• Making Gains Through Injury



      by Matt Meinrod Iron Magazine

      If thereís one thing I know well, itís how to train through an injury. Iíve gone through a full ankle reconstruction, ACL/MCL knee repair, and ruptured pec that left me black and blue from the chest to waist. Did those injuries set me back? Yeah. A little, but they didnít keep me from training. And they certainly didnít keep me from making gains. Fortunately, most of my injuries happened in my early 20ís when the learning curve for healing is at its peak. The most devastating injury I ever endured was a dislocated ankle. It dates back to my senior year in college, playing football at Florida State. A fumble behind the line of scrimmage lead to a pile up. When the dust cleared my ankle was rotated 180 degrees the wrong direction. My season and ultimately my career, was effectively over.

      The injury occurred on a Saturday afternoon and by Monday I was in the operating room getting cut on for 3+ hours. The doctors gave me a 3-4 month recovery time and another 6 months before I would be back full steam to workouts and training. As it turned out, I was back in the gym exactly one week after surgery. Granted, I was on crutches and non-weight bearing, but I knew I had to get back to training.

      In the first phase of training, I knew it had to be heavy, single leg movements for my healthy leg and basic dumbbell work for my upper body. For my money, thereís nothing better than dumbbell lifts to not only build brutal strength, but maintain coordination and maximum muscle contraction. On one leg, most of the work I was doing was flat and incline bench press; one arm dumbbell rows and lateral raises; factor in single leg bodyweight squats and heavy one legged leg-press and I was on my way to not only maintaining, but crushing my healthy body parts.

      The end result had me back and stronger than ever when my doctor gave me clearance to get back to training full speed. Within two weeks I was hitting personal records in both the squat and deadlift. In fact, the deadlift videos can still be seen on YouTube where I hit triples with 700lb and a single of 765lb. Not too shabby for taking 16 weeks off from conventional heavy power movements.

      Normally you would think that a blown out knee would be the other major injury in my life. Unfortunately that isnít the case. With todayís science, they have ACL surgeries down pat. Not only was I lifting at max, but running full speed within 18 weeks from tear to thumbs up. Instead, my full pec tear was the worst set back in my career.

      Like a big dumb idiot, well past any career in professional sports, there I was hitting extremely heavy numbers on bench press. Contrary to popular belief, pec tears can happen on equipment other than flat barbell. I remember the tear like it was yesterday; benching 385lb for a set that was supposed to be for 10 reps. To my left was WWE wrestler Bad Ass Billy Gunn and to my right was professional strongman, Brad ďThe WolverineĒ Dunn. I pulled it off the rack and began to pump out reps. By the time I hit rep 5 I knew something wasnít right. See, two weeks prior I had Ďtweakedí my pec on a set of heavy dumbbell bench presses. I had 150lb in each hand and at rep 9 or 10 I felt a wiggle in my pec. I quickly dumped the weights and said a few, ďmother ****er Ė god damnitsĒ to myself.

      As soon as the bar dropped on rep 6 of 385lb it was curtains. The sound of a t-shirt ripping reverberated through the gym. Billy and Brad ripped the bar off my chest. They knew it and I knew it Ė my pec was toast. Like an idiot, I decided to not see a doctor. I knew it was a pec tear and I absolutely knew that I didnít want to go through a reconstructive surgery that would have me out for 6 months or more. Within three days of the injury my chest, rib cage, biceps, and stomach were black and blue. It was a brutal tear to say the least.

      Like my other injuries I knew I couldnít let this get the best of me. Being as that Iím not a pro athlete or competitive bodybuilder, there was no reason in my mind to take time off of work to get the tendon reattached. Unfortunately, with an injury of this magnitude and not seeking professional help, the outcome is what it is. I knew there was going to be time away from training chest. But what really happened was that I was forced to reevaluate my training on a level I had never done before. Unlike my leg injuries where I could just stop training one leg or the other; this required a lot more strategy to continue being successful and making gains.

      In case you didnít know, your pec muscle is in action in just about everything upper body exercise you can perform. It directly hits your pecs, delts, and triceps and indirectly it acts on the back and biceps. To think you can just avoid your pecs is a major stretch of the truth.

      What happened with me is that it gave me a chance to bring up lagging body parts. Every lifter emphasizes chest from Day 1 in the gym. If thereís one muscle group we can afford to take 3-6 months off from the gym itís chest. Once the pain subsided and I had full range of motion I quickly went back to training back, shoulders, and arms. All of the lagging body parts were finally getting their due. As it turned out, I would need a full 6 months to recover from a non-surgical complete pec tear. What happened? My delts finally started to match my chest. My arms got the long desired attention they needed. And my chest atrophied, but to be honest, it needed the rest.

      Without all of my major injuries I never would have learned about my body the way I did. It made me stretch my creative training brain and think outside of the box to continue pushing new boundaries while hurt. From my view of the gym, the worst thing you can do when life gives you a setback is to stay out of the gym. Stay the course, even if itís not what youíre accustomed to. Once you get back to full speed youíll be better than ever!

      Source: http://www.ironmagazine.com/2014/wor...-making-gains/
      Comments 14 Comments
      1. lexmuscle's Avatar
        lexmuscle -
        Wow, what a moron. Keep on f-cking yourself up buddy, sounds like you're a pro.
      1. mountainman33's Avatar
        mountainman33 -
        "Stay the course, even if it’s not what you’re accustomed to. Once you get back to full speed you’ll be better than ever!"

        Is he just assuming we're going to get hurt as often and as badly as him?
      1. LB_Patriot's Avatar
        LB_Patriot -
        @ Lexmuscle: At least the guy is giving other people his life experience of what not to do; Paying it forward. Maybe someone will read this and then change the way they train to prevent these injuries happening to themselves. And I'm sure your the next Mr. O....
      1. sanguine's Avatar
        sanguine -
        Completely torn tendons dont reattach themselves non surgically...
      1. lexmuscle's Avatar
        lexmuscle -
        Originally Posted by LB_Patriot View Post
        @ Lexmuscle: At least the guy is giving other people his life experience of what not to do; Paying it forward. Maybe someone will read this and then change the way they train to prevent these injuries happening to themselves. And I'm sure your the next Mr. O....
        Never said I was the next Mr. O, but I'm sure as sh-t a HELL of a lot closer than you are ya punk ass dwarf. Obviously this guy doesn't know when to give his muscles, tendons, and ligaments time to heal after injury. He'll be having loads of fun dealing with that sh-t in 10 years.. Injuries take will power and patience to recuperate, and building up muscle around areas that will not heal without surgery will eventually end in a lot of pain and difficulty further down the road. Best to get it fixed while young and able to heal completely.
      1. lexmuscle's Avatar
        lexmuscle -
        Originally Posted by sanguine View Post
        Completely torn tendons dont reattach themselves non surgically...
        Exactly
      1. compudog's Avatar
        compudog -
        A pec is a muscle, not a tendon. I think pec tears are pretty common for guys benching real heavy, 385 for 15 reps is monster, I can crank out 300, for 1 rep...

        This is encouraging to read. Injuries are a part of lifting there's no way around it, which is why I guess they say an average lifter's career is 6 months; that's probably the length of time it takes to get your first injury that's not just DOMS. So it's important to learn how to train around/with injuries. I read something like this an my own aches and pains don't seem so serious in comparison.
      1. sanguine's Avatar
        sanguine -
        Originally Posted by compudog View Post
        A pec is a muscle, not a tendon. I think pec tears are pretty common for guys benching real heavy, 385 for 15 reps is monster, I can crank out 300, for 1 rep...
        Yes I know the pec is a muscle, but from the article:
        "there was no reason in my mind to take time off of work to get the tendon reattached"

        So your saying he is mistaken and that what he thinks is a torn tendon was just a muscle tear? either way this guy's training and writing are questionable
      1. compudog's Avatar
        compudog -
        Originally Posted by sanguine View Post
        Yes I know the pec is a muscle, but from the article:
        "there was no reason in my mind to take time off of work to get the tendon reattached"

        So your saying he is mistaken and that what he thinks is a torn tendon was just a muscle tear? either way this guy's training and writing are questionable
        Well, his writing is certainly questionable, or at least, the editing is. His training, well, I don't know. I've been a rock climber for years, there's a saying; "If you don't fall you're not climbing hard enough.", meaning, you're not challenging yourself. Same holds for weight lifting; if you're not challenging yourself there's little point. The downside of that is injury. It's inevitable if you're pushing yourself day in and day out.
      1. LB_Patriot's Avatar
        LB_Patriot -
        Originally Posted by lexmuscle View Post
        Never said I was the next Mr. O, but I'm sure as sh-t a HELL of a lot closer than you are ya punk ass dwarf. Obviously this guy doesn't know when to give his muscles, tendons, and ligaments time to heal after injury. He'll be having loads of fun dealing with that sh-t in 10 years.. Injuries take will power and patience to recuperate, and building up muscle around areas that will not heal without surgery will eventually end in a lot of pain and difficulty further down the road. Best to get it fixed while young and able to heal completely.
        Funny, your making yourself look like the toolbag you are by making degrading comments to others. Simply a Troll in my book. And if your not Mr. O your just another guy looking up to the best. No prize for 2nd place buddy. Keep making yourself feel better about yourself by talking smack to other people on the internet. Internet Toughguy for lack of balls and life.

        Have a nice day
      1. lexmuscle's Avatar
        lexmuscle -
        Originally Posted by LB_Patriot View Post

        Funny, your making yourself look like the toolbag you are by making degrading comments to others. Simply a Troll in my book. And if your not Mr. O your just another guy looking up to the best. No prize for 2nd place buddy. Keep making yourself feel better about yourself by talking smack to other people on the internet. Internet Toughguy for lack of balls and life.

        Have a nice day
        Seriously, there's not a damn thing you can say to me that won't change the fact that you're simply a sheep amongst lions. I don't talk smack on a f-cking internet forum unless a pr-ck such as yourself makes a rude comment. I see you're a new member. Let me ask you, what the f-ck have you contributed to this forum that is worth giving a f-ck about? Any worthwhile information? Helped anyone out lately? Until you've proven yourself otherwise, don't even think about saying one damn negative thing to any member here. I come here for answers, and I come here to give answers. If you're butthurt, feel free to respond. If not, go about your business and please be a worthwhile member in the future.
      1. LB_Patriot's Avatar
        LB_Patriot -
        Originally Posted by lexmuscle View Post
        Seriously, there's not a damn thing you can say to me that won't change the fact that you're simply a sheep amongst lions. I don't talk smack on a f-cking internet forum unless a pr-ck such as yourself makes a rude comment. I see you're a new member. Let me ask you, what the f-ck have you contributed to this forum that is worth giving a f-ck about? Any worthwhile information? Helped anyone out lately? Until you've proven yourself otherwise, don't even think about saying one damn negative thing to any member here. I come here for answers, and I come here to give answers. If you're butthurt, feel free to respond. If not, go about your business and please be a worthwhile member in the future.
        Youve accomplished jacksht in life, so keep having fun on the internet, I like real life success.

        Again, have a nice day,

        Say what you will, im done commenting on your classless comments.
      1. lexmuscle's Avatar
        lexmuscle -
        Originally Posted by LB_Patriot View Post

        Youve accomplished jacksht in life, so keep having fun on the internet, I like real life success.

        Again, have a nice day,

        Say what you will, im done commenting on your classless comments.
        You've proven my point.
      1. LB_Patriot's Avatar
        LB_Patriot -
        T00L

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