T Nation

what is going on

OK heres the deal. It seems like everytime i’ve gone into the gym the last couple of weeks I come out with a new injury or a little tweak here and there or something along those lines. What the hell is wrong with me. TOday for instance the left side of my neck and trap is like one big cramp. Im I over worked? Whats Up?

When was the last time you took some time off or lowered your volume?

Not knowing anything other than the symptoms - It sounds like you could use a week off.

I would take at least one week off from all training. Also, if you have been done low reps, maybe go higher reps when you go back. That way there will be less stress on the body. You should also stretch the tight muscles as well as strengthen the weak ones. Do you have rounded shoulders, arched low back, anterior pelvic tilt etc etc etc? Have you had previous injuries in the past that your body has compenasted for?

Also, look carefully at your technique, from speed of movement (you may need to train slower and not use momentum) to posture, to using the right muscles (if that makes sense) e.g. complete rowing movements with scapula retraction and arms at end rom simulataneously.

You’re probably using more weight than your body can handle, which if done consistently can lead to injury. What you can try is taking a week off or taking off a large load and focusing on technique. You could also try to figure out which specific exercise causes problems and avoid it for a while. ie. avoid exercise that could aggravate it. BTW I don’t think a cramp is an injury as such hehe

Sorry for not suggesting everything in one post (I get thinking about something and then go off on a tangent). But do you do lots of compound/power exercises such as squats, deadlifts, rows, chins etc? If so, then you might want to eliminate (or at least lessen) them and do some more accessory exercises such as curls, flyes, toe raises etc. And what about sport? If you play sport then the more you play the less time you should spend in the gym. How many sets are you doing? How often do you train? etc etc etc. MOre info in your post would be great.

It could be overtraining and are warming up? Try making sure you drink enough water tahts all i can really give you input on.

Do you warm up? When was the last time you took at least a week off? How long are your workouts? How often? Do you take ZMA?

I agree with everyone else lower the load greatly or take a week off. Also how’s your diet and rest? You might check it also.

it wasn’t so much a cramp. More like a throbbing shooting pain that just was doggin the hell outta me. YEs i do indeed do a lot of compound movements. Various rows and presses on my back and chest day.

OK. My body responds to high volume training. I typically do AT least 16 sets per body part and at the most like 25. I know, I know. You guys are gonna sya “Thats too much!” So, what should i drop it down to set wise. Diet is fine by the way. Im eating what i normally eat if not more. I took a week off 2 weeks ago. So process this info and HELP ME!

OK, well. . .16-25 sets per BODY PART??!? Please tell me you only do one “body part” per workout.

First possibility I can think of is basically what everyone else is saying: your body is rebelling against your training intensity. You say your body “responds well” to your training, but training responses don’t last forever, right?

Also, training for performance and training for safety/rehab are two different things. Training for high performance generally increases risk of injury. There are ways to make it safer, and thank goodness T-mag is publishing articles about this, but still.

Another possibility is motor control errors that lead to injuries. These errors can be caused by lifting too much weight, but they can also happen because the motor control system is impaired from a previous injury.

Why don’t you list all your injured body parts, in chronological order? Maybe an expert like Eric Cressey will spot a common postural cause.

Cut your sets or become a confirmed masochist.

Oh man you posters just wasted your time on a guy who does 16 to 25 sets per body part…whahahahhaa.

ZEB I know its alot but it works for me. I’ve done every rep/set scheme there is and this is what gives me the best results


I am all for doing what works and throwing the Coaches advice out the window if it runs contrary.

However, it seems to me that what you are doing might not be working all that well for you long term. You are, after all, posting about all of your chronic injuries, are you not?

i guess so. so what do you suggest ZEB? I want to get my ass healthy and back lifting as soon as possible. When i go back in the gym though i think im going to lighten it up in terms of volume. What would be ideal for me, in terms of a weight regimen, to keep me lean and tight but with a lower volume in terms of sets


I look at most things in a “cost benefit” fashion. If you are doing 25 sets per body part the “Cost”, potential injury, far exceeds any potential “benefit.” Make sense?

I look at sets from the law of diminishing returns. The first set, done properly gives you about 50% of all the benefit that you are ever going to get from that particular movement. The second set will give you an additional 25%. Third set another 121/2%. Fourth set 61/4%. You now have a total of 93.75% of all the benefit that you are going to get on that day from that particular movement after four sets. Do you want to do a fifth set? You get about a 31/8% more benefit which brings you up to almost 97%. Does it actually make much sense to do more sets than this?

(There are exceptions to this rule relative to strength endurance training where many more sets are employed).

I know this is probably a unique way of looking at it, but I feel it is correct.

The second thing that I like to do is related to “economy of motion.” Why grab a barbell and strat doing barbell curls for the biceps? I can do Chin-ups and work my biceps even better, and also hit the Lats, forearms and other supporting muscle groups. Why do Barbell Shrugs for the Traps? I can Deadlift and hit the traps even better and also hit the lower back, grip and other supporting muscles. If you spend :40 seconds working an isolation movement and an equal amount of time doing a compound movement which makes more sense to do?

You with me on this? I like things to not only make sense, but to be efficient as well! Do as many sets as it makes sense to do. If you do more than you need to do what is the reason? Especially in light of the fact that this can cause injury and burn out, (which seems to be your current problem). Why work the small muscle groups by themselves? There are better exercises which work both the small and large muscle groups.

Maybe you will get some good ideas from this post. Maybe you will blow it off. Either way I gave you my best advice and something that I have adhered to for a long, long time!

Train smart, train hard, train forever!

Good post Zeb.