Question: I’m hurt. How can I still make progress? —Mike T., VIA FACEBOOK

Answer: The trick to dealing with any training injury is to work as hard as you can on exercises that are similar to the ones that bother you. You’ll find
that a slight reduction in range of motion, a change in grip or stance, or a different training implement is all that separates a productive workout from one that makes your injury worse. Below is my guide to working around problems in the three big lifts: the bench press, squat, and deadlift.

Solutions for the Big 3 Lifts

1. BENCH PRESS: We all know where it hurts when you bench—your shoulders. The problem is usually due to overuse, so if you’ve benched every week for years, give it a rest. Dumbbell bench presses with your PALMS FACING EACH OTHER are a more shoulder-friendly option, or use pushup variations.

2. SQUAT: Issues with the squat usually result from a lack of mobility in the hips and ankles. Work on rolling out your lower body and stretching your hips and hamstrings. In the meantime, you may find that front squats and goblet squats are safer alternatives.

3. DEADLIFT: Losing the arch in your lower back is a sure way to put yourself on the disabled list. Try single-leg Romanian deadlifts to build the mobility you need to keep your back flat. If you’re dead set on locking out some big weights, pull from the spotter bars in a power rack set to just below the knees. You’ll be able to use more weight.

FIT FACT: Pressing with the palms facing in is a simple fix for shoulder pain during chest training.

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