How I Set Myself Up for Injury (It’s Likely You’re Doing This Same Thing)


I finally got more serious about my training when I got more serious about my goals. I’d been saying I wanted to make the U.S. women’s national rugby team, but up to that point, all I’d been doing was occasionally accompanying my more fitness-oriented roommate, Libby, to the gym and half-heartedly mimicking what she did. Sometimes I went hung over. I knew this wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go, however, so my senior year (OK, my second senior year), I declared that I wanted to learn to lift.

My then-new boyfriend offered to train me. He’d majored in kinesiology and spent a few years working as a personal trainer, so he felt equipped to take on the task.

I have a lot of nice things to say about him, and I did go on to make the national team under his tutelage, but…looking back, it seems like some of it came with a price tag. When I think about exercise selection, it seemed like every single solitary lift we did was in the sagittal plane. (A sagittal-plane exercise is any during which you move forward and backward — the vast majority of squat, deadlift, press, and row variations occur in the sagittal plane.)

And don’t get me wrong, the sagittal plane is a grand old dame! You want to do lots of sagittal-plane exercises — those that involve the posterior chain, anterior chain, and everything in between. But you also want to include movements performed in the transverse (which is rotational or the resisting of rotation) and frontal (moving from side to side) planes. Your body can move in these ways. Your body wants to move in these ways.

Moreover, if you don’t perform a balance of movements in a variety of planes, your bod ends up feeling less balanced and healthy, and you may even start to develop irksome little pains that mount up over time.

The imbalances I accumulated ended in months and months of painful, intensive physical therapy to rehab the case of chondromalacia in both knees.This damaged-cartilage condition was caused by an imbalance in my quad-to-hamstrings strength (skewed in the direction of my quads, natch), as well as core instabilities. To this day, I still experience a crunchy pain in both knees when I perform short, sharp dips during movements such as the push press or jerk. Those pointy little pangs of pain are reminders of the time I didn’t respect the big picture.

Those injuries derailed me for too long afterward, and I often wonder what would have happened if this or if that. Would I have ended up a better player? One of my big what-ifs is, what if I’d started lifting with a more well-rounded, multi-planar program?


I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So, eventually I asked JVB to write the program I wish I’d started with. One that builds rock-solid strength in every direction, from every angle. One where a rank beginner can study the resources included and see incredible improvements in strength and lean body mass, but that is also appropriate for righting the proverbial ship for a more intermediate to advanced trainee who looking for a reset.

As of this week, I finally get to say that we’re offering the strength program I WISH I’d started with.

If you’re a new lifter interested in getting strong, or someone who wants to build more balanced strength, we’ve put together a brand-new 12-week strength training program for you called Bedrock Strength. Complete with a full exercise glossary that includes written descriptions and photographic demonstrations of every single exercise in the program and user manual that guides you through every step of the program from A to Z, JVB and I have combined our years of coaching and training to design the program we wish we would have had a beginners ourselves. This is a clear-cut, easy-to-use resource that will build a foundation of strength to last a lifetime.

Bedrock Strength is on sale now: Learn more here!



Author:Jen Sinkler

Fitness writer and editor, workout connoisseur, meditator, proponent of spandex, former rugby player; never, ever without lip gloss.
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