Last week I deadlifted 155lbs. For some people that’s a warm up, but for me it was significant, because there was a time when I was so wrecked I couldn’t step off a curb without throwing out my hip.
Before my injuries, I’d identified as strong and capable, but the inability to run, jump or lift without pain changed that. The gym, became a source of fear and frustration.
I started to believe I couldn’t do hard workouts without feeling terrible afterwards. The problem was I wanted to do hard workouts, so I started asking questions.
Here’s what I learned.
It’s not that you can’t do the hard workout.
It’s that you might not be ready to do the hard workout, yet.
When it comes to fitness, most of us start our journey in the middle rather than at the beginning. We sprint (with tires over our heads) before we learn to crawl, and because our bodies aren’t prepared for that level of challenge, we hurt.
Additionally, many exercises that are labeled as “basic” or “beginner” are actually quite advanced. Consider the push-up, a staple in most basic fitness programs.
Even if you’re doing a modified one on your knees, you’re still loading a large percentage of your bodyweight onto your arms. If you don’t have strong, stable shoulders (hint: most of us) that weight is going to dump into your wrists and make your wrists hurt.
The solution isn’t to do more push-ups, hoping it will feel easier, while you continue to make your wrists feel worse. Rather, it’s to strengthen your shoulders and pushing muscles, so when you return to the push-up, it feels easier AND your wrists don’t hurt.
The same thing goes for lunges, burpees and pretty much every exercise in existence.
However, a lot of us choose the first option. We do the exercise that feels hard, while in pain, until we’re in so much pain, we can’t do anything anymore.
Crazy, right? If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad. I worked out that way for years.
No one pursues fitness with the intention of hurting themselves. However, we’re so inundated with messaging around “go big, or go home” that it’s no surprise that we end up there, even if we don’t believe it, and even when it stops working for us.
The good news is that there’s another way.
Rather than fight your body, embrace what you can do and start a consistent (and when needed gentle) routine comprised of exercises that don’t hurt.
Then, as you get stronger, progress to more challenging exercises – until one day you’ve progressed so much that you can do the big, hard workout.
Wait? That’s it?!
Yeeeeep. It’s the least sexy advice advice in the world, but it’s true.
Today, I’m stronger than I ever was before my injuries. However, my road back to fitness didn’t start lunges, deadlifts and workouts named after horror movies #insanity
It started lying on a mat doing heel slides, pelvic tilts and exercises that really didn’t look like fitness at all, until one day it did.
I’m not a unicorn. I’ve seen this process help a lot of people, from uber beginners to super fit people trying to get back to their intense workouts without pain.
And if you’re where I was a few years ago and unable to do hard workouts yet, I created the beginner version of Hips Don’t Lie with you in mind.
It’s a gentle + effective way to troubleshoot hurty hips, increase flexibility, reduce tension and build hip strength AND it’s been reviewed by a physical therapist, so you know it’s legit 😉
Want to know more? Get all the details + sign up here.