Injury and Exercise

So, lately, as I noted on the last podcast with Kevin (Episode 3) I’ve been nursing a strained tricep tendon back to health. I strained it at the gym, when I got the bright idea to move a leg press machine. Even though I got the equipment moved, the sudden shove strained my tendon on my elbow. Definite ouch! This tendon had been acting up a bit before, when I did tricep exercises, but I had always managed to prevent serious strain. Not this time.

Now, instead of giving up the gym and becoming dispirited from inactivity, I’ve just worked around the injury. I think this is quite possible with most injuries, by the way. Total immobilization isn’t necessarily the best way to recover anyway, as most physical therapists will attest. The important thing is to prevent re-injury and activation of pain in the injured area. I’ve learned the hard way just how many times I use my tricep for things, as well as how many times my elbow accidentally comes in contact with surfaces! Just like hitting your funny bone, but without the laughs.

I’ve been making sure to increase my Omega 3 fatty acid intake, which consists of around 8 one-gram capsules a day. That should help deal with the inflammation. As far as the weights go, I’ve been doing various types of flies for chest (dumbbells and machine) and deltoid machines for shoulders (lateral raises). It’s now been over 3 weeks since my injury, and it seems I’m about half-way through the healing process. I’m now able to do very light tricep activation with single stiff-arm pulldowns with the cable machine. This way my tendon can stay in a specific position, as opposed to sliding over the bone with any sort of abduction tri exercise, which causes pain.

And throughout any process of recovery from a tendon injury, it’s best to do super-slow repititions (at least 10 seconds per rep) when weight training. Some trainers swear by this method of resistance training, whether or not you’re recovering from an injury. Since only one set is required for each bodypart, it definitely shortens your workouts (the downside is the higher discomfort from all that lactic acid build-up). Kevin and I mentioned other types of training methods in the book Healthy Mind, Fit Body, btw, including the super-slow routine. It’s worth giving a try, especially if you’re prone to injuries in the weight room. After all, had I tried to move that leg press machine in a super-slow way, I wouldn’t be writing this post!

Good training to you,