Adapt to Survive

Darwin’s theory of evolution dictates that the strongest animals survive and adapt to their environments, allowing their offspring to be effective and continually improve as their environment changes.

Humans are by far the best example of this, over our rich history we have developed tools, society, and strategies to overcome the difficulties we may face. This metaphor, however, rambling applies completely to training.

Over the past week of training, I suffered a back injury, not anything new if you follow me I have had back problems for the entirety of my life. But, recently I reaggravated my back during the deadlift portion of my training, specifically RDL’s. Suffering this setback could have led me in a variety of different directions.

But, after consulting with my coach we decided the best way to go forward from this problem is to be patient. We took out the RDL’s changing them to regular conventional deadlifts instead. We decided to add in a de-load from deadlifts and really focus more on squatting as volume in that lift has the most carryover to deadlifts.

I am not sure of the severity of my injury, and I still have a significant amount of pain not only during training but in daily activities. The critical error that most people make when pursuing a sport such as powerlifting, or strength training in general, is not being willing to change.

Obviously, it is important to employ some structure in training as well as, having a consistent routine so that you continue to progress. But, when faced with an issue you have to be willing to change things up to circumvent the problem.

A good example is me from last year. I was in the run up to a local meet in the summer of 2015. I was ramping up my training as I needed a somewhat decent total to reach my goal of qualifying for nationals. So I pushed, one day doing a heavy single deadlift from a 2-inch deficit, I twisted my hip lowering the weight and suffered a pretty severe injury that ultimately took me several weeks to recover from.

After this mistake I didn’t really change anything, I just did fewer deadlifts and continued to go as hard as I could. The end result of this was a sub-par meet performance and ultimately a niggling injury that never really went away.

Now I am a big proponent of not giving up, nevertheless, you have to realise when the issue is insurmountable, the back being central to all of the powerlifting lifts is not something you can easily avoid, therefore, dealing with the problem head on and sacrificing in the short term can help a lot in the long term, especially if you have recurring issues like I do.

Overall, the takeaway from this post is to always push hard, as long as you can do so safely and without sacrificing longevity in the sport. So lift heavy, work hard and remember strength has no limit.

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