Abdominal muscle strains are graded according to the severity of the injury:
Grade I (Mild): Mild discomfort, often no disability. Usually does not limit activity.
Grade II (Moderate): Moderate discomfort, can limit ability to perform activities such as crunches or twisting movements.
Grade III (Severe): Severe injury that can cause pain with normal activities. Often patients complain of muscle spasm and bruising.
What is the treatment for a pulled abdominal muscle?
Treatment of abdominal muscle injuries is difficult--there is no way to splint the abdomen and it is nearly impossible to fully rest these muscles. That said, the most important step after sustaining an abdominal muscle strain is to allow the muscle to cool down and allow the inflammation to subside. Avoiding exercise to allow the injured muscle to heal is important. Activities that cause pain or spasm of the abdominal muscles should be avoided.
Gentle stretching is helpful, but it should not be painful. Stretching excessively can be harmful, and slow the healing process. Apply ice to the injured area in the acute phase (first 48 hours after injury), and then after activities. Before activities, gentle heating can help to loosen the muscle.
So it looks like I've got a high Grade I strain in my lower rectus abdominis and my moratorium on all ab exercises seems spot-on. I wouldn't call it a Grade II strain, in this schema, at least, since I can still do crunches, though doing so would be phenomenally stupid––hence, I'm not doing them! I might ice my abs tonight after tutoring. I will also keep the weight light this Sunday for my shoulders, traps, and triceps workout. … As you were.]
8 July 2010
88kg, BMI 25
"A3" workout: Hamstrings and Back: 90 mins
Warmup: 60 jumping jacks, jump rope 3 mins, stretching/calisthenics
Abs: Incline curls 30x
Straight leg deadlift: 12x @ 50kg, 10x @ 55kg, 8x @ 60kg, 6x @ 70kg
Leg curl: 12x @ 25kg, 10x @ 30kg, 12x @ 25kg, 12x @ 25kg
Underhand barbell row: 12x @ 40kg, 10x @ 45kg, 8x @ 50kg, 6x @ 65kg [?]
Wide-grip lever lat pulldown: 12x @ 55kg, 10 x@ 60kg, 8x @ 65kg, 8x @ 70kg [?]
One-arm dumbbell row: 12x @ 12.5kg, 10x @ 18kg, 10x @ 22kg, 6x @ 27kg [?]
Wide-grip cable row & Lever bench row: [cable] 12x @ 72.5kg & [lever] 12x @ 55kg, [lever] 10x @ 55kg, [lever] 8x @ 60kg, 6x @ 70kg, [cable] 12x @ 120kg
Wide-grip lat pulldown: 8x @ 80kg [after last set of cable row]
Cooldown: Stretching, lots of stretching.
Notice anything? A lot of "[?]" in these notes and, for the really keen, my weight not only did not pyramid very much but in fact dropped from last week. This may be partially due to the fact that I might have miscalculated the weights last week, but assuming I didn't, the real reason is that my regimen is catching up with me. I'm still completely in the foundation-laying phase, so I can't expect many quick or impressive gains right now––least of after just a couple weeks! So, today was a very humbling workout. I'm tired. I've got a long way to go. I need to eat the unleavened bread of patience and get plenty of rest.
Especially troubling during this workout was the mild hernia-like strain I felt in my low rectus abdominis. Good for me, it's not in my inguinal canal and there is no bulging, swelling or acute pain, so it doesn't count as a real hernia nor even a hernia-in-the-making. It's just some natural strain after more than a week of daily abdominal training. To be safe, I'm implementing a week-long moratorium on all direct ab exercises. Fortunately, I've got Friday as a rest day and will probably take Saturday off as well, for a few reasons. First, tomorrow (Friday) is my birthday and I will have a little dinner celebration with some friends on Saturday, so I might as well give my body a celebratory break too. Second, I'll swap my "A4" workout (triceps and shoulders), which I normally do on Saturday, to Sunday and just not do my A3 workout (chest and calves) till next Saturday. This will give my abs a chance to recover on Friday and Saturday, not get much strain on Sunday, and will also let my right pec rest. Monday and Tuesday are my off days, so I will probably only do jump rope and grip training. Above all, I must keep telling myself: SLOW AND STEADY. DON'T FOLD A STUPID INJURY INTO YOUR FOUNDATION. THIS IS NOT AN EGO TRIP (otherwise it be a an ego trip-and-fall).
It goes without saying that my "idle time", which I usually fill with reading and surfing the Net, is less now that I'm putting in 400–500 minutes a week into exercise. But I've noticed something interesting about my reading now that I have less "raw time" to "just read." I find myself reading more quickly and casually, not feeling that usual urge to mark a quotation or underline a key point. A sign of my ultimate intellectual degradation? Perhaps, but not likely. Rather, I take it as one step closer to the kind of learning I've tried to attain for years now, namely, to read for leisure and retain what actually sticks with you and then to invest serious note-taking and analytic scrutiny only to books or articles that tie in directly to my chief areas of scholarship: cognitive science, embodied cognition, the history of science, philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology, and sacramental metaphysics. Sounds absurdly broad and abstruse, perhaps, but they actually all tie together fairly neatly in my head. I've been reading Leo Strauss's Natural Right and History for the past few weeks and, while I find it illuminating, clear, and very well researched, I also see little reason to take copious notes from it, since, if I engage it again in grad school, I will seriously engage it in grad school. Otherwise, it's just a good resource to supply me with good data about social philosophy and ethics in history. By just reading it, without getting caught up in note-taking, I can get a better, more fluid feel for the book as a whole, which actually makes its content "stick" better than meticulous annotations might do. (Might it have something to do with sports-based neurogenesis!) I guess the foregoing is just meant to say, Don't worry, I'm not giving up on learning or scholarship!