The Science of Hope

I want to share a personal moment with you guys right now and let you into my world of movement a little bit. Three weeks ago today I injured my self while training. The cause was the result of over training particular movements in conjunction with being overly physically fatigued, sleep deprived, and stressed. Long story short, in the middle of a one-armed push up I pulled my Cremaster muscle (be prepared to see a human scrotum if you visit that link). Being the jack ass male that I am, I even attempted to finish my workout despite the initial pain, and soon brought myself to a painful halt.

The pain of this injury is known to be similar to that of a hernia, which thankfully we don't suspect I have. After accepting how serious and unknown this pain was to me, I sought immediate assistance of my trainer (Z-Health Master Trainer) Zacharia Salazar, who was able to provide much insight of this injury to me. Thankfully he has worked with other athletes who have experienced this before (he's even experienced it himself), and so he was able to help explain my circumstances to me and suggest rehabilitative drills for me to assess on myself, after a required (and practically involuntarily) rest period. I am very grateful and fortunate to be privy to a community of trust worthy, cutting edge professionals who I often seek advice from. As we've always said on this site, everyone needs a coach (I train with Zacharia via Skype).

Today I had my first real "workout" in three weeks.

For the first two weeks post injury I was unable to do anything accept what I needed to to keep working and live. The pain was so debilitating that many times I found my self immediately on the floor. Subtle, explosive movements like coughing and laughing were the most painful, and unfortunately the most frequent. Athletic movements like lifting, climbing, and even brisk walking, were (and some still are) completely impossible for me to perform. 

I want you to understand how painful and discouraging this injury is so that you appreciate the relevance of what happened next.

Less than a week ago I began practicing Z-Health drills for approximately 5-15 minutes a day, 1-2 times day. In Z-Health we use a variety of assessments, and more importantly re-assessments, to determine how relevant, useful, and safe a specific exercise or drill is for an individual to perform based on a positive or negative response witnessed in said (re)assessments. My routine began with very limited and specific mobility drills, and increased in variety and complexity a little bit every day. Over the last couple of days I have spent extra time and attention exploring the "higher order" issues I may have and was able to produce several "high payoff" drills and strategies that have got me feeling much more comfortable moving and decreased my pain dramatically.

This morning I woke up like any other day this week; with slightly less swelling, slightly less pain, and the continued physical reminder that while I was surely getting better, I was still injured and couldn't do jack shit with myself. Tonight however, after practicing my latest drills, I was able to move almost as good as new, pain-free, with confidence and explosiveness. Below is a short video I happened to take during my workout today while playing around with some of my personal drills, active ROM and performance testing, and simply enjoying my newly earned right to move. I've written a sumarative description of my actions in the video underneath it to explain its relevance.

(0:04) - performance assessment, push ups (measuring explosiveness, speed, perceived safety). (0:24) - active ROM assessment, spinal flexion (measuring where fingers reach). (0:40) - "Z-drill", pencil push up in squat w/green tinted shades and green target. (1:15) - active ROM reassessment (improved ROM). (1:25) - performance reassessment (faster, stronger, felt safer performing more reps). (1:46) - active ROM reassessment (ROM is improved again). (1:50) - experiencing happiness over the result.

What does it all mean? Within days and hours I was able to go from crippling pain/limited movement to high levels of pain-free activity/movement. Not only that, but within mere seconds/reps I was able to dramatically improve performance, and am able to effectively reassess how my nervous system responds to various forms of stimuli. This information and ability to assess and reassess is what will continue to help me recover quickly and safely. I can confidently say that soon I will be able to move as I did before this injury, and shortly after that I will surpass my previous levels of strength and movement.

As Z-Health Practitioners, we view movement and training through a neurological lens. By focusing on improving the connection between the brain and body, and through detailed assessment and reassessment, we are able to give hope to ourselves and our clients that they can in fact eliminate pain and achieve the levels of movement they are entitled to. Whether it be a new performance goal or an unexpected injury, every instance is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and find PROVEN solutions to limiting circumstances.

You're going to start to see more of this coming out of the industry, and you're going to see A LOT more of this coming from me. Speaking of which, if you'd like to experience an introduction to this style of training as well learn A LOT about kettlebell training, then you can train with me this January at my Portland(OR.) Kettlebell Essentials Workshop, or catch me at one of my other workshops.

On-line Coaching with me will soon be available as well. LOTS more to come on that soon.

I hope you have all enjoyed learning about my most recent personal experience with injury/training. As always, feel free to join in the conversation by leaving a comment, interacting on Facebook, or contacting me for additional information.

Stay sexy,

Jon Randles