Two of the most important tools that you're not incorporating into your training

For the sake of this post just pretend that Bella is sleeping in this picture.

I feel one of my best accomplishments is having competed at a high level for over 20 years without having had a serious injury. I’ve had some wear and tear now (including needing a partial shoulder replacement from years of cartilage loss), along with autoimmune issues, but technically I’ve never had a serious injury that required surgery. By this point most Powerlifters who have been competing this long have had multiple injuries and surgeries.

Here are a couple of things I always did, and still do, that undoubtedly helped. These may seem obvious, but do you do them?

Warm up-

I’m not talking about sitting around bs’ing with your buddies when you get to the gym. I’m not even talking about your sets leading up to your working sets. I’m also not talking about the mobility work that some lifters spend more time doing than actually lifting. When I searched to try to find articles to support my case, most articles discussed specific exercises to warm up. I’m not talking about that either.

What I’m talking about is an actual cardiovascular warm up. No, I don’t mean you have to do the dreaded “cardio.” That would insinuate at least 15 to 20 minutes. I’m just talking about at least 5 to 10 minutes of walking, biking, the elliptical or whatever you prefer to literally warm your body up and increase your core body temperature. It’s one of the simplest things you could do. Our middle school P.E. teachers had it right when they made us run around the field before we played the sport for that day.

This is simple, but how many of you actually do it? Most, well almost all, of the lifters I see head straight back to the weights as soon as they walk in the door. It may be a little monotonous, but a few minutes could quite possibly save you from weeks or months of dealing with an injury. In the words of the great Nike, Just do it.

Sleep at least 8 hours a night

I swear I remember Arnold say that he slept 10 hours a night in Pumping Iron, but all I could find now is some BS with him saying we should only sleep 6 and should somehow “sleep faster” which doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.

Oh wait, that’s not it.

You break your muscles down while you train, but they rebuild while you sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep to make this happen, well , then it doesn’t.

“Your body produces its own muscle-building hormones while you sleep, including human growth hormone (HGH). During the N3 stage of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep, blood flow to your muscles increases, and tissue growth and repair occurs.

A consistent sleep schedule of seven to nine hours a night (possibly more if you are a competitive athlete) will help the muscle-healing process.”

“It is recommended that weightlifters and athletes get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night to further progress their efforts”

I tried to find a credible source describing the importance of sleep in a Youtube video, but wasn’t able to. Instead you can watch this:

Now you just killed 10 minutes when you could have been warming up.

Train smarter and harder.

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