I wanted to talk a bit about a question that we as Trainers get a lot. And that’s whether someone should work out or not, or do a particular exercise or not. This question doesn’t come from someone not wanting to do a particular exercise, but rather from being sore, or injured, or in pain. Now before we get into the main topic of this post, I want to discuss the previous sentence a little bit and hopefully clear up a few misconceptions that people may have. Then we will address the issue of “To wod, or not to wod?”
Nothing ever gets better from not moving it.
Whenever someone asks me about whether to perform a particular exercise or if they can do something different than what is listed I always respond with the same sequence of questions. “Why?” is my first… and “Are you hurt, or do you just not like this exercise?” is what follows. See, these are two entirely different things and as such I have very different responses (and also emotions!) when I discuss them. It’s human nature to not want to do something when we are not good at it. People will actually ask if they can do something other than the exercise that is listed when it’s something they aren’t good at, or when it’s something they hate (funny how often those two things usually go together…) So, if what I get back is “I don’t like them” or “I’m no good at them” then my response is usually something along the lines of “Tough”, “Too bad”, or “That’s nice, do it anyway”. Then I follow it up with “We don’t get better at something by not doing it”. Cause we don’t. Ever. If you’ve ever been around me when I talk about CrossFit you have heard me refer to it as a cruel highlighter. Because it shows you exactly where your shortcomings are without any hesitation or misgivings whatsoever.
But if the response I get back is something that details an injury or pain then this will warrant a different sub-set of questions. I then look to determine if the movement to be performed causes pain, and then in particular, what kind of pain? Because if doing the moment causes a sharp, stabbing, immediate pain, than this particular exercise should definitely NOT be performed and an appropriate substation made. However, if the movement causes a dull aching pain which is usually derived from soreness or a previous workout than my suggestion would be for the member to perform the exercise but to scale back the weight to a moderate level.
If we have pain which is dull and aching then the muscle is usually stiff and sore from a previous workout. By utilizing this muscle again, but in a much easier capacity, we are increasing the blood flow to the area, warming the area, increasing flexibility, relieving stiffness, and promoting healing. There’s a reason why they have nurses come in and move the limbs of coma patients. Its to avoid long term muscle damage. So, should you work out? Think about what is making you want to avoid working out, and if it’s pain, think about what kind and then proceed from there. Remember, nothing ever gets better from not moving it.