Learning How to Tackle Your Weaknesses
No one is perfect. Everyone has flaws. Life has obstacles, and you must overcome them.
Everyone I know has a nagging injury or weakness that just doesn’t seem to go away. Is it because they aren’t elite or genetically superior? No, or else that would mean super-star athletes would never run into bodily-issues – you know, guys like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Lebron James, and John Cena. (Google their names along with the word “injury” and you’ll see what I mean.)
These things happen. If they didn’t, there would be no such thing as physical therapy or orthopedic surgery.
In my case, I can’t bench press to save my life. My rotator cuff impinges every single time – it’s too painful and awkward. Running is troublesome, too. Everytime I pick up running, my knees ache. Some folks may have bad backs and can’t deadlift. Others may have crappy feet and ankles and can’t stand for long periods of time.
Logically, one would stop performing a painful movement because it’s painful. Well, why not? There’s no reason to hurt yourself if you can simply work around an injury you’ve developed – but does it have to end there? Are you doomed to never being able to perform a particular troublesome-exercise ever again?
I’ll get back to that in a minute.
How Weakness Manifests Itself
Why do you experience pain when performing a so-called “weak” movement or troublesome-exercise? Why do humans experience pain, period?
Usually, it’s because of tissue damage. These painful movements and exercises are damaging your joints/muscles/bones/etc. Let’s take my body for example – when I bench press, my shoulder hurts. So that must mean that something in my shoulder is getting damaged.
Now, for what reason would my shoulder be getting damaged? For those who have experience and knowledge of shoulder anatomy, impingement is a huge deal that plagues plenty of athletes and weekend-warriors. This injury itself has numerous causes, including but not exclusive to: muscle imbalances, pattern-overload, faulty movement patterns, poor mobility, and structural deformities. These issues can be related and usually will be found together.
What does this tell you about my body? I’ve got certain muscles to strengthen, certain muscles to stretch, less pushing and more pulling to be performed, plenty of soft-tissue- and mobility-work needed, and lots of time hanging from a bar.
Pain Is Only a Symptom of Weakness – Find the Causes
Did you see what I just did before?
I showed you that pain is not an end-all-be-all condition, but is a result of something greater and more complicated. This mean, when you’re hurting in the gym, you’ve got some hidden problems.
However, it is possible to discover what those underlying-causes just happen to be. Sure, it will take a bit of experimentation, a bit of reading and learning, and a helluva lot of time and patience, but the end-result is so utterly satisfying.
To be able to listen to and understand your body during your day-to-day activities is a an awesome gift. Honestly, I shouldn’t have to call it a gift, because we all deserve to have such an intuitive-sense that allows us to troubleshoot our bodies.
You Are Not Doomed for Weakness
So, to answer the question from before – if certain movements cause you pain, can you no longer perform them? The answer is NO, you are not doomed to no longer being able to perform them.
Yes, please do remove those painful exercises from your workout-routine in the meantime and figure out what needs a-fixing in your body.
It’s going to be tough, confusing, and almost never-ending. But by starting today, you will know so much more about your body than you have, and have a shot at being able to move in ways that you couldn’t have before.
Read daily. Palpate your muscles, bones, and joints. Listen to top coaches and movement-experts. Make it your life.
Don’t let weakness be your destiny.