From American Partisan:
If you have chronic pain or have been out of the gym a long time, build up volume (number of sets x number of reps x weight) slowly. Pick weights you can lift without pain and increase weight and volume in pain-free steps. The great thing about weight training is it allows you to easily control training variables in a safe, measurable, and repeatable manner while building work capacity and strength. If one exercise hurts, substitute for another. For example, if it hurts to back squat, substitute for a front squat….Right now, for example, I’ve built up a bit of pain in my biceps so I’ve substitute pull-ups for chin-ups which seem to take the stress off my biceps due to the weird angle between my upper and lower arms.
Cardio is built-up in a similar manner. If one thing hurts, do something else or do it only within a pain-free time-interval and intensity to prevent pain flare-ups. Develop a large variety of ways of doing cardio rather than do the same thing every day since training benefits heavily from novelty. For example, you can use the assault bike one day, the agility ladder the next, barbell complexes a third day, and agility ladders a fourth day. If you’re very overweight, start with walking.
I would add: Advance work load slowly. It took you years to get out of shape. What’s the rush? Progressing too quickly leads to injuries.
The article recommends a book by Bill Hartman called All Gain No Pain. The numerous five-star reviews (and very few with lesser stars) at Amazon.com seem a bit fishy to me due to over-the-top praise and few details. Do you have an opinion on the book?
Steve Parker, M.D.
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