The MONSTER GARAGE GYM/MAROSCHER COACHING LOG is a weekly Coaching Log by MGG owner, 2-Time WPC World Powerlifting Champion, Eric Maroscher, and is geared to the new to intermediate powerlifter. LIVE, LEARN and PASS ON.

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THIS WEEK’S Monster Garage Gym/Maroscher Coaching Log: IRON RESOLVE-ARE YOU FACING SURGERY???


This Week’s Coaching Log:
The day is coming, your surgery date is set, you are going under the knife and it is going to impact your training. When you are having surgery to put something back on that you ripped off, or to clean up something that has been worn out, or for something else, the bottom line is you hope for the best because unlike controlling your training, your surgery is something someone else will be controlling.  That said, you do have some locus of control.

When I blew a bicep, I shopped around for “the” surgeon and after a good deal of research and phone interviews, I interviewed in person, four different surgeons. When I meet with them I showed them a video of what I did, because you can say you powerlift but until they see the bar loaded with 700LBS being pulled off the ground and the actual torque you are going to be putting on the to-be-repaired tendon, they won’t get it. I recall showing all four the same footage. The first surgeon flat out declined wanting to do the surgery. Two said they could repair the tendon but said it would just pop off again, but the fourth was like Goldilocks, he was just right. He got all excited as the prospect of repairing this detachment and started to draw out the plan right then in there on that big sheet of paper that is found on the doctor’s examining chair you get examined on.

First he wanted to examine my arm, my tendon and he started probing my muscle and biceps tendon on my good arm with his thumbs. I was surprised as clearly my right biceps tendon was the blown one as it was black and blue from the bicep down to my wrist. Turns out, he was feeling how my tendon should feel as he was pondering the strategy. Long, long story short, he asked what I wanted out of this surgery and I said, I want my lifestyle back, I want to be able to deadlift heavy and for my repaired tendon not to rupture again. He said he could do that and developed a plan to not “staple down” the detached tendon, but to drill a hole in one of the bones, and the tendon would go into that hole, where the bone would eventually heal around that tendon and biologically secure it into place in addition to all the surgical measures that would be keeping it in place until that biological healing had come to fruition. He talked to me about how the tendon would be shorter than it was pre-detachment, as it would not be so much reattached onto the bone (as the risk of detachment would be there due to the load that was going to be placed on the tendon), but now, embedded into the bone. He discussed how the tendon's tensile strength would actually be increased due to their being less tendon length. He let me know the rehab to get to the point where I could straighten my arm would be difficult as the tendon was going to be shorter. I was all in, and this was the guy.

That was some 16-17 years ago, and although other things have been beaten up, torn down and popped off, that biceps tendon has held up. I recall my surgeon saying, “God makes you for functionality, I am repairing you for durability.” The moral of the story is that the shopping trips for "the" surgeon was the part of the this issue I could control, as I could not control the work being done while I was to be laying on the operating table.

I think we all have heard stories of someone we know getting injured, and getting repaired by the local surgeon because he or she is, well, local. Most people when they go to buy a pair of shoes try on several pairs, walk around in them, look at them on that odd little shoe mirror on the floor, then make the purchase. And that vetting process is just for a pair of shoes! Shopping for someone who potentially is going to give you back your powerlifting lifestyle, or conversely, rob you of it, that is a task to be taken seriously.

Will all surgical outcomes be like the one I am describing, no, because not all surgeries nor injuries nor doctors are the same, not all bodies heal the same way, not all variables can be accounted for and predicted, and not every athlete has the iron resolve to get back to where they were and then go beyond that. Post injury is a mentally challenging time because the fear of re-injury must be faced and looked past.

What is the constant is your ability to try and find the best surgeon for your specific situation. That might require a trip out of your local area, or out of your state, or like with Ed THE GOAT Coan’s hip surgery, a trip to another country. If you want to maintain your lifting lifestyle, know that there are a ton of variables you have no control over, but getting the best surgical care is something you can control, should that need arise.

The accompanying video is of WPC World Powerlifting Champion, Steve Brocks surgical recovery. His story starts hereThis video captures in 120 seconds, the difference of the past 20 weeks of work Steve put into his rehab AFTER taking time and choosing a surgeon he was sure could do the best job helping him to get back to attaining his powerlifting goals.  Steve picked a great surgeon, but after that, it was/is his iron resolve and dedication to the rehab and rebuilding his near 800LB bench, starting with a hollow pvc pipe and small stretching movements.

Injuries are going to happen. If you train, seriously train, it is inevitable. The injury might not require surgery and that is great. However, if it does, put in at least as much time searching for the right surgeon as you do on your training. Ultimately, it might not make a difference, but then again, it might make all the difference in the world.

Wishing all of our weekly coaching log readers the best in your training and competitions. Ever Onward, Eric Maroscher, Owner: MONSTER GARAGE GYM

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