Knowing When To Stop

Good ol’ Dirty Harry with some sage words.

Yesterday afternoon, I went into my gym knowing it was going to be a tough workout. I was reaching close to my failure point on some lifts, and I knew that I was likely going to reach failure in that workout. That made me push harder, because I hate failing at anything. I started the workout, as usual, with Squats. I felt good, and did well, so I was confident about getting past what I knew was going to be a tough set. I also wasn’t going to accept defeat. What that led to was me pushing past a limit I shouldn’t have pushed past on the very last lift of the very last set of 5 Overhead Presses. On that lift, I felt a tinge of pain in my left shoulder blade. It wasn’t a sharp pain; it was more a soreness than a pain, but I felt it and knew I’d hurt myself.

My workout on Monday.

After the Overhead Press, I still had Deadlifts to do, and I got through those without any issues at all (although, in looking at my post-lifting videos, I could tell I was distracted by the shoulder and didn’t have my back arched properly during my deadlifts; I dodged another injury bullet there!). I then went out for a two-mile run which went very well and was actually quite enjoyable.

Then, after my shower and some rest, the pain kicked in. Still, not a sharp pain, but the kind of pain you get when you have a crick in your neck. Only mine is in the Rhomboid region on my left shoulder. So, I took some Ibuprofin and massaged it with a hard pillow as I watched some TV with Sherry.

I was able to get through the night without difficulty, and when I awoke, while my shoulder was sore, I wasn’t stiff. I ate breakfast, took some more Ibuprofin, and now I feel pretty okay as long as I don’t make sudden movements with my neck. That leads me to believe that I have a level 1 strain of the Rhomboid which means I have to take it easy on that shoulder for a week, at least. I will still do my other exercises and runs, but at the end of this week, I will skip the overhead press and repeat my Wednesday workout.

I am also de-loading on Overhead Press and Barbell Row. Those two exercises have me at or near my limits, and I learned a valuable lesson in weightlifting yesterday; when you feel like you’re at your limit, STOP. I’m going to reduce my weights on those two exercises by 15% and start again. I’m still able to get through the Squats, Bench Presses, and Deadlifts just fine for now. I’m getting close to a limit on the three, but I figure I can go another week or two before I reach that limit and de-load.

Lesson learned the hard way (is there any other way?). Now I know to listen to my body more, and to not push past any signs or messages I’m receiving. As I get older, I have to remember to not push as hard as I used to be able to. Not only do I break easier, but it takes longer to heal. In this case, don’t be like me; stop when it gets too hard.

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