As I was going through my rehab for a torn ligament in my ankle the other day, I got to thinking about how long I had been powerlifting for and what my future in this sport might look like. I’ve been lifting for almost 6 years now, but it hasn’t been without its ups and downs. I have hypermobility, which means that my joints easily move beyond the normal range. While I don’t have it as bad as some people I know, it does still cause me issues.
Over the past 6 years I’ve had minor surgery on my right hip and my left wrist. I may yet need surgery on my left ankle. These issues came about because I didn’t fully understand my condition, and I stupidly focused on getting certain numbers, not on having pretty lifts. I trained through pain and often told myself to “toughen up.” Since then I have become wiser and am now working towards pretty lifts. Although I am not there yet (I tend to end up doing silly things and hurting myself when I’m on a roll, like falling down stairs) I know that with my newfound dedication to technique my quality of life has improved drastically because my hypermobility is more manageable. Better technique = gains, which means more muscle, which leads to sturdier joints and less pain.
So why am I sharing some of my lifting story with you? Well, I had a conversation with one of our Valkyries last week about being in it for the “long haul.” This Valkyrie is relatively new to strength sports and she intends to stick around for a while. Because of her dedication to her training and her natural strength, we are expecting big things in her future. She had been suffering from some ongoing issues that were not necessarily preventing her from training, but they were making it difficult. We had a chat while she was training and after talking about her problem she came to her own conclusion that she intends to be “in it (strength sports) for the long haul” and that she’d seek help now before doing more damage. I was so proud of her for coming to this conclusion on her own – this was a lesson that I took years to learn!
And so, the point of my story is twofold. One: strength sports are great at helping you live your best life. It’s no secret that the health benefits of lifting weights for men and women, but especially women, are numerous. I know that my own hypermobility is far more manageable when I am training (despite encounters with stairs) and therefore my quality of life is significantly better. And two: when you’re hurting, and it’s not a good hurt, it’s a good idea to talk through what you’re feeling with someone that has been doing this for a while, because we understand what you’re going through and can be that little voice of reason that says “stop now, get it looked at, work towards pretty lifts”. I can guarantee that you’ll still get stronger, even if it takes a little bit more time.
If you’re interested in joining our supportive community of women with years of combined experience in strength sports, VALHALLA Valkyries, please contact me for more information.