On Christmas Eve I decided to do a particularly demanding double kettlebell routine. That shouldn’t sound too shocking as I have been doing my part here, studying up on advanced lifting techniques and following some truly sinister work recommended to me by my colleagues. After nearly the first three weeks of my training cycle, I started to notice some not-so-fun feelings trickling down my left arm. At first, I blew the whole thing off as just the typical muscle soreness that comes with a lot of heavy pressing. I’m a stubborn Burgher, and I don’t generally listen to people when they tell me “Hey! Um, you should really slow down, rest and recover here for a bit!”. I guess that’s always been a struggling point for me, that whole slowing down and resting portion of the fitness lifestyle. Alas, not only did I blow off my pain, I blew off the advice of a number of well known instructors and decided to push my limits Christmas day.
It was a murderous workout. 2 minute non-stop cycle of cleans, see-saw presses, snatches, and jerks. 3 sets with rest set at around 4 minutes between each set. You can bet your butt this was a double kettlebell routine too, as I have fallen in love with all things related to 2 hunks of iron these days. My metabolism was raging and I feasted to my hearts content that Christmas day. But not only would my metabolic rate burst into flames, so would my muscles. I woke up the day after Christmas at 4 am feeling as though my entire left side from the top of my shoulder all the way down to my hip had been bitten by a shark. It was as if I was wading in sea of pain as the jaws of inflammation were taking bite after bite on my body. My entire left arm cycled back and forth from feeling numb to feeling like it was being pierced with a thousand razor sharp teeth. My chest was not any different and as for my left lat …well…need I say more? That excruciating, piercing, stabbing and gnawing pain….my God! It was awful! The pain took my breathe away, literally. I was so sore I could barely take a deep breathe. It hurt to put on clothes, and driving one hour back to Pittsburgh from my parents house that day was arguably the most torturous thing I have endured since the RKC itself. I decided to stop off at Med Express in Greensburg on the way back to see what the eff was up my little Burgher body. Results? Pulled and strained pectoral muscle with an over-strained lat muscle that was tight enough to cause breathing problems and numbness in my arm.
OH MY ACHING….YIKES!!!!!!!!!!
The SOS distress phone call was made to my own RKC coach immediately after my emergency drop in visit to med express. After coming up with a plan to address my muscular skeletal dysfunction with some much needed stretching and mobility work, my coach gave me some much needed advice that I would have to chew and swallow this time. Setting my stubbornness aside, I decided to take my Level II coach’s advice and do nothing but rest and recover for one week. 7 days of nada on the kettlebells. Not. Touching. A. Single. One.
To say that I was unhappy taking a week off from training would be a huge understatement. I was PISSED! I was already mid-way through my training cycle and didn’t want to interrupt my sessions at all. I was also upset because I am an RKC instructor, and I should know better about such things… Meh! Alas, there I was in my apartment taking my first steps on the road to recovery by doing some strategic mobility practices handed off to my by my own instructor. As much as I didn’t want to suck it up initially and take the time off training, I decided to do something I don’t normally do when it comes to these sorts of things.
I decided to be patient.
A funny thing happened on that week off training. Being patient for one week lead to a new personal record as I was able to perform a body weight lift that I had been practicing for months to no avail. Ah ha! Those colleagues of mine were right all along! I suppose I shouldn’t be so impatient and stubborn, which brings me to this weeks theme on the blog.
This week we will be focusing on three types of stretching and release drills that will increase your mobility and get yourself out of serious and debilitating pain. I will be focusing my attention on the pectoral and lat muscles which, come to find, are highly likely to be strained and overstretched if you’re into kettlebells, calisthenics, or olympic weight lifting. We will also be discussing how these stretches work together not to only get yourself out of pain, but to avoid pain all together. Finally, we will wrap everything up with what to expect in terms of your own personal records when you take the time to remain patient through the healing process. It’s all about rest and recovery this week folks! And really, sometimes that’s what we need to break through barriers and unleash our super human potential!
With all that being said, I have a bit of a mental challenge for you all this week. Instead of exercising your chest, your core, your *insert-particular-body-part-here*, I want you to exercise something for your own mental health. I want you all to exercise your patience. Last week we focused a lot on setting the right attitude in order to work diligently towards our fitness goals. Patience truly is a virtue when it comes to fitness, and patience is ever more crucial when you are bouncing back form an injury. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to view your set back/injury as a journey, as a learning experience. You will be much better off when you take the time to heal in the long run. Hell, you’ll even be stronger for it!
We will catch up on Wednesday here on the blog! Stay tuned! And remember, be patient 🙂
Master your instincts!
Janelle Pica, RKC and PMF1 Instructor