Backing Off for Bigger Gains

Yesterday was a milestone for me. I've shared a bit about the rotator cuff injury that I've been recovering from. What you don't know is that it happened just as I got my mojo back to start lifting again. My over-enthusiasm caused me to push it a bit too hard during the CrossFit classes that I was doing at the time (I've since decided that repetitive training is not for me). Those repetitive movements and bag form brought out the instability in my shoulder and led to shoulder impingement. Unfortunately, many coaches in these gyms just aren't trained in how to modify the exercises in the WODs to account for injury, and address movement issues at the level that I needed. This was the case in my situation, and so I decided that I needed to move on. What's the good of community if you can't participate in it, or it just continues to lead to pain?

I got pretty down because It just didn't seem fair - I just wanted to start training again and to feel strong an powerful like my core tells me that I am. So even though my self-talk was trying to lead me astray, I decided to do what I knew has an injury recovery coach that I needed to do - step back, rest and rehab, and analyze and correct the movement patterns that led to the injury. I returned to my weightlifting coach, Jackie at Pinnacle Weightlifting and put together a proper technique program, which meant dropping my training weight WAY down.

I added in more movement and corrective exercise into my day, subbing it for the exercises that were causing more damage. And I watched the slow progress. And yesterday I realized that I was ready to push a bit more. I'm back to lifting the weight that I started at for clean during my last competition. And it feels good. I'm still progressing my clean, and I'm still a long ways away from where I hope to get, but I am pain-free and strong. And I know that this path will safely bring me to some amazing competitions and just more play options. But I'll tell you what won't change - my corrective and movement work. It might not be as prevalent as it was during my initial recovery, but it has to stay as a part of prevention.

My point is that I see this so often - we continue to push ourselves forward instead of listening to the signals from our bodies tells us to step back. What we don't realize is that when we ignore the messages to "Push Through It" and take the time to actually figure out what's causing the pain (because you know by now that it's often not simply where you're feeling the pain) we clear the path for even bigger gains and progress in our training - whatever that goal is.

So where do you start? The first steps is discovering what movement patterns are at the root of your pain and start working on them. Step back and stop doing what's causing damage and bring in the exercises to correct them. Then, work with someone to help you integrate the activities and training that keep you sane into your recovery so you don't feel like you're losing it all. Eventually, it becomes just a part of your plan, even as you shift back to your performance training.

So how do you get started?

One way is to simply start to pay attention to how you are moving. Are you spending most of your day on activities in front of you? Are you spending time moving behind you? What about your head? Can you look behind you without bringing your entire body with you? Is your training confined to the sagittal plane, or are you training in 3-D?

I need to give you a video on this and I will do this - I promise. But, if you're ready to learn more now and start exploring your movement, then I encourage you to join me for my Whole Body Movement workshop in Denver on March 30th.  We'll be breaking down our movements, discovering our sticky spots, and learning exercises that help us free them and start moving better.

OK, that's it for today. 🙂 Let me know what movement or injury issues that I can help you with right now! Shoot me an email or comment below.


I'm starting up some live Q&A opportunities where you can let me know about the issues that are keeping you from play, and we'll work through some solutions together. The only hitch is that they will be streamed live on social media and available to watch later. It's a great way to get some free coaching and help others who are suffering from similar issues. Interested? Email me and let me know!

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