Injuries and Identities


It’s unfortunate that we experience injuries as often as we do in weightlifting. However, that is part of the game, isn’t it? If you’re training hard, inevitably you WILL have tweaks you need to overcome; some small, some large. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule; there are always one or two that have the capacity to handle as much training as there are hours in the day (ok, maybe a bit of an exaggeration).

Identity Issues?

Any time we participate in an activity that we enjoy for a good amount of time, we seem to develop ourselves around this activity; we develop this persona, or identity, for ourselves. Hence, “I’m a weightlifter,” or “I’m a powerlifter,” or whatever you “are.” This can be good, or bad, depending on how much your thought and actions revolve around this identity. Of course, the higher the level of competition, the more time is spent in this persona, and the less time is spent experiencing other areas of life. Hey, I’m not on either side here; I’m just presenting the material. Don’t shoot the messenger 🙂

Believe me, I lived and breathed weightlifting years ago and have written many, many articles on the topic. But, like me, many weightlifters have had to overcome many injuries time-and-again, only to work back to their old numbers before a new problem persists to bring them down again. It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle for some of us. All-the-while this identity changes; it loses its original form. We do what we can to piece it back together, but long layoffs from the platform degrade the feeling and make it almost impossible to come back feeling like the same lifters we once were. Wait? If we can’t train hard, we’re not weightlifters anymore, right? We’ve all felt this way and it totally sucks.

New Light

Hold up! I know, this seems like a sob post but that is not my intention, so listen closely! We are not the lifters we once were because we are better! We’re smarter every time we come back from an injury. That is, as long as we heed what the causes were and how to avoid them in the future. Ask yourself some of the following: What did I do to cause this injury? Was there something missing in my program? Did I neglect certain muscles that may have become weak and caused imbalances? Did I neglect some basic movement patterns only to do more of another, also causing imbalances in development? Answering these and thinking on what has occurred will help to prevent the same issue from coming up again.

Just make sure you refrain from training the same as you did when the latest injury occurred. After all, as framed by Einstein, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Train smarter AND harder, not just harder!

Do any of you ever feel this way? If so, what have you done to overcome your feelings and injuries to get back to training hard?


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