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Q & A With Randy Herring - Injuries & Recuperation.

Find out about how to avoid CTS, what teh R.I.C.E. method is, how to take care of joint problems and why recovery is so important in a training program!

Click Here For Part 1 - Nutrition
Part 2 - Training

Part 4 - Training Tips & Traveling Nutrition

    I am a female and just spent 6 months training through a TFC tear of my right wrist from bicep hammer curls. I had treated it like a sprain until I lost all the integrity in my wrist. I spent the time off work at the gym, lost 18 lbs, and dropped my body fat from 27.5 to 20%. I'm ready now to do some serious training and have the all systems go from the doc. What can you tell me?

Providing suggestions in sports medicine topics associated with muscle, tendon, or cartilage tears is not my area of expertise. What you should or could do in regard to your question is suggested below. Injuries occur for one reason in the gym: carelessness.

When injuries occur associated with joint pain, minor muscle pulls, severe muscle strains or tendon discomfort use the R.I.C.E. method to keep swelling under control and speed healing. R = Rest. I = Ice. C = Compression. E = Elevation. Rest is the obvious start of the healing process. Ice the injured area. Apply the 15-ON and 45-OFF system to help heal the injured part. Ice the injured area for 15 minutes.

At first it'll hurt and your skin will become numb as a result of the cold. That's normal. While the ice is applied the injured area should be compressed and elevated. After 15 minutes take a break for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes is up ice the injured area again for another 15 minutes. If you religiously follow R.I.C.E. for a couple of days, you'll find that swelling should be minimal and soon be back in the gym training both hard and heavy.

I have had my share of injuries - all from lifting in the gym; either going too heavy to quick, too few reps or by forcing my joints in a position where they didn't want to be for weeks on end. My injuries were not serious where I had to receive medical attention, unlike Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex or TFC tear. Of all my injuries incurred were nursed back to health by either training through them or not using them at all when training (training half my body using one-arm rowing or dumbbell movements).

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS is a painful condition that can afflict bodybuilders and powerlifters. CTS is caused by the medium nerve on the palm side of the wrist being repeatedly and frequently compressed. Because weightlifters use their hands and wrists extensively, they often exhibit traditional CTS symptoms.

To Avoid CTS You Can Do Two Things:

  1. Not jerking your wrists while lifting
  2. Scheduling your workouts so you don't overwork your hands or wrists.

If this fails and you start developing symptoms of CTS you might need some inflammatory medication from a doctor.

If you sense pain doing hammer curls then forget them. Start getting back into condition with machines (if your wrist is still fragile). Use weight that is moderate that builds muscle as well as endurance. Do 3 sets of an exercise in reverse pyramid fashion. Modify rep range to 10, 12, 14.

For any "pushing" movements place your thumb on the outside of the bar or handles for your grip. This will help alleviate pressure off the wrist. Do this also when (if you are able) doing bicep exercises. You must keep your wrist stabilized at all times. No twisting or turning. But for dipping with the body or on a dipping assisted machine place your thumb on the inside of the bars. This will help stabilize the wrist, the body, and take pressure off the wrists.

Apparently you've been training for some time. Choosing a routine that can seriously get you back into shape quicker while allowing more rest periods (which you need because of your TFC) is needed. So I would suggest the 2-ON, 1-OFF Advanced routine. There are no set days. Because your schedule is flexible so you must also.

    Both of my shoulder joints have become very sore. I quit lifting for two months and re-examined my form. I felt great but the day I started lifting again the pain resumed and seems worse than before. I would like to work through this. Any suggestions?

From what info you have given me your form must be greatly improved. Safety first for the joints and tendons then work the muscle. Joint problems in the shoulder can be caused not only by improper form but constant pounding of heavy lifting. Re-examine your form and weights used when doing these exercises (in order of severity):

  1. Decline Bench Press - View Exercise
  2. Inclined Bench Press - View Exercise
  3. Bench Press - View Exercise
  4. Bar Dips - View Exercise
  5. Military Press - View Exercise

    I like cycling. When I started lifting I was 135 pounds. I started training shorter and more intensely last summer and gained like twenty pounds but now seem to be stuck. What would you suggest I do?

Running or cycling for 30 minutes or more 3 times a week is great aerobic activity. However, gains can come to a halt should you be forgetting the third phase of and the actual window of opportunity for building muscle: recuperation. Running or cycling could be stealing your energy away for making muscular gains that is solely based on the recovery process: rests between sets, immediately after your workout, and especially 48-72 hours after exercise. To keep making muscular gains cut back on your aerobic activity and reserve that energy for the recovery process.

Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it is simply transferred. Therefore, limit running to 15-20 minutes and cycling 20-30 minutes or more a day three times a week.

Racewalking at a brisk speed of 4.0-5.0 mph (6.4-8.0 kph) for 10-20 minutes is an excellent aerobic activity. Researches have indicated that those who racewalk at a 12-minute mile (maintaining a pace of 5.0 or above) saw fitness gains similar to those of joggers. Racewalking is easy on the joints and an excellent activity for developing speed and strength in your hamstrings.

    I increased my training intensity but have not noticed any gains in the past month or two. I am following a 5-6 small frequent meal regimen plan religiously. Why have my gains stopped?

Either you are using too many advanced techniques in your training, dipping your fat intake too low, or not allowing your body the sufficient rest it needs to recover from the high-intensity training. If you are using advanced training techniques, especially forced reps, negatives, and training to failure stop! Time is a factor of high-intensity training (rule number 2). Regardless of which routine you use 3 sets of each exercise should take 7 minutes. That is, unless you are not working half your body then switching to the other half like you would do on standing leg curls or dumbbell exercises for biceps or back. Allow 10 minutes on these.

You might be in an over-training state because of utilizing advanced techniques too much and too often, despite your good eating habits. Gains can also stop due to the amount of stress in your life and how you manage it in your life. Take a week or two off from training to allow your body to catch up with itself.

The body knows how to take care of itself more than you do. Learn to listen to your body's warning signals for not wanting to do what you want it to do! Rest may be the only thing you need for the body to "bounce back" and finally be able to supercompensate. The quicker recuperative ability you have after your workout the quicker strength and muscle gains will come. Focus on your post-workout meal regimen. If you still feel exhausted after 2-4 hours of training something needs to be evaluated and changed.

    Why is it that advanced routines are suggested for those having worked out for 1 to 2 years. It seems that the extra rest between each session is just as important for beginners & intermediates as it would be for advanced trainees.

Rest time is all about intensity - how much you can push yourself to your limits and allow enough time for the muscle to recover and get bigger. The more intense you are the more rest you need. Rarely a beginner is too intense because they are still learning the motion and how to train hard. You cannot run first before you can walk.

It's all about coordination and muscular contraction. Most beginners cannot grasp the intensity of advanced trainees because they lack the know-how and experience. Like anything else, intensity is a learning process. Give yourself time and be patient. Choose a routine that best suits your experience first.

Click Here For Part 1 - Nutrition
Part 2 - Training

Part 4 - Training Tips & Traveling Nutrition