It should have been here yesterday, right? We're a subculture within a larger culture that can't stand things that don't happen right now, if not earlier. Waiting for a stubborn body to meet the goal that we set for it is the strength training equivalent of Dial-up AOL. It's got to happen and it better happen sooner rather than later, right?
As I walked through Dicks Sporting goods, I notice an effort to bring tools formerly reserved for our out-of-mainstream, semi-underground movement percolating to the surface. It's not just our tools either but also some of our ideas and beliefs around training. One such idea I've seen and heard passed around lately revolves around tendons and ligaments, particularly around strengthening them.
That's a good thing, I guess. These are just as much a part of the strength picture as the meat that we use to propel our bones. They're attached to tendons, so that makes sense to give them some consideration when we train.
The question then becomes what kind of consideration? How do we strengthen our connective tissue? That's where I break from the old school. I've never given an ounce of thought concerning the strength of my tendons or my ligaments. I've never done any special exercises for them. Yet, I've had no problems with them when training.
So, the idea of doing tendon-strengthening exercises never appealed to me and after cracking open some books on the topic, the reason became very clear to me. Tendons (and ligaments) are made up mostly of collagen that's arranged in a fiber-like and parallel manner. What lept out at me is that, unlike muscle, they're poorly vascularized and innervated. Without these, they recover much more slowly since they depend on absorbing nutrients from things surrounding them.
It appears to me that answer to keeping these bone connectors and organic springs in decent shape was to buck the urge to force the muscles to do things faster than the blessed meat strings can keep up with. I've never had a problem with waiting months to see a goal come to fruition and I think that's why I have never had an issue with anything resembling tendinitis. From what I've heard, that's a nasty, NASTY problem that only has one solution: time to heal. No exercise. Does that really sound good to anyone?
So, from where I'm standing, patience is what these rarely thought of chunks of protein really need to get strong. Not only do they need it, but they demand it... and they will get it! Either we will take the time to let them get strong or we will take the time to let them heal. Think about it this way: our tendons are the little brother/sister of our muscles. Many of us were obliged, or otherwise forced, to take our smaller siblings along for play time even if they slowed us down. It's the same sort of scenario here.