When you are a high school and college kid (as I once was) you feel invincible. Muscles ache, but heal quickly. If you break a bone, you heal faster than someone in their 30’s, etc. etc…
As you age, shit catches up to you.
I’ve played collision sports a large portion of my life. I didn’t spend time in the gym lifting weights as much as I did in practice or playing. My body has felt blunt force trauma on many occasions…
- Sophomore year in high school going head to head (literally) with another player at full speed in FB
- Getting powerbombed by two tacklers at a rugby match on a very hard, dry ground
- Diving head first to snag a line drive and meeting the knee of the other player as he was trying for the same ball
- Throwing my back out doing strongman contests
- Tearing my hamstring sumo pulling close to 700 pounds in the gym years ago
- Getting cut in half (felt like) by a superleague player from Old Blue from out of nowhere
The list goes on… but those are ones I actually remember.
I’m 38 now, I can’t do what I used to do. I am stronger all around than I ever was, but I can’t go out on a pitch and play a game anymore. Rugby is the ONE sport I love the most and I had to give it up because the day after was unbearable to deal with. I avoided major injuries through my entire sports career and it was only a matter of time before something bad happened.
This applies to lifting as well. There are a host of impressive young lifters in the game now. 18-25 year old kids shattering records, lifting what grown ass men used to and changing the iron game as we know it by combining brute strength with impressive physiques. Is it too much too soon?
It is known that you reach your “peak” in strength in your 30’s…. or so it seems with the new breed. Is that fact or is that being re-written?
One think that goes through my mind is that they have to be able to move when they are older. I know there are times when my knee feels like a knife went through it. There are times that my back feels stiff as a board and pulling any serious weight seems impossible. Now I am NOT that bad off, I can still run, just not like I used to and I am a shade more mobile than a table… but I have my days.
Lifting has the same effect on the body as collision sports. Its stress… if you do not take the time to be sensible about the various factors that go into participating in a high-physical-stress field, you will pay the price. Those factors are rest, preventative treatment, proper rehab, rest properly when injured, don’t “play” hurt.
I know how I was as a kid, I was gung ho… I played a rugby match with a busted ankle. I taped it up like a cast and popped two Vicodin to get rid of the pain. When the tape came off it swelled up like a fat woman eating a funnel cake dipped in chocolate. Not a good thing…
I don’t care if the younger lifters are drug free or not, this is not the point. I personally feel that anyone injecting or popping shit before they are fully grown, or mature, is fucking stupid. There isn’t ANY point to rushing your body’s natural progress while you are a kid… at all…. why throw a wrench into your natural hormonal cycle if you don’t have to? If you have a medical need, sure…. if you want to pull 800 pounds at 21… FUCK no. Wait until you are fully mature so you don’t fuck your shit up for good.
The point is this…. the younger generation is stronger, bigger, faster and more mature that MY generation was at their age. Learn our lessons, learn when to back off, when to rest, when to rehab. Learn how to take care of your body so that when you get to be our age, you are still able to perform at a high rate, be able to move around without pain and be able to look back with pride at what you did and are still able to do.
At the end of the day, the victories are temporary. Trophies get stored in the attic and there is a new breed coming in who is more than ready to take over the spot you left behind. Then you have to live your life away from your chosen sport/hobby. Do you want to live it in pain, or live it relatively pain free?
Most of us will choose pain free… take the precautions now to ensure that.
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