How Injury Can Be Your Friend (how to learn from it)

For better or worse, injury has been my greatest teacher.

I wish it didn't have to be that way, but that's kind of what happens when you combine:

a) huge, wildly unrealistic strength goals
b) living for decades in an environment (domestication) that gives you a stiff, imbalanced, immobile body
c) a total ignorance for progressions and proper rehab

All of these ingredients make for a whopping dose of humility, forced through the vehicle of injury.

Let's use the example of the handstand. I had no concept of how long it took to achieve a skill like this, so I would jump right in and "just going for it."

Then, crrrrrriiick... rrrriipppttt... snap.

Ouch. What just happened?

Not being prepared just happened. Not having the proper mobility, strength, skill, or body awareness happened.

Also, boxes.head-in-box-frustrated

The Problem: You Don't Know What You Don't Know

What I didn't realize then is that aside from not paying any respect to progressions was that I was living in a box.

Yes, I literally worked, lived and slept in a box. We all do.

Look at the room you're in now. Unless you're reading this outside there's a 99% chance you're in a box.

Boxes  aren't the problem so much as what living in boxes does to our bodies.

We move on flat surfaces all the time. We sit on things that are only box shaped -- that is, they are right angled. Everything we interact with is constrained in a very narrow range of motion.

Rarely do we ever reach or move in a range of motion outside the height of our hips to our shoulders. Go ahead and look around. Everything is in this box. Very rarely do you ever have to reach over head or down on the ground.

Boxes keep us moving in predictable ways that inevitably lead to major imbalances.

human in box

But if you don't know that this is happening (like I didn't), and you're relatively young, you might just assume you should be able to move however you want.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it, this will probably lead you down a path of injury sooner or later.

Injury can be your friend (yes, I am serious... your friend)

In my opinion, the sooner you hurt yourself the better, since injury occurring earlier in your life means that you'll be more likely to investigate what caused it. Depending on the type of person you are, this can lead you down a rabbit hole of learning about how your body works, what effects captivity has on the human structure, how to properly rehab yourself and learn smart progressions toward your training goals.statue holding head in hand with bird on it

Injury will either cripple you, or spiral you into a path of inquiry that in time will make you stronger.

It will either be your greatest teacher and a dear friend, or it will be the nemesis you cower and collapse under.

Modern, box living isn't captivity in the true sense of the word. But we are unknowingly being shaped by our environment all the time, through the process of domestication, whether we're aware of it or not.

Let's bring more awareness to just exactly how domestication is making us weaker, and see how we might be able to counteract some of these problems.

In the next post, I'll share with you some of the common weaknesses created by living in boxes, and how we can began to reverse them.


Stay tuned. The journey continues!

P.S. If you get injured enough and you decide to investigate its causes, you'll inevitably find your way back to a few missing elements.

These basic movements are the foundation for strength, mobility and confidence in your body.

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