Thursday, January 23, 2014

Prehab and rehab - excerpt from Strength, Life, Legacy

First off, let me be VERY CLEAR about this chapter. I am going to talk about the things I have done to rehab from more than 2 decades of fucking myself up. Things that worked for me. This is for educational purposes only.

I recommend that any and all injuries be taken to the care of a certified medical specialist first.


If you lift long enough, you’re going to have injuries. The degree as to which you injure yourself will vary. It could be a slight train to a muscle tear to a tendon tear. No matter what, eventually everyone gets nicked up.
After 20+ years of doing bad and awful things to myself, I have compiled quite the list of injuries. Some of which could have been avoided, some not. Either way, I thought it might be beneficial for others to learn from my mistakes, and the things I did to come back from them, and correct them.

Some rules I use about rehab in general

• Do not rehab it while it’s still very painful. I wouldn’t start actually working it until
the pain had subsided enough to allow for a decent range of motion or SOME
movement. This is a theme in all of my rehab work. Let the pain and swelling go
down before any of it is started. The body will do some healing on its own. I made
sure the pain was manageable when I would start my rehab.
• I always use some anti-inflammatory to help. Ibuprofen is my mainstay. Aspirin is
good too.
• If I injured myself on a movement, like squats, then I generally use that movement
plus a secondary movement to rehab with. For the secondary movement, if
possible, I like for it to include a stretch or mobility portion. If I tweaked my pec
on benching, I would go back to benching light once the pain subsided, and I
would add in flyes for really high reps. Some injuries require more stuff, like the
adductors. With those it was squats, adductor machine, and lunges.
• I have always found that compressing the injury most of the day seemed to help
recovery as well. Especially if it’s very severe.
• I honestly never noticed a difference in recovery time if I iced a bunch, or didn’t. Just
an observation.
• I try to train the injured area as often as possible once I am able to train it (the pain is
manageable). Doing something every day for it is the norm. I figure the more often I
ask it to work, the faster the body will make it able to.
• Just because the pain is gone doesn’t mean it’s healed. This is probably the biggest
lesson I learned. And the hardest to learn. After the pain is gone, you feel good
again and start pushing. Then low and behold, bam, it happens again. My general
principle now is once I have a training session with zero pain and
for two more weeks minimum. The area is still weak and still not 100%. It’s just not
hurting anymore. In two weeks, start a plan then to progress in weights again. That
means you’re still not going to be moving anything heavy for another 8 weeks (6
weeks after the two weeks is up).
• Sometimes you just have to leave something alone for a while. I’ve rehabbing the
shit out of injuries at times to no avail. Only to just say screw it, leave it alone, and
it get better over time. If you have been rehabbing an injury for months on end with
zero progress, sometimes just leaving it alone for a while and doing things that don’t
hurt can be the best solution.


  1. Last point resonates well with my experience: sometimes you gotta leave shit alone.

  2. I remember you once mentioning how you fucked up your elbows with too heavy skullscrushers back in the day. Not recommended to keep elbows pain-free in the long term?

    1. Yeah I don't do em now. Terrible for the elbows.