Well, I just saw another shoulder injury yesterday that was related to the P90X system. My poor patient was a mid-50's businessman whose previous workouts consisted of lifting the Triple-Cheeseburger with Extra Bacon at the local McWendyKings... The P90X System appealed to his sense of going after what you want, he was ready to make some changes in his life, so he bought it and commenced.
He noticed immediate gains in strength and in muscle size (Rule #5). He also noticed a little twinge in his right shoulder, which he promptly ignored and pushed through, violating Rule #4. He stuck to the system as published and even did extra workouts because he was so pumped about his progress (Rule #2). After a few weeks his right shoulder was getting worse; it was hurting during the workouts and aching badly at night, even waking him from sleep.
|Use it Wisely...|
Infuriated at his stupid, girlie shoulder, he came to see me for a quick fix. After three visits of the usual stair-step progression of treatment and investigation, he went for the dreaded MRI of his shoulder. Luckily, he did not have a rotator cuff tear, but the tendons in his shoulder were severely inflamed. Turns out, he had not been resting the shoulder as instructed while we were treating it; he was still "pushing through" the pain. It was at this point, as I was in the middle of giving him the verbal smack-down for being a knuckle-head, when these 5 rules just came out of my mouth. That happens to me sometimes; I'm not sure where this stuff comes from, but I'm not complaining.
Now don't misunderstand me, I think the P90X System is a fine way to get back into shape. It is a little on the aggressive side for my taste, especially for folks who have been sedentary for years, but other than that I think it is fine. It has a very motivated tone which speaks to many professionals who used to be athletes, but who, for the last 20 years, have been scoring mental/business points instead. This person's usual all-or-nothing attitude that has brought success in business, often leads to injury when getting back into shape.
|The Best Lifestyle|
1. You can get back into great shape after 40, you just can't do it all today! I even tell 80-somethings they can become athletes again, but it has to be very slowly; it's gonna take time. Your body is bad out of shape and out of practice and just cannot get to where you want to be in the allotted 30 minute sit-com time-frame. Patience and persistence are what's needed, not blind motivation.
2. You must give your body more time to recover than you did in your teens/twenties. It just takes more time for your body to repair the damage of a workout than it used to. You can get there, but it will take more time and patience than back then. There is no secret supplement or stretch that allows you to break this rule. This is not a thought, or a suggestion, this is a Rule.
|A Good Start...|
4. You CANNOT ignore pain in a joint or tendon like you did in your teens; you have to listen to your body. Pushing through pain is something every former athlete is familiar with. It works a lot more often for teens and twenties than it does for forties/fifties. A little muscle soreness is one thing, but you just cannot ignore pain in a joint or ligament after 40 or you will suffer. That's not to say you should stop, it just means you have to listen to your body and know when to adjust, or ask for help.
5. Muscles respond much quicker to increases in exercise than tendons and ligaments, thus the danger of injury. Imagine a raw piece of meat. The muscle is red, right? That means it has an excellent blood supply. So, after a workout your muscles are engorged with blood bringing healing nutrients, so your muscles recover in a few days. Think of the tendons, what color are they? White; and that means they have a very poor blood supply. Ligaments have such a poor blood supply that we theorize they get some of their nutrition from the fluid in the joint itself. So after a hard workout - which stresses your tendons just as much as your muscles - your poor tendons and ligaments just sit there with their little white self, waiting as the healing nutrition merely trickles in. Thus, your muscles respond, grow and heal much quicker when stressed than do your tendons and ligaments. Ignoring this fact after 40, is a guaranteed injury. After 40, you have to slow down the pace of your increases in both resistance and duration so that these white structures have time to recover as well.
|Helps Muscle Recovery|
I really want you to get back into great shape. There are mirror-reasons for doing this, but more importantly there are the medical-reasons. Just remember, after 40, the limiting step is not how quickly your muscles respond, but how quickly your tendons and ligaments can recover. Now go get busy!