Today I hurt myself while working out. I was doing a one handed pull across my body and felt the muscle in my shoulder twinge. It was near the end of the workout and I finished up, finding that the pain wasn't much and it didn't bother me doing the other exercises. Tonight though, I hurt. I got a massage and tried the hot tub and it is helping... but I hurt.
I know what I did wrong. I have put on a lot of extra weight on that particular exercise because I was just cruising along too easily before, and I haven't got a good rhythm for it yet. Tonight I was being sloppy and jerking the weight around too much instead of maintaining a good slow rhythm.
It is really tempting to do this. I can make more weight go faster if I just move rapidly and jerkily, but then I end up doing this to myself and regretting it. I need to go really slow and steady, and just accept that sometimes this means I won't be able to lift as much or do as many reps. Breaks are ok, and they are far better than hurting myself.
I guess these are the lessons you have to learn over and over. I know how I *should* do this stuff, but sometimes that good form gets lost in the attempt to just get it done already.
Being really consistent about this isn't just a matter of avoiding pain though. It is also a matter of progress. If I want to push harder, get bigger, and raise my numbers, I have to make sure that I don't break myself in the process. Doing so will just slow me down and prevent me getting places. I want this process to make me stronger, tougher, and healthier, not give me injuries I can nurse for the rest of my days!
I remember when I was a kid listening to the stories my dad's friends all told about their various surgeries to recover from football injuries in high school. I vowed that I wouldn't be like those guys, sacrificing their bodies on the altar of entertainment. I avoided football, but I need to keep that example in mind. Lifting weights is a fine exercise, and healthy, as long as I don't get stupid.