There is a difference in working out, between pushing yourself for the burn and pushing yourself to injury. Knowing this difference is crucial to continuing with your workout routines. If you push yourself to the burn and can't finish all the reps you want, you can move onto the next move and still be able to work out tomorrow. If you push yourself to the injury, you may have to not only stop the reps you are on, but also miss a few more days of workouts.
Last night I tried to be a hot-shot. I was doing push-ups on my knees like I do every workout, but I decided I wanted to try to do them up on my toes... just to see if I could. When moving from your knees to toes, you need to engage your core and your glutes. Your abs have to help stabilize your back or you will injure yourself. This is especially important if you are overweight with a belly, or if you have back problems. And me? I have both of those things.
I was diagnosed at 28 with Degenerative Disc Disease. While this is something that lot of people are diagnosed with, it usually doesn't happen until they are in old age. Part of my problem is hereditary because my mother has spinal issues. But a big chunk of the problem is that I am overweight. My spine has to help balance out my stomach and the years upon years of compression in one place has degraded my vertebrae. I know I have this problem. Most days it is just fine with workouts, but last night I got careless.
Instead of taking my time with the push-up, I just went right to my toes. The weight of my stomach pulled on my spine and I was down for the count. The upside is that I have been working on my strength. My back muscles took the brunt of the screw-up. Instead of injuring my spine further, my muscles are sore and tight, but no permanent injury was sustained.
Form is important. Take the time to make sure you are okay in the position you are in before trying anything new or challenging. Know your limits as well. Push yourself to the burn, but remember that no one is a hero for injuring themselves during their workout.