By: Duke Armstrong
It was a frigid Monday morning in February. One of those days when all you want to do is stay in bed, but you convince yourself to get up and workout. I warmed up extra-long that day to make sure I didn’t train cold and stiff – to avoid injury. Injury prevention, feeling great, and being fit are my top priorities for fitness. Not the ego lifting that many do at the gym.
Once I got into the workout, I felt great. Strong even. Then without warning, half way through the lift, I heard a pop. Shit! As an athlete, I had heard that all-too-familiar noise. I had torn my biceps muscle. I didn’t want to look. All I could think was – it can’t be that bad. It didn’t hurt too bad…maybe it is a minor tear and I just need some R&R. I put the weight down and took a few deep breaths working up the courage to assess the damage. Then I saw it. My biceps was rolled up like a torn Achilles tendon – a full tear. My eyes started to fog over and I took a knee to prevent myself from passing out. It was bad.
I went to the locker room called my wife and then my doctor. Surgery happened 10 days later.
Fast forward three years.
I had modified my workouts. Focused even more on injury prevention and on lower weights and higher rep counts. I was feeling great. I was in the best shape of my life. Then it happened again – this time to the other arm! Only this time I wasn’t lifting. I jumped up to an Olympic ring and as soon as my fingers wrapped around the ring I heard the same tearing sound. I did it again. Everything, including the surgery.
You start to ask yourself a lot of questions – am I training wrong? Am I overtraining? Is this a genetic defect? How do I prevent it from happening again? Should I stop training?
Pump the breaks, brain! There is no way on earth I won’t train!!!
Unfortunately, shit happens. Injuries happen to athletes. It is part of the process. Once I realized that, the only question I found myself asking was, “how do I train while recovering from the injury?” I mean, I still had two good legs and one good arm after all.
Half mile of weighted lunges – why not!?!
20 minutes of 270lb sled pulls and pushes – why not!?!
My typical workout obviously had to change as I recover from this injury. Instead of using both arms for pull-ups, push-ups and chest presses, I had to figure out what I could do with what I had. Running is out of the question. I had to turn to one armed chest presses and bent over rows, sled pulls with a belt, banded glute bridges, a million lunges; yes, my legs kill. I can hardly walk. But in this season of life this is how it has to be.
We all face set backs in our life. It is going to happen. What separates us is how we respond. How we adapt and learn. For the past 6 weeks I have adapted my workouts to be more leg focused and single arm exercises. And I haven’t lost a step. In fact, I have moved forward. Well, except for my tiny, atrophied left arm! But once I am cleared, the recovery of the left arm will be fast because I have stuck with my training.
So don’t let set backs derail you from your goals. Get back up, adapt, and get back into the gym! After all, what we Live For pushes us to do great things.
LIVE FOR IT.