Should I push on and workout…or rest?

I have had a few nagging injuries lately. Or maybe they are just boo-boos.

My right shoulder takes longer than normal to loosen up and sometimes at night if I sleep wrong on it nags more than usual.

My right elbow has had some sort of tendinitis in it…I think? I have never had tendinitis, that I know of, but this is what I am guessing it feels like. That or “tennis elbow”. When I fully extend my right arm my elbow hurts, ever so briefly, and only at about 170 degrees (assuming I extend to a full 180).

And my knees hurt when I walk up the stairs, sometimes. When I first squat in the early mornings they bark. In fact, they bark so loud that other folks in my class can hear them barking when I add weight.

Are these the sorts of “injuries” that I should rest? Should I not go to the gym and workout for a while? Man, it’s hard for me to even think about that. So I don’t. And I just keep going.

My right shoulder had sort of a numbing pain, really dull and really minor yesterday when I decided to do 10 minutes of every minute, on the minute of a light squat snatch to work on form. By the end of the 10 minutes I was totally pain free. I went to the park with my kids, watched some football and generally didn’t do jack-squat last night and my shoulder was still pain free.

My elbow has been feeling much, much better lately. I am not sure if I hurt it doing zercher squats about 10 days ago or if it was during a brutal Tabata workout that involved pushups and burpees (shoulder in a bad spot which in turn tweaked my elbow?). Last week, for example, as I was driving home from work if I went to reach for something on the passenger’s seat and extended my arm there was noticeable pain. Once extended the pain would go away until I bent my arm again. If It stayed bent, no pain and like I said above, it only hurt when I extended it past 170 degrees or so and then the pain would go away immediately. I spent one afternoon in the box doing everything K-Star recommended for elbow pain in Supple Leopard. K-Star helped for that night, but then the next morning the pain had returned. That pain didn’t keep me from Amanda on Saturday (muscle-ups and snatches) and toes-to-bar last week and a host of other movements that hit my elbow. See, during my workouts there was zero pain – ZERO. No matter how much it might hurt when I wake up in the morning a little grease or something during warmups eliminated the pain. So I kept working out.

My knees feel a lot better when I roll out my IT band. I found that trick when I was running a lot more frequently a few years ago and first found out about rollers and how to use them. But my knees still bark in the mornings. They literally crack and pop when I first put weight on and the front of my knees hurt when I first start warming up in the morning, even with body weight squats. Give them a few minutes and 20 or so squats and they calm down. This morning my first med-ball clean felt like I was going to just not workout today, but in the end I did 150 wall balls during the WOD and never felt a twinge. I figure this is a result of years of horrid squat form, lack of overall squatting, and my heaviness for most of my life. I just continue to focus on good form and trying to get my legs stronger to help support my knees – and rolling out more often.

Here I am, feeling good most of the day, but questioning whether I should workout or take like an entire week off. GASP!!! Did I really just even think about that?

This is the way I look at it: I am getting old. I am 36 years old and unfortunately my joints are probably older since I weighed entirely too much for most of my life and didn’t spend near the time I should have keeping my joints in good shape. As many people say when they get older: “if I had only known then what I know now…”.

This is the age old question in sports of “are you hurt or are you injured?” Injured meaning something is torn or broken and you cannot play on. Hurt is just pain and you can work through it. In my case my pain goes away as my body loosens up. I read more and more from guys like Matt Chan, Chris Spealler and other older CrossFit athletes about the time they spend warming up, cooling down and overall body maintenance versus the time they spend actually getting stronger (or fitter). I think I am in the camp. Well, not really that camp, but I am in a camp that reads about the Matt Chan camp and dreams of living in that camp someday…hell…even living in the same state as that camp.

I am trying to do my best to listen to my body and dial it down or take a break when needed. I generally don’t think the three on, one off concept is something I need to strictly adhere too. There are times when I workout four, five or seven or eight days in a row and I feel great. There are times when I work out two days in a row and feel awful. I just know that little nagging injuries aren’t slowing me down. Too much. Or not yet anyway.

Should I take a rest? Or is this normal for some people?

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