Tuesday, December 13, 2011

To Young Body Builders. Injuries Could Do You In by Frank Zane

Avoiding injury becomes more important as you age. Younger bodybuilders, who feel they will be young forever, usually pay little attention to this but often pay dearly (in injuries) in their later years. If you are one of these young turks, learn from those of us who had to gain this knowledge the hard way.

Here is some you should know. Once you develop an injury you will likely get the same injury over and over again. It becomes like a 'fault line' on your body that is prone to cracks. I know this from experience. Because of my hunger to win titles I did excessive forced reps with heavy weights and developed lots of injuries. Resist this urge. You can almost always achieve the same effect by using a lighter weight and going slow on the negatives (the part where you lower the weight). This simulates the effect of a heavier weight.

Remembering the I970s, after teaching school September to June, my training was consistent but contingent on my strength and energy reserves. After school let out I was free to pursue workouts full time with Arnold as training partner, who didn't have to do much work for a living.

I dived into heavy poundages like my peers were using and before long my back and neck were hurting. Living in a Santa Monica apartment 2 blocks from Arnold, he'd drive to my place and give me a vigorous neck/shoulder massage, easing my pain to make it through.

Afterwards I developed a simple guideline. If something hurts, don't do it. I know, I know, even the great Arnold has often said 'no pain, no gain' but take it from me, there are certain kinds of pains you do not need. The 'pain' of rigid discipline is good. The 'pain' of skipping desert is good. The 'pain' of not going out drinking with buddies so you can hit the gym early the next morning is good. The pain of your joint grating as you do a forced rep with excessive weight is extremely harmful!

Heeding this advise will make you much more successful long term. It is ok to be sore a day after intense training but it is not ok to continue doing an exercise that feels painful in the moment.

By Frank Zane. This article first appeared in Frank Zane's Building The Body Quartely and has been republished here with his permission.