First of all, don't worry about the folk in the above photo, they aren't really injured. Just resting... Injuries! We’ve all been there, making progress week in week out and then suddenly you start to feel a bit of a niggle in your knee, or a sore elbow. Often what happens is we try to ‘train through’ these injuries and this results in them getting worse over time until the pain becomes too much.
You try to rest for a while but then head to the gym after 3 days thinking a week is too long to wait, and you’re feeling a bit better anyway. Then you push it just to check to see if it still hurts and/or is getting better. You hurt yourself again! So, I thought I’d share my top tips for training with an injury.
Most bone, tendon, ligament and muscle injuries can take 6-12 weeks to heal, sometimes longer. You need to patient. This can be very frustrating when you want to get back to normal training. I’ve dealt with an injury in the past that prevented me from training the way I would have liked, so I urge you to take care of yourself and be patient!
Here’s some tips that you should take note of if you’re currently dealing with an injury!
Top Tips for Training With An Injury
Be kind to your body, it’s the only one you have.
Invest in your body. When the car needs fixing, we’ll reluctantly pay upwards of £300 quid, but we do it because we need the car to drive to and from work. But when it comes to paying money to a physiotherapist, we cringe when asked to pay £40-50 for a session. As long as you’re going to a decent physio, the money is worth it to get you back up and running!
Be patient. It’s going to take time to heal and there is no quick fix.
Do your rehab, even when it’s not hurting - especially when it’s not hurting! On a number of occasions I stopped doing my rehab exercises as I thought they were useless and weren’t helping. Of course I was wrong - trust the process!
If it starts hurting again when you start training, pushing through won’t make it better, that’s like picking a scab and making it bleed. You’ll only be dragging out healing time. Also bear in mind that endorphins and adrenaline can mask pain when we start to exercise, so do not use this as an excuse!
Focus on your technique, other areas of weakness, or flexibility. You now get a chance to place double the focus on weaker lifts. Sometimes injuries actually result in you getting stronger overall...
Be mindful of your movements and build stronger neural connections. Too often we perform a movement without thinking too much about it - our brains are where an action starts from. Our bodies are also lazy and will find the easiest way to perform a movement as a form of compensation, even if it’s not right. The glutes may be weak and not switch on when they’re supposed to so the quads take over. When you next do an exercise, think about which muscles you want to use and focus on muscle contractions, or add in some activation exercises before you start your working sets.
Be wary of painkillers. Don’t use them as a coping mechanism to get through your gym sessions…
Don’t cause other injuries/imbalances. In other words, if you’ve injured your arm, do NOT work the other arm as it’s likely to cause an imbalance.
Once you’re all healed up and back to your usual workouts, pay special attention to mobility as a form of prehab. After recovering from an injury the last thing you want is for it to come back!
Remember, you train to get fitter and stronger and sometimes that means taking the time out to give your body some well needed rest.