Barbell Shrugged

5 ways ways to keep your mental edge through injury

Doug Larson

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  • Hi – I don’t know if the author will read this comment but I want to say how much I appreciate this list. I think that anyone who has gone through a real life-changing, life-halting injury will resonate with these things. I am about 5 months post injury, 3-months post surgery of something that will take a good year to heal completely. I appreciate the focus on self-care, forgiveness, and awareness that you outline above and can only say I am only beginning to scratch the surface of these things. I am trying to use my own journey as a time to reflect and build on skills like resiliency but it’s a daily struggle and challenge. Thanks again for this post and I’m sharing this out~

    • Thank you so much for the kind words Erin . I truly appreciate you taking the time to read and share the article. It’s great to hear how resilient you are and I hope you truly appreciate your own strength.

  • Agreed, GREAT article.

    Anyone serious about lifting / athletics eventually gets hurt.

    This article is helping me right now, as I go through a serious injury.

    I hope more people see this article bc I’ve seen injuries devastate and destroy people bc they didn’t have the right mindset as described in this article, OR, they thrive and go next level by taking the steps in this article.

    Thanks, Chaz!

    • I cant thank you enough for the kind words and for taking the time. Learning from injury is one of the hardest things you can do, but to me it has become a very necessary part of the process. I specialize in working with Trauma Survivors and many of these people suffer not just because of the circumstances of the trauma but because of just how tough and resilient they were. These are people that are so naturally attuned to the needs of others that when something happens that alters their life they are not yet prepared to turn that same compassion and attunement to their own needs. When these same people learn how to turn their strengths inward they become a true force of nature. This is what I see in athletes. Once an athlete becomes attuned with themselves the people around them can feel that strength and they become a true version of themselves.
      Zach, you are a great example of helping people achieve that inner strength and you cannot be thanked enough for what you do for people.


  • Thank you for writing this! I am 4 months out from a broken ankle and rehabbing mentally and physically has been so hard. You touched on some key points, specifically compassion, that really resonated with me. I have been so hard on myself for not healing fast enough. This was a great reminder to pat myself on the back for not giving up. I also believe in the visualization aspect. 2 days after my accident, I was back in the gym, in a wheelchair, watching as my teammates lifting and preparing for competition. Just by surrounding myself with strong lifters has really helped my recovery progress. Anyways, thanks for sharing. You have no idea the positive effective you have on so many of us.

    • Thank you for the kind words. Its very humbling. Hearing about you in a wheelchair just keeping yourself present with your sport really inspires me. As a therapist I am the most in awe of people when they show up for a session even though they know it is not going to be the hour that changes everything. They are there because they care about the work. This is always more impressive than a person looking for a sudden change. You represent the kind of tough individual that shows up because you know that the process of improving is part of who you are not just something you are doing. I have a great admiration for you and your toughness.

      Thank you,

  • Good stuff. I am still recovering from a grade 3 separation shoulder back in early February (mountain bike crash). Struggled big time on the first weeks of injury, as a person that have done sports all my life, this was the longest of me been sideline. Could only think of all the time I was going to “waste” during my recovery and all the time that was going to take me to get back to where I was before the injury. Rushed to start lifting, after 2 months, (been doing crossfit for over 4 years, but definitely couldn’t start crossfitting with my injury, but could start doing some lifts) hit a wall. The pain was still there, more frustration. Then decided to rest another full 6 more weeks. Start hitting the lifts again, finally the pain is about 85%…slowly getting back to my previous PRs, one day at the time, resting and not rushing, leasing it to my body. As a result I started to enjoy lifting more and more (I always like it a lot from my crossfit training days). The injury actually help me recover from another shoulder injury (was never able to fully heal because I never gave my body the rest that it needed, I continue to train with it), I couldn’t snatch for over 10 months.

    Looking back I am thinking more of the positive things that my injury have been able to help me discover than the frustration/painful days. At the end, you will recover, just be patience. Try to enjoy yourself from other activities. Keep a positive mind. Once you are ready, make it a challenge to get even better than before your injury. Happy recovery!

    • Thank you for this Erick. I really appreciate those thoughts. I respect how diverse you are as an athlete, and I bet that has really become one of your strengths. Youre clearly a creative athlete which means you understand the art of the push. Like the rest of us you probably learned the art of the push the hard way. But from what I can tell that is the only way to learn it! I respect anyone who is able to overcome these injuries that last over a year, or linger for years, or re-aggravate. Im glad to hear you kept up with the process!


  • Your community is an inspiration and I thank you for creating such a wonderful place where stories from great people are shared with caring and love. This article hit home for me on so many levels as I have pigheadedly been plowing through 2 nagging injuries, one of which will most likely require surgery (torn meniscus) but strangely has been less limiting than the tendonitis in my right arm. Not the devastating injuries of broken or lost limbs and those individuals have the hearts and minds to inspire the people.

    This article helped confirm the vicious cycles I have gone through mentally and emotionally the last several months. I hid my ailments from my coach, from my wife and family and most importantly, myself. I have finally reached a point of acceptance, to deal with the consequences of treatment in order to physically heal, as I know to continue along my path of health and wellness bumps like these will rear their ugliness from time to time. I understand now an injury does not make me weak or inferior to the many friends in the gym. In fact, adversity of this nature will make me stronger.

    I can’t thank you guys enough for publishing such inspirational content and your podcasts are incredible. I have listened to so many of them and frankly many of them multiple times. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    @Chris – publish another book please.

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