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Oh Snap! Did I Just Injure Myself?!

Boys and girls let this be a lesson to you, a cautionary tale if you will. I broke protocol for the first time in a long time and I went much heavier than my known maximum lifts using equipment that is homemade and not very safe.

Add to that the use of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs before my workout to take care of a headache, and it's safe to say that my head was not where it should have been. It's not to say that non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs don't have their place, they do, however it's my personal belief that when you take a Cox 2 inhibitor you deaden your senses, your body's natural ability to tell you things that you need to know during an intense lifting session.

"Then I sat down for about 3 minutes, contemplating whether or not I should do a fourth set... Biggest mistake of the day."

My choice to go heavier than I usually do simply added to that perfect storm. A very subtle deviation in form, when adding weight to an already very tricky dynamic movement such as kettlebell swings, can usually spell disaster when your head is not in the game.

Now on to the good part: the workout, including the part where it all went to pot! ( and more importantly what I did to correct it )

  • 10 minutes of dynamic warm up including stretch.
  • Kettlebell windmills- 2 on each side for a good deep stretch.
  • Heavy one-hand kettlebell swings, half-snatch at the top, 70 pounds on a galvanized t-bar, with cloth wrist straps to overcome the jankiness of the homemade, cloth-taped-wrapped grip. 
The wrist straps were another mistake, one which I haven't made in many years, lifting with wrist straps will make you great at lifting with wrist straps- at best not improving your grip to meet what the rest of your body can do and, at worst, fooling you into thinking you should lift loads heavier than what your grip will sustain.

I got through 3 sets of around 18 reps each, on each hand, and felt great. Posterior kinetic chain FIRED. UP. Pretty cool right? Then I sat down for about 3 minutes, contemplating whether or not I should do a fourth set. Biggest mistake of the day.

I began a fourth set using my right hand and on rep number 5 dropped my shoulder so that the placement of the kettlebell was below my groin and about mid thigh. Also because I had been sitting there was a pelvic tilt that caused my lower back to go out of proper alignment. This chain reaction crunched my thoracic vertebra, and I felt a rib go out. Ouch... sort of.

I already had plenty of ibuprofen in my bloodstream so that it didn't hurt as bad as it might have under other conditions but, I suspect, was the reason that I didn't feel the slow deviation in form as I went through reps 3 and 4 with my shoulder perhaps already starting to slump- which I could have and should have corrected.

Now, damage control.

  1. I stopped the set- immediately. 
  2. I went through a series of postures to ensure that I could still reach my full range of motion with shoulders, neck, pelvis, and legs (so upstream and downstream). 
  3. I then carefully examined my back using my hands and performed a small set of self administered vertebral manipulations. (no, I'm not a chiropractor, but I play one on TV :D ). 
  4. Finally, I performed (very carefully!) a set of 5 one hand swings on the left side in order to give oppositional stimulus, in the hopes that I could balance out the forces working on my spine and rib cage.
  5. Then as per custom I cooled down, stretched, showered, and am now enjoying a protein shake.

Am I a little concerned about how my lifts will go tomorrow? A little, yes. Will it influence my choice of exercises and intensity? Probably. Would it be better for me to remain sedentary tomorrow? Definitely not: active recovery is true recovery.

Stay Strong, Friends.

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