What if your workout wasn’t your workout?
Remember, your workout was causing you debilitating pain. It stopped your favorite activities. It wasn’t a matter of IF but WHEN it would force you to stop doing what you loved.
So you took it upon yourself to stop it before it got too bad, evaluate the landscape and come up with a new plan for success forward.
In a very general sense, as we cannot attend to every joint in the human body specifically, it looks like this:
- Narrow down precisely what hurts when and doing what.
- This might be easy or it might be incredibly elusive (hint: that’s what expert trainers are for!)
- Once you have it narrowed down, you start from absolute square 1
- Since we have been talking about knees, we’ll focus on knees
- Chances are it doesn’t hurt just sitting around. That would be…well…extra bad. It hurts when you move it, use it or you have consequences the following day. Your goal is to find a range of motion that DOES NOT HURT AT ALL and use that
- We have the foundation of your new workout.
Imagine this – you run 5 miles. It hurts at mile 2. Endorphins take over, you push through. You head home, ice it, throw back a couple of your favorite NSAIDS and go on your way. The next day you have the predictable aches and pains.
Well, it didn’t hurt on Step 1 out the door, did it?
So you can certainly walk. That’s good.
But walking won’t be the load that allows you to find the specific intersection of growth-inducing-load without crossing into the zings of pain.
But there are tricks that you can employ.
Did you know that walking backwards is actually an ally in knee pain recovery?
Walking backwards as part of your warmup can produce the necessary blood flow and appropriate resistance to ensure your patellar tendon (one of the likely manifestations of knee pain) doesn’t show up. You run your whole 5 miles pain free! Happy day!
But it might not be that easy, there are other things.
Did you know that the anterior tibialis is one of your greatest allies in preventing future knee pain?
Strengthening the front muscle of your shin is the key way to increase your ability to decelerate the force that occurs when you heel strikes the ground, which cascades into a knee forward position and a huge portion of your weight is now hanging out directly on that same tendon.
Stronger anterior tib, less force that the knee must absorb.
This chain goes on and on. For every pain, there is cause. For every cause it can be traced to either weakness or lack of flexibility or, most often, both.
For every instance of weakness, there is a strength cure.
For every instance of inflexibility, there is a mobility standard to work towards.
Your new workout is making up for lost time. It is treating every rep of a tib raise with the same intensity as your squats. It is taking the time in your warmup just like you take time for the run itself. It is putting in the reps on your elephant walks with the same ego-centric focus (you use Strava….right?) as you put in on your mileage this week.
The payoff if when you correct for your weakest links to improve the net efficacy of the whole system.
We use all the right analogies and metaphors in our work-life to describe exactly what is happening in the body
“The weak link in the chain”
“Synergy within the system”
“Supply chain disruptions”
And all of that industry jargon we likely throw around without a second thought.
Your hamstrings are the weak link.
Your hips and your knees have no synergy.
Your anterior tib is given no attention and it cannot supply the units of force needed to allow your knee to stay healthy
The final part we will talk about how to maintain this mindset for life.