We’ve all seen them. You know, the videos on youtube of amazing athletes completing crazy feats of strength and fitness. The heavy efforts, sprints, climbs and final stretch for the finish line; it is nothing short of inspirational.
Maybe you have even had the pleasure of being there to see it. Either way, there is no denying that it’s inspiring. And it stokes that little fire inside. You know what I am talking about… That little fire that says “Man, you need to train harder.”
Well, out of all of the times you should of listened to that little voice inside, this may be the only time you shouldn’t. Sometimes it's not about training harder, doing more, increasing the load. Sometimes it's about patience and following a program.
We see injury after injury in office workers and students from overuse. Overuse may have been what brought it to the surface but it was years of underuse that set the problem up.
The people we see on the regional and world stage follow one underlying principle; Blood, sweat and YEARS.
The best way to slow track your results and increase risk of injury and set-backs is to try to fast track results. Your body and mind has to have a progressive overload and with an increase in work load should come an increase in recovery. Unfortunately, as a society we are time poor. This translates into increasing load and keeping the same recovery principles. Which, more often than not, is little to none. A hockey ball here, a foam roller there and let's clean and jerk a pb in 15 minutes.
No. You know that’s not how it works.
These athletes may appear to of just popped on the scene and are throwing ridiculous weights left right and centre but stop and look at their foundation. Look at where they came from. Most if not all have a background in martial arts, wrestling, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, football. Not to mention they trained them for years.
This gave their body time to allow connective tissue and supportive tissue of their joints to deal with progressive overload. This in turn allowed them to develop skills such as spatial awareness and full body co-ordination. Skills that cannot be learnt from a seat. Skills that cannot be fast tracked. But they can be developed.
Most powerlifting and Olympic lifting squat cycles from those impressive eastern European countries are for novice lifters. Eastern European novice lifters. That means, they have been lifting for approximately 7 years.
Not 7 months.
And definitely not 7 weeks.
Like gymnasts who start conditioning and spatial awareness training at such a young age, their joints, bones and muscles develop as the body grows. This allows a slow and constant progressive overload for the body to deal with.
That means, if you are an 80kg male trying to do handstands every day, don’t be upset when your elbows start assuming you’ve been playing golf every day and will follow suit with some tendonitis.
The same goes for attempting to do kipping pull ups before strict. Your shoulder is a very, very complex joint with a large amount of range of movement and stabilizers. If these muscles have never been developed to complete strict movements then attempting to do dynamic movements will increase risk of injury through the roof.
And don’t get me started on Handstand push ups. I mean, come on, that is only your cervical spine, nothing overly important, right? I am all for kipping. I am more for strict. The question is, are you competing for a score in the gym or are you training to improve long term?
Put simply, don’t rush it! You are only fast tracking an injury. We are quick to look at someone else and compare. Listen to your body rather than watching everyone elses.
So first, strengthen a movement and make it efficient and then build strength through that movement. Strength takes years. Full body strength that is. The kind you see on those inspirational videos.
Be patient, grasshopper. The time will pass anyway.