Darin St. George: It hurts when I do that
We've all heard that tried and true joke before; a man walks into a doctor's office and says, "Doc, it hurts when I do this," and the doctor quickly replies, "Well, then don't do that -- 50 bucks, please!" It's seemingly the easiest thing to understand when told in joke format, but when that joke happens to be your own injury, it's no laughing matter.
I happen to have an injury that travels around my body; wherever it is, however, my feelings range from "Who cares?" to "Oh, no, my career is over."
Seriously, injuries are the pits, so today I'll suggest some workarounds, some reframing techniques and maybe provide you some solace as you sit on the sidelines while you heal up.
My neck hurts any time I do any upper body. I wish I had a nickel for each time I've heard that; there's actually a simple explanation for that. Barring serious neck injuries or abnormalities, I notice that most exercisers simply strain all their energy into their necks and trapezius muscles. The next time you're lifting and facing a mirror, just think, "Drop the shoulders and relax the neck" and you'll immediately notice a difference both visibly and physically.
My back hurts every time I train abs, so I'm going to stop. The three mitigating factors to most injuries are age, weight and fitness ability. Each time you perform the positive part of a crunch (or any abdominal exercise), you stabilize the movement with your lower back. As you lower to the beginning of the move, however, the lumbar area becomes the prime mover and the abdominals stabilize you as you lower down to the floor. That "pain" that you feel is actually your lower back working, so keep it up and you'll feel better with each workout.
I have had bad shoulders since I played football in high school. Well, have you had a doctor look at it? I bet dollars to doughnuts that if you performed internal/external rotational exercises using a rubber exercise band (you can buy them at a variety of stores), your shoulder would be much stronger in any number of movements.
Knowledge is knowing the path but wisdom is required to walk it; have a great week, gang.
Darin St. George is a personal fitness coach at Gold's Gym in Natick, Mass. Visit his website at http://www.TrainerX.com.