One of the biggest problems we face in our wanting to train hardcore every single day is the accumulating effect that this ultimately takes on our body. When you push yourself each day to do more, to train a little harder, to lift a few more pounds or to endure just a little bit more pain, you are asking your body to go above and beyond what it wants to naturally do and this overuse can in turn cause unwanted daily aches and pains. Some will say that this just goes with the territory and you just have to suck it up, which in essence is what you’re going to end up doing, but an educated approach to doing so should be your underlying thought process. There will be times when complete rest is necessary to bring down inflammation and to get things back to normal, but prior to that, try the following strategies that could help keep you training around the aches and pains commonly associated with being a bodybuilder.
Avoid Movements that Hurt
This should come to many of you as common sense, but unfortunately, some would rather fight through the pain within an exercise that has always promised growth versus abandoning it in fear of losing gains. When you encounter an exercise that causes you pain and discomfort to the point that it is interfering with your mind to muscle connection and your pump, simply move on to something else. Even if you have always experienced success with a certain exercise, if it’s starting to cause you grief, just find other exercises that will provide you a safer and more effective stimulus for growth.
Change the Angle
Often times the angle at which you perform an exercise is the root of your immediate pain or the reason you are sore in that area in the hours outside of the gym. Your structure is unique to you and the equipment and exercises that are commonly used in the gym have been designed with a “one size fits all” approach. So what that means is what you are seeing others doing, may not necessarily benefit you. In this case, all you have to do to train around the pain is change up your angles. If a 45-degree setting on incline bench presses hurts your shoulders, lower it to 30 degrees. If the preacher bench causes discomfort in your biceps tendon, spin around and use the other side of the bench that would normally be facing your body and perform your curls in that position. Your angle game is not only important when taking photos, but also when avoiding pain.
Modify your Grip
Your grasp on training starts with your grip. How you manipulate the weights and handles that you hold onto when training can have a significant impact on the stress and strain on joints and tendons. The best piece of advice I can give you here is if you feel immediate discomfort as soon as you take grip, then don’t execute the lift. That initial discomfort will lead to eventual unwanted aches and pains later on down the road if not acute injury on the spot. Your movements should be smooth and feel as natural as possible so that you know you’re working with your structure and not against it and many times this can be solved with a simple manipulation of your grip.
My final thought on the common aches and pains of being a bodybuilder and figuring out how to work around them is that most times your discomfort isn’t the result of what you’re doing in the gym but rather what you’re doing outside of the gym. For instance, lower back pain is commonly associated with an improper gait, yet we look at it as a result of heavy squats and dead lifts (which can add to it). However, if you make it a point to wear a great pair of shoes in and out of the gym, you might just help the pain subside. Heyday Footwear’s Super Freak is a great option for doing this as it makes going from the street to the gym extremely convenient and may alleviate some of the aches and pains that are holding you back in your training.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.