Recently, I was approached by a few members who asked me to write an article about being sore versus being injured. This topic was actually on the top of my list...so here we go!
Sidenote: This would best be discussed by Dr. Jaime Gold, but I'll give it my best. ;) I have a plethora of information and experiences regarding both being sore and injured! LOL!
Being sore...what can I say? We all get sore from our daily wods. High repetitions, coming back from vacation, coming back from the shutdown, coming back from just about anything. Mostly our legs, right? After a nasty squat wod, such as Cindy, or the other day with the 45 wallballs per round, or two Saturdays ago with all the squat cleans. I hear it every week, "What is Paul doing to us? I can't walk!". LOL. Makes me laugh. But hey, I hear ya. I can't walk correctly at least once a week from being sore either!
So we all know what being sore feels like. It limits our range of motion for sure. It just hurts too much to hit that deep squat in warmup after coming off of a hard squat wod a day or two before. I get it. Being sore is NOT being injured. Our muscle fibers were broken down in the wod, and they are being repaired and growing back stronger. This is what we want. The process is painful. But hey, we know it works!
Should we work through this soreness? Like should we come in after that crazy squat wod, and do more squats when our legs are still super sore? I think it all depends. I have done low rep and moderate weight lifts when being super sore. But I haven't added a ton of volume. That wouldn't be wise, and Paul certainly doesn't program that way. He usually programs rowing, running, or DU after crushing the legs. He uses terms like "let's flush those legs out, and they will feel better" and there is truth to that! What he means is, let's create some blood flow, in a safe, unloaded manner. Blood flow will heal broken down tissue faster. So yeah, it works!
Are there times when we should avoid all exercise because we are so sore? Other than maybe our first week of ever doing CrossFit, I don't believe so. As you all know by now, I have changed any and all wods on a daily basis for our members. If we can't do it, we do something else. But let's keep moving, always. Barring injury of course.
Annnnnnd that brings us to injury. I will talk only from experience here. I have sustained many injuries over the years. Some from overtraining, some during competition, some from lack of warming up properly, and some just from bad luck. You should not "work through" injury. Many of us have tried. I am guilty. I have had shoulder flare ups, tendonitis, and instead of resting and healing, I think I can rip off a bunch of muscle ups, get the blood going, and all will be fine. NOT! The result is a couple months of chronic tendonitis and multiple sessions with Jaime, and missing out on the gymnastics that I love. We should not, and must not, work the injured part of the body, until it is safe to do so. When is it safe? Pain free and full range of motion is my motto, and it has worked well for me. The best analogy I can think of is this. If we hurt ourselves, and only give it a couple days, and think we are ready to go hard again, we are "ripping the scab off" again and again. Meaning, we haven't let it heal properly, so we re-injure it over and over again. Just like ripping a scab makes us bleed worse every time we do it.
If you think you are injured...talk to me. Tendonitis is super common in what we do, shoulder and knee specifically. Sore lower backs, probably the second most common spot. Talk to me. We can still work out, and we should! Movement heals the body! However, we need to do it right, and avoid making the injury worse.
Side rant here, bear with me. I can't count the number of times a person joins the box and they have a pre-existing injury or condition, and about a week later they cancel because their doctor said they "Should not do CrossFit". Guys, this infuriates me. Like I see red every time I hear it. And it's often. In essence, their doctor is saying they should not exercise. What doctor would ever say this? Trust me, it is so common. My off the cuff smart ass comment is, "You need a new doctor!". The professional CrossFit coach that I am takes a different tact. Some doctors don't understand how scalable CF is. It is a strength and conditioning program that adopts the cross training method. It is my belief that EVERYONE should do CrossFit. But yes, everyone should work within their limitations, but also work to improve them. And of course communication is key. We, as your coaches, need to know what is going on so that we can scale accordingly and also point you in the right direction to decrease any deficit you might have due to injury or condition. And this is what I implore members to tell their doctors. I do want to commend the NSU medical students that we have at our box. They view exercise as crucial and key to health and fitness. And I have spoken with many about this topic. It is refreshing to know they will go out into the medical world and represent CF as an integral part of staying healthy
Ok, lastly, and also the tricky part. Can soreness LEAD to injury?
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, yes, I believe it can. You see, when we are super sore, we sometimes cannot go through the full range of motion of an exercise. So we either shorten the movement, or more commonly, we execute the movement with improper form. What comes to mind? Deadlifting, with sore AF legs. If we cannot get into the setup of a deadlift, or clean, or snatch, properly, then we will pull that weight off the ground with our back, and only our back. We will not engage our legs, or more specifically our glutes and hamstrings. Our back will take the load, and depending on the person, some things can go very wrong.
So yes, I do believe soreness can lead to injury. So listen to your body. It's easy. We know where we hurt. We feel it when we roll out of bed. LOL. And talk to your coach. Always. Tell us. I LOVE scaling for people. It's smart and it's safe. Too sore to bend over? No problem, hang cleans for you! Too sore to bench? No problem, let's pull! Too sore to do burpees? F off, do ten. LOLOLOL. Gotcha!
Ok, that's all I got for you this week. I hope you enjoyed it!
Till next time, stay off social media for a couple hours, take a nap, and tell someone you love them.