Excuses exercise

September 16, 2010

Work through the pain!

Kids who played sports in my day were often told this and many of us still subscribe to it, even as we age.

And if you’re like me, you’re prone to little aches and pains, especially if you work out regularly. Soreness, little muscle pulls, a twinge in the lower back.

My aging body doesn’t always work smoothly any more.

If left to my own devices, I’d probably stop after I felt a twinge. And that’s not a bad idea if you’re not working with a knowledgeable trainer. But then, I’d probably use it as an excuse to not do anything more that day. Or maybe even that week.

Bad idea.

I’m lucky. I have a trainer who knows physiology. I’m pretty good at reporting the first twinge of something, because I know that my muscles do not spring back easily at this age. If I report an ache or pain or strain, he doesn’t tell me to stop. Not completely. He simply modifies the move to take the pressure off (usually) my back.

The other day I was doing boxing crunches. Here’s how they work:

Knees bent. Feet on the floor. Trainer kneeling on them to hold them in place. He’s holding training gloves. I have boxing gloves on. Sit up and punch left, right then down. Left, right, then down. 30 times.

Hard, right? But they work. I have a love-hate relationship with them.

Anyway, we usually don’t do them two consecutive days but the other day we did. Partway through the first set I noticed a dull ache in my left lower back. He had me stop, show him where. Did we stop crunching? Nope. He simply modified it to a lifted leg/cross at ankles crunch, which took pressure off my back but gave my abs the same benefit.

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