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Old 12-03-2008, 12:45 PM   #1
Brian Lawyer
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Default Knowing when to rest Joints

At what point should I take a week off to let my joints catch up to my muscles or do I keep fighting through the joint soreness so long as I am still making strength gains on a weekly basis?

There is no traumatic injuries as far as I know. I can still work through it when I get thoroughly warmed up. The pain consists of a general ache in my joints. I've been hitting the gym really hard for about 2 months now doing a hybrid SS and Oly program. I've been going heavy 5 reps or less on everything. As a result, my shoulders, elbows, and hips are starting to get real sore.

I had this problem when I used to train MMA. I trained hard for about 3 months prior to a competition. The soreness in my shoulders and elbows got to a point that I could roll for about a 3 minute round then when the bell rang I could hardly lift my arms they hurt so bad. But then the next round started and I could roll through the pain. It' like the pain is gone when I am working out but quite noticeable in between set's, rounds, or the next morning.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:08 PM   #2
Garrett Smith
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General joint soreness after months of hard training.

I tend to look at adrenal fatigue issues, as in the adrenals are not making enough cortisol/cortisone (the body's strongest anti-inflammatory) to keep you out of discomfort.

I worked with Josh Everett on this (he gave me permission to say this) before last year's CF Games. Obviously something worked. He did say his adrenals were burned out for several weeks after that intense event (his account).

The sign that this is adrenally-related goes hand-in-hand with your account of what happens in your athletic endeavors. Bell rings or set starts, adrenals kick in what they can, you feel better for a little while. You start resting, the pain settles back in.

Strikingly common among CF and MMA types.

I use the Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) test to check if this situation is occurring.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:22 PM   #3
Brian Lawyer
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Originally Posted by Garrett Smith View Post
General joint soreness after months of hard training....I tend to look at adrenal fatigue issues, as in the adrenals are not making enough cortisol/cortisone (the body's strongest anti-inflammatory) to keep you out of discomfort....The sign that this is adrenally-related goes hand-in-hand with your account of what happens in your athletic endeavors. Bell rings or set starts, adrenals kick in what they can, you feel better for a little while. You start resting, the pain settles back in.
Your assessment sounds spot on. I will look into the ASI. What is the treatment? Are you saying this is something I can fix/prevent by getting my adrenals back in balance rather than having to rest for a week or two?

Sounds like something a round of steroids (non-anabolic) may fix... If so, is that good to take steroids to clear up the problem then keep training. I always thought this was my body trying to tell me I should rest before I blow out a shoulder or elbow.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:56 PM   #4
Garrett Smith
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See http://diagnostechs.com/ for their info on the ASI (since it is their test).

This is something that can be fixed and likely prevented in the future, assuming you heed the warning signs.

Corticosteroids (oral) will not fix the problem, they will only cover the symptom of low cortisol.

Resting alone takes a long time to fix a problem of this nature. Giving the body the nutrients that have been depleted, along with adjusting your training, is the answer. I do this quite a bit with patients (who have this issue).
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Old 12-03-2008, 02:09 PM   #5
Brian Lawyer
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Resting alone takes a long time to fix a problem of this nature. Giving the body the nutrients that have been depleted, along with adjusting your training, is the answer. I do this quite a bit with patients (who have this issue).
What nutrients do you find work the best? DHEA, adrenal cortisol extract, licorice are among the ones I am reading about.

I did notice resting doesn't necessarily fix the problem. I generally only work out 3 - 4 days a week which gives me a good 3 - 4 days a week of rest. As a result, I didn't think this was an issue related to overtraining or lack of rest days. That was why I was reluctant to take a week off. After all, it's not like I am doing the 3 days on 1 day off that a lot of programs require.

My diet is good. My wife hates how anal I am about my diet. I loosely follow a zone based diet of 3 meals and 3 snacks, well rounded with good portions of protein and veggies.

Training I think is good. I generally do extensive dynamic movement prep warmup routines as you and I have discussed on other threads. I visit an Olympic lifting coach every couple weeks to work on my form. I am a big fan of cold plunges for recovery. I empty my whole ice bucket in a cold bath then sit in there for 5 or 10 minutes. On my rest days I do stretches and other stuff.

That doesn't leave much left for me to try except look at the nutrient angle. FYI, I have also been on anti-depressants for about 2 years now. I read in one article depression can also be a sympton of the adrenal issue you noted.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:17 PM   #6
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Brian,
I have to make a living somehow, and we'd be getting into medical advice very quickly in this thread. The ASI gives a good general idea of which direction to go with the various nutrients.

The nutrient angle is the direction I would go, yes. Along with making sure various lifestyle issues are addressed as well as possible (ie. sleep, major cutbacks in metcon and sparring/rolling).

Feel free to give my office a call and we can chat, I worked with Josh this way.
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:30 PM   #7
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If you're going really heavy you should take a week or two off (well, keep up your conditioning by doing some light work) or so after every 4-8 weeks.

Otherwise, it does sound like something else is wrong, heh. My other guess would be something inflammatory in your diet like gluten products or just general recovery issues.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:25 PM   #8
Brian Lawyer
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If you're going really heavy you should take a week or two off (well, keep up your conditioning by doing some light work) or so after every 4-8 weeks.
I used to think I needed to stop for a week or two. The thing is I am only following a 3 day hybrid of SS and Oly lifting. So I am getting a solid 4 days of rest each week except sometimes I will do some sprint work. With that many rest days per week I don't think I am overtraining.
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:22 AM   #9
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The body only really has one mechanism for dealing with stress--be it work, exercise, family, bad food, etc.

All of these stress sources tax the recovery systems. It's not likely overtraining, it's under-recovery. This is not necessarily due to your current schedule, but can have accumulated over time...
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