Blair Morrison: Dealing With An Injury

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Blair Morrison, CrossFit Games veteran and owner of CrossFit Anywhere has sage advice for athletes tempted to “push through” an injury.

Blair Morrison: Dealing With An Injury
As much as we’d like it to be otherwise, our bodies are perishable items.

It is pretty common to describe impressive athletes as machines or beasts, but they are not. Olympic biathletes are the same mix of blood, bone, and tissue as everybody else; subject to the same wear and tear, susceptible to the same bumps, bruises, and breakdowns. Similarly, the most elite CrossFitter’s body and psyche wilts under heavy stress just like yours or mine, albeit at a seemingly much slower rate.

I don’t see too many people PR’ing from the rehab room.
The point is, everyone has limits. While pushing them is necessary to progress, ignoring them will put you on the shelf more often than not. And I don’t see too many people PR’ing from the rehab room.

I was reminded of my limits the other night. I was doing weighted dips, and at some point during my 4th set I felt a twinge in my right shoulder.

I shook my arm a little, rotated the joint forward and back, massaged the area (doing all those “clinical” tests that determine whether an injury is serious or not…) and prepared to get back on the bars.

Trying to do the first repetition, I could feel things still weren’t quite right. The pain wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t have continued, but it was awkward enough to make me think twice. This was the critical moment where so many people lose their natural capacity for rational thought and decide to just “work through it.”

Don't just "work through it"
Thankfully, I decided to call it a night rather than pushing my luck. It was frustrating, annoying, and I didn’t want to do it, but it was the right thing to do. After leaving the gym, it started to tighten up and I could tell that I had definitely strained the muscle to some degree.

If I had stayed and continued with the program I had set out to do, things could very easily have gotten worse. As it is, I rested last night, rested today, and it is starting to feel better already.

It was a pretty simple decision that is easy to justify on a number of levels. The question is, why is this so hard to do for so many people? I have a few theories.

All too often, people convince themselves that every day not working is a day wasted.
First, there is the hourglass phenomenon. All too often, people convince themselves that every day not working is a day wasted; as if the realization of their ultimate physical potential depends most urgently upon the number of training days they check off the calendar. Training programs become planned to the point that one is so mentally invested in the process of squeezing everything in that he cannot bring himself to walk away from a bad physical situation.

This is so blatantly illogical that a profound ignorance/imposed blindness of physiology is the only explanation. To quote one of my dearest friends and teammates, “you have to rest to progress.” It is trite, but true.

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