Welcome to article number five in our 5-part series “Bodybuilding
Sins That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts”. In this article we are
going to cover some basic, yet powerful training principles that are
often overlooked and are responsible for nearly all bodybuilding
If you missed the first articles,
you can read them by clicking on the links below.
Here’s a breakdown of the articles
to look for:
Article #5 - Rest, Recovery and Injury Prevention
Many of the injuries that bodybuilders suffer from could be easily
prevented just by allowing the body enough time to rest…
While most bodybuilders dread hearing the word “rest”, many fail
to realize that there is far more to rest than just avoiding
overtraining. When you perform a tough workout you not only stress that
muscle or muscle group, you also place stress on the cardiovascular,
neuromuscular and components of the immune system…
For example, many bodybuilders will train their chest 2-3 times a
week and spend an hour or more performing dozens of exercises just for
While this may sound ok to some, when you add in the stress of
other workouts it can quickly add up to too much stress in one or more
ways. I hear bodybuilders all the time say “I let my body rest by
splitting up my workouts” and “I worked chest yesterday so today I’ll
train my back”… that’s NOT rest!
When you train your back, your chest still gets worked, stressed
and it also slows down your bodies ability to recover from stress and
repair damage from previous workouts…
So don’t kid yourself and think that you can train this way over
the long term… it may take years or just a few weeks, but sooner or
later your body will break down!
Let me give you a real life example from my experience…
I, like nearly every single bodybuilder out there, created muscle
imbalance unknowingly by following the workouts recommended in all the
books, magazines, etc…
I trained 4,5 and sometimes even 6 days a week and thought that I
was resting enough by splitting my workouts… to make a long story
short, after just a few years I had tendonitis in both triceps because
I worked chest, tri’s and shoulder too often, too intensely and didn’t
balance out my training…
I also had lower and middle back pain, knee problems and IT band
tendonitis because my lower body workouts weren’t balanced… I spent too
much time doing heavy squatting, too often and neglected important
These injuries stayed with me for months, years and I still can
have an occasional flare up if I don’t stay consistent with a balanced
training program. I was able to create all this damage by the age of
22… I am now 28 and will have to spend the rest of my life trying to
prevent these old injuries from coming back and causing more pain and
Don’t do what I did! And if you already have, you better act fast
and take a serious look at your training and your goals because if you
don’t, you will spend the rest of your life in pain and frustrated by
all the injuries, big and small.
So here’s my…
5-Step Formula for Quickly Eliminating and Preventing Aches,
Pains and Injuries
Step 1. Rest and Recovery
The first thing you need to do is REST! And no, I don’t mean take
a day or two off… I mean no workouts for at least a week or more… you
need to give your body a chance to reduce the inflammation before you
can begin work on eliminating or correcting the cause of the problem.
You may also want to use things like a heating pad, hot tub or massage
to help reduce the inflammation and speed up the healing and recovery…
Step 2. Identify Muscle Imbalances
The next thing you need to do is find out which muscle imbalances
have created your injury or are causing your pain and work towards
correcting them… you can do this quickly and easily by performing
physical assessments in which you are looking for strength and
flexibility imbalances in all opposing muscle groups.
Step 3. Increase Flexibility in Tight Muscles with Targeted
In order to correct a muscle imbalance, you need to increase the
flexibility and range of motion in the muscles that are too tight and
causing a problem.
As we discussed in the previous articles, you have got to know
what muscles NEED to be stretched before you start stretching. General
stretching may or may not help… it may even make things worse! You have
got to target the right areas and the only way to ensure that you are,
is to do assessments and find out.
Step 4. Strengthen Weak Muscles with Targeted Strength
The other major step in correcting muscle imbalances is to
strengthen the weak muscles that are being overpowered by the strong
and tight opposing muscle(s).
The same is also true for strengthening… you have to make sure
that you choose the right exercises and the only way to know for sure
is thru assessments… don’t use guesswork when choosing exercises!
Step 5. Monitor and Modify Your Program
The key to long term pain relief and injury prevention is to
consistently monitor your progress and adjust your program… for
example, as you work on correcting and preventing muscle imbalances the
strength and flexibility of your muscles will change and therefore, you
must then re-assess and change your program and workouts accordingly.
You will typically see changes in your strength, flexibility and
bio-mechanics in as little as 2-4 weeks so I recommend that you
re-assess yourself at least every 4-6 weeks.
So there you have it… 5 simple steps that you can take right now
to work on eliminating any pain or injuries you currently have AND make
sure you never create any new ones to deal with in the future.
Following these steps will not only help you eliminate aches,
pains and injuries and it will also allow you to train more intensely
and productively to get you the results you want.
Hope you enjoyed and benefited from this article series and we
look forward to hearing of your success.