynamic effort session. We had all done our Squats and had moved onto Deadlifts; one of my partners and I were feeling beaten up from the session 3 days before. Another partner had pulled his adductor a couple of days before while messing around trying to do the splits; he had Squatted well but now said that the injury was too much and he was done with training for the day. The two of us who were beaten up from the previous session brought our stance in and did Rack Pulls which were easier on our painful hips but just as tough (or worse) on everything else. There are two messages here: Don’t mess with the splits, and There are many alternatives; pick one that doesn’t hurt and do it. Concentrate on what you can do (close stance Rack Pulls), not what you can’t (Deadlifts). This boy isn’t going to be playing again for a while! Learn from the...