Listen to your body. All of us have heard this before. Most of us have also ignored the wisdom of that phrase. I did recently and thankfully it didn't cost me a large amount of time off from training.
Lat Saturday I experienced some tendonitis while doing some very heavy squats. I powered through the workout, came home and iced the elbow. I continued lifting all week. At one point I had the pain even after taking 3 Advil. Like an idiot, I kept at it–until today.
As I hit the gym today,i wore an elbow brace and took some Advil. I was determined to complete my sets of squats at 340 lbs. After the first set I could feel that familiar feeling cropping up. I was determined to get through it. I managed to finish the squats, but was in such pain that I couldn't complete the rest of my workout. Now, as I sit here writing this article, I am heating my shoulder (which also began to hurt today). What will I do next?
I am taking at least one week off lifting effective immediately. I will get in a ton of extra cardio training during this break. I need to listen to this old body and not lift at all. I've gained a ton of strength since the start of the year. Taking time off won't hurt the process as much as getting a major injury. My body is obviously unhappy with my training right now.
What can you learn from this? Don't push through an injury. Be sure to recognize the difference between regular muscle pain and pain from an injury. Take regular time off, but listen to your body if it wants time off sooner than the scheduled time. These things will keep your training moving forward.