When I finally got out of the hospital after the three surgeries on my legs, I was cleared to start rehabbing. For those that don't know my story, you can find it in the archives of the blog. What i'm about to say might piss people off and even may confuse them to what they were "taught" at the gym by those so called "experts" that tell you the only to get better at something is to push the limits. For the most part at least in my experience is complete bullshit and I don't care what your reaction is, I'm telling it from my point of view and outlook on my philosophy.
Training early on in my self-rehab was a pain in the ass, i'm not going to lie, it hurt and I couldn't do much but I never pushed it to the absolute limit otherwise i'd be back in the hospital. I started out doing only squats, push-ups and bridging; couldn't do jack for squats, barely can handle a few push-ups and was nowhere near my nose touching the mat. I instinctively learned how to progress through those exercises without pushing myself too hard. I was determined to improve my body's ability to heal and progressed little by little everyday without fail and why? Because if anyone was going to screw it up I rather have it be me than putting a burden on some Physical Therapist. I believed down into my soul that I was going to improve. Once I hit greater numbers I moved on to other forms o exercise and training and used that same philosophy of progression.
The truth is, the more you push to the limits the greater the consequences become to get injured, out of commission and doing something you'll end up regretting. I get it that you want to find out how far you can take it and in a certain period of time. It's human nature to test the limits and when it comes down to it in certain situations we either go all out for a specific purpose or something else. Our bodies are very well equipped with a natural healing, cooling, heat & nervous system but if we compromise those natural settings, how can we properly function in good, solid health? When you progress through natural productivity and mindfulness with the intuition to listen and feel how your body reacts when it is starting to reach its peak you're starting to see the bigger picture. Its very difficult to control how our Adrenaline hits and we are so pumped we forget what's going on in our body and lose sense of what's happening in our surroundings.
I've taken my body to heights I had never experienced as a teen so since I was 21 years old I've hit levels of strength some people I know thought was ridiculously impossible; like being able to one-arm hang on your weak arm at far over 200 pounds is no easy feat, it doesn't look like much but when you had an illness that nearly killed you and switched your brain chemistry that hit the nerves in your body it becomes rather miraculous. How about not being able to do one pull-up at 18 to do multiple reps by 22, do over 20 handstand push-ups in a row with only less than a few weeks of handstand training, go from hurting after 10 squats to doing over 1000 in less than 6 months after surgery. This isn't to brag or show off my accomplishments, its to remind you that if you're willing to progress with intent and belief on improving yourself, you don't need to push the limits. Progression unlocks the door to ultimate strength and doing so as injury-less as possible. Pushing your limits in my opinion 95% of the time will make you weaker than stronger because you can only be so strong or fast or endured for a short period of time.
I hear about all those injuries people put themselves through with some of those crossfit workouts where there is no regard for safety, recovery and progression and just bust through regardless of your body's ability. It's not just crossfit, its other areas as well. In sports, military, law enforcement and survival training are the only true areas where pushing to the limits is in my regard because they train that way in order to fulfill a requirement of specific conditioning, training and mental toughness that the rest of the population can't seem to comprehend. We are taught to train the same as pro athletes or world-class military men and women and that's not practical. Train to improve, not to go balls out because it looks cool. The body is not meant to be put on that level of stress and if you believe you can train the same as these high level athletic people than you're more naive than I thought; even the highest level of athletic and tough people have gotten injured, broken bones, killed during drills & even have made multiple mistakes where it cost others either lives or other problems.
Progress through your own area of mastery with the intent to become stronger, faster and more endured on natural levels of the body's abilities to be strengthened, recovered, levels of stress (Physical & Mental) and the functioning of your brain. That's right your brain is affected in how you train because if you push too hard regardless of what you can do, the brain sends waves into the nervous system and will break down your ability to function by the stress of your organs, tendons, joints, ligaments and muscles you keep trying to build. When you progress through realistic application and the will to improve; overtime you will learn to deal with greater stress, your organs can flow with greater ease in advanced levels of training, the strength in your brain can send more powerful neurons into your body to deal with greater strenuous holds or movements and your joints can take more physical demands. When you push the limits, its going to peak whether you like it or not and your body will begin to break down starting with your nervous system, keep pushing, your tendons can split and you'll break out pieces of what's holding you together in the first place, keep pushing even further, your organs will break down and by then if not beforehand you could die and for what, just so you can be the tough man in his big boy pants?
Be smart about your training regardless of what it is; you are one person with one body that sheds the same blood as the rest of us. Do what works for you but also listen to your body. Push it on a scale that helps you get better without hurting yourself or going to failure. Don't throw your body away just because you wanted to be a big shot and wear the big boy panties, strengthen to become better not to grow weaker.