Unfortunately, a lot of us wait until we have aches and pains to decide to start taking care of our bodies outside of the gym, and I am forsure guilty of this. I’m trying to get better!
I’ve been training consistently for about three years, and the more I train, I feel the better I know my own body, and what maintenance I have to do to be able to train five days a week without feeling like the tin man that has gone without oil for way too long.
Lately, I have been hearing “my lower back is bothering me”, or, “I’ve been starting to get some knee pain.” As a gym owner, this is not what I want to hear. I want my clients feeling sore because they push themselves, but by no means do I want them getting injured from overworked, under maintained muscles.
I’ve started to stress booking a regular massage, and some foam rolling, but I am feeling I need to start stressing self-maintenance a little more.
You’re probably thinking, “I’m already taking time out of my day to come to the gym to get healthier/stronger, I don’t have time to do additional work outside gym hours.” The truth is, you are going to have to make time, or you won’t be showing up to the gym because you are so out of whack you couldn’t even think about deadlifting an empty barbell.
If you are one of our members who has been coming maybe once or twice a week, then decided you wanted to increase to maybe four to five days a week, you may be noticing that you are continuously sore, or having the feeling of super tight muscles. The reality is most of our clients are beginners and have a low training age, Ie one year or less, if you started our Southwest Active class with all the weight training, skill work and conditioning sessions you are probably feeling very sore, its because your body is being broken down every day (I could talk about the importance of protein intake here as well for the beginner, we will save that for the nutrition article in the future) and you are most likely under recovering.
Unfortunately, without proper maintenance ie. stretching, mobility, foam rolling, those muscles with eventually get to the point where they no longer want to work for you,tight muscles will start to pull areas of the body away from their intended position and you will start to compensate with other joints or muscles that aren’t intended for the movement you are doing. This will eventually lead to injury or some uncomfortable aches and pains.
I’ll give you myself for an example, I am a “quad dominant” squatter, and I constantly have super tight IT bands, quads and hips. I go for regular deep tissue massages, but that is not enough. If I don’t stretch, foam roll or do any sort of mobility on those tight muscles, they will get so wound up that my pelvis will eventually shift out of place, and you’re probably thinking, “youch” and yes, it is an extremely uncomfortable feeling.
Without doing regular work on my muscles, I wouldn’t be able to hit my five workouts a week with the intensity that I want, I would most definitely stop seeing improvements in my lifts, I wouldn’t be efficient in my conditioning workouts, and my quality of movement wouldn’t be where I wanted it to be. What I’m saying is, if you are not doing regular maintenance to your muscles, you’re almost taking one step forward and one step back, meaning, you aren’t going to progress very much without taking care of your body outside of the gym!
All in all, I want people coming consistently to the gym and feeling good! I definitely do not want people getting injured from training but not doing regular maintenance . So this is my challenge to members who come to Southwest Strength, start taking a little more time out of your day to work on those tight muscles! If you own a foam roller, any kind of hard ball (think tennis ball or baseball) and some floor space, you have no excuses! And I will say that it’s not intended to be a nice relaxing stretch. If you are tight, and you mobilize properly, it should feel pretty sucky. (Maybe this is why people tend to not want to do mobility exercises!)
This post is not to scare any of you away from coming to SWS, rather just be aware that training does add “stress” to your body, unfortunately it takes time for your body to adapt and get used to the training stress you are putting on it. What I recommend is start making an effort to stretch more/mobilize more (checkout mobilitywod.com) and communicate with your coach if certain areas of your body are not “feeling” right or certain movements aren’t feeling like they should, we will make sure to accommodate/adjust you appropriately. Feel free to ask us for any stretching/mobilizing ideas that you can perform outside the gym. We will make a better effort to start incorporating more mobility/post workout stretching in our program as well.
-Sara Harmon, Coach at Southwest Strength