I generally do my workouts by myself in the gym in my basement. It's a perfect fit for me with my busy schedule since I can have complete freedom with my workouts. There, I can crank the music I like up, grunt, yell, take my shirt off, and even use chalk (all the globo-gym users just gasped in unison). But what I don't have is a spotter, so when performing an exercise like the deadlift, I have to rely on my body and mental cues to make sure my form is spot on. However, sometimes I get distracted. Sometimes I am wrong...
No matter how much education or experience you have with lifting, you get it wrong sometimes. Your mind wanders during the lift, a sound distracts you, your ego shouts, "You don't need to do all those warm-up sets!". So that was the perfect storm that led to my recent deadlift debacle. I was doing a 5x5 approach with them, warming up with 4 sets of 5 reps while gradually increasing the weight. The 5th and final set was to be my actual heavy work set. I had just completed heavy 5x5 squats, and this was the peak of my workout... the last hard push before I settled into sets of hip thrusts and front squats to round everything out.
I approached the bar with all the mental cues going through my head... bar over the midpoint of the foot, lats in my front pockets, thoracic extension, tight back, core and glutes, push through the heels... breathe in and PULL!!! But something distracted me... I wasn't tight, and I looked down at my feet. This caused my hips to rise too fast, and left my low back to do all the heavy lifting in a compromised position. As the bar moved past my knees and up my quads I felt the dreaded pull and pain in my low back and hips, and I knew what waited for me the next few days. I hobbled up the stairs with no hope of returning to finish my workout. It wasn't too bad I told myself, but any of you that have had back issues know that the initial injury is by far not the worst part.
The next day was excruciatingly painful, and I felt so old hobbling in and out of the car. Today, as I write this, started off much the same. That was when I bit the bullet and went for my "old faithful'. In my bag for work I carry lots of odds and ends, and one of those happens to be a bright yellow lacrosse ball I purchased from Academy. It has helped me many times with stiff quads, tight hamstrings, and sciatic pain from knotted legs and glutes.
My lacrosse ball and I definitely have a love-hate relationship. I hate using it, but love the results. The trigger point release the ball gives is both painful and relaxing- a "good" pain if you will. So I pulled the ball out, and rolled out my left hip, psoas, glute, and piriformis muscles right on my office floor. Good thing I come in early and no one's here at 5:30 am - otherwise they would have thought I was having a seizure! After about 5 minutes of self-myofascial release using the ball, I felt much better. Not perfect.... but better and WAY less stiff.
So learn from my experience... when you are lifting, be in the moment. Every part of you should be focused on what you are doing right then in that instant. Forget Facebook, forget what's for dinner, and tune out that noise you just heard in the next room. WARM UP!!!! Age is cruel, and the older you get the more important a thorough pre-workout warm-up routine is to your longevity and health. Double-check your mental cues, get tight, and lift right...
And if you do do something wrong, there's always the lacrosse ball...
GET STRONGER - RUN FASTER - PLAY HARDER - BE BETTER!
Iron Mike Hard Corps Strength and Conditioning