bloody shins
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Your Exercise Injury Is Not A Badge of Honor

You know who I’m talking about.
The guy that Instas his dislocated shoulder… #inittowinit.
The girl that posts her scraped up shins… #pride.
Perhaps, a lot of cult-like strength and conditioning disciplines are pushing training and psychology too far toward the extreme… or maybe their clients take it the wrong way when the coaches reassure them that a bruise just means they tried hard. Regardless, something is backward in fitness and the weight room is getting a whole lot of recognition these days for injuries.


Remember when you were a kid? You accumulated all sorts of injuries, ranging from scrapes and contusions to breaks and lacerations. Pain is an evolutionary training tool designed to steer you away from behaviors and environments that aren’t healthy for you. In other words, if you broke your arm falling out of a tree, you either learned to keep a better grip on the branch or to stay the hell away from the tree altogether. Making a mistake didn’t use to be something you could feel proud of. People used to try to hide their mistakes from others.

Fitness professionals toe the line a little. They have to. In order to force your body into adaptation, it needs to be put through stressful situations. Anyone who’s ever tried to hit a new PR in the squat rack or max out your push-up rep-count knows how painful it can get. However, this pain isn’t related to exercise injury, especially if your mechanics are sound.

Enter the new fitness enthusiast. He goes ass-over-teakettle off the plyo box and has a big split shin to prove it. Rather than absorb the stimuli the environment gave him and try to learn from a mistake, he gets back on the box and displays the same pattern of behavior that fortunately only resulted in a cut. This time.

His newfound love for a warrior-like mentality has evolved into exhibiting scorn or disdain for those who don’t share his passion. He’ll also tell you about how cool it was to wear a sling for 8 weeks after trying to sloppily PR his snatch.

It’s not cool.

Flipping the box should have told him that the box was too tall or his jump mechanics were faulty. It didn’t. The dislocated shoulder should be an omen to future problems in his snatch if the weight isn’t properly leveraged. It won’t be.¬†Bloody shins from a deadlift should tell you to get over the bar. It won’t. It’s not a badge of honor. It’s a mistake on full display. An exercise injury should be the least desirable outcome of training. Yet for some reason, injuries have become trendy. It means you worked harder than everyone else. It’s a false sense of superiority. In no other avenue or industry (maybe extreme sports are the exception), is it acceptable to brag about making a mistake. You’d look and feel foolish. Rest assured, if you don’t feel shame or learn a lesson for making a mistake, someone will be in your ear.

Fitness training is supposed to make you better, stronger, faster, healthier. By definition, injuries take you down a peg.

Think about that the next time you grab your phone to Snap your broken pinky.

Coach Runner is the Owner and Director of Sports Performance at Full-Stride Performance. Prior to founding FSP, Runner was formerly the Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Atlanta Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League, a minor league affiliate of the NHL's Boston Bruins. Coach Runner was also the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Husson University Eagles, Graduate Assistant Strength Coach at the University of Maine, and a former collegiate hockey player for Plymouth State University. He earned his Master of Science degree in Kinesiology & Exercise Science from the University of Maine and is recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength & Conditioning Association in addition to numerous other certifications.

1 Comment

  1. you sir are very stupid

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