Hey. Hi. Hello!
I’m currently writing this as I’m starving and waiting for my Seamless delivery, so if this post is less-cohesive than usual, let’s just blame it on that. Sidenote, I literally only order from one restaurant and have the same delivery guy every single time and sometimes I wonder what he thinks of me.
I’d like to dedicate today’s post to past me, present me, future me, and anyone who’s unfortunate enough to be like me. Growing up, I was always doing sports, and was also super aggresive with them. I got injured A LOT, but also rarely saw a doctor once I reached the age of 16 (which is when my parents really just let me loose in the world.) Now, at the ripe age of 23, my philosophy with everything (unless I think it’s strep throat), is sleep it off.
I know I’m not the only person like that out there. I have an issue with sitting still and resting. I’m always looking for ways to keep working out, partially because I love it, but partially because I don’t want to lose whatever progress I’ve made. I’m not a doctor, so I’m not here giving medical advice. Obviously, any smart person would seek medical attention if something was bothering them, but I am not this person. Instead, I’m here to offer some of my tips for training around injury (based solely off of my personal experience, and not my time as a personal trainer. As a trainer I’d tell you to see a doctor before working out, so do that and then read this post please. Don’t sue me).
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
An injury or any pain you feel is most likely your body telling you that you’re fatigued, or that something isn’t right. Some of the time it’s dangerous to continue on. Like if you can’t put pressure onto your foot when talking, or looking at a barbell makes your back fire up in pain, don’t work out. But, there are times when your body can work through injuries and a little pain.
It’s important to listen to the signs your body is giving you throughout the whole recovery process. If you do a movement and you’re in pain. Don’t do that movement. If it was supposed to be leg day but you can’t comfortably walk, don’t do leg day. Even if you’re training for a fucking marathon but your left shin hurts, sit the fuck down and do some bicep curls. Your body can train through some things, but it can’t train through everything.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Whenever I feel injured, I always test the boundaries of that injury. No, I’m not going to go 100% all out and just see what happens. Rather, I’ll push range of motion, flexability, weight-bearing ability etc. Most recently, I had really uncomfortable pain in my chest. I knew off the back that I wasn’t going to do any chest workouts until it felt better. But, I tested my range of motion in my upper body to see if I was still able to do any back, shoulder, or arm exercises. Turns out, I couldn’t without feeling a pulling sensation. I could still bare the weight of a barbell on my back, and hold weights in a farmers carry, so I knew I could do legs, and incorporated more cardio in.
LOWER THE WEIGHTS
You may be able to deadlift 400 pounds on a good day, but the second you feel something off in your body, you gotta lower the weights and check your ego. Using lighter weights can suck at first, especially if your goal is muscular growth or hypertrophy. But, lifting light is better than not lifting at all. If you’re able to do something, do a movement with lighter weights than normal, but up the rep count. Or, use your body weight or a resistance band and try some fun variations on movements you’re used to doing.
You may lose some of your muscle mass during your injury period, but I would rather do that than do nothing at all, because I’ve been there and it sucks to just sit around waiting for your body to do the damn thing. Being injured, while it sucks, is a great time to experiement with different workouts, and you never know, you may see greater results than you ever had!
WARM UP AND COOL DOWN
I can’t stress this one enough, because it’s the one I have to remind myself to do. Jumping right into a workout when your body is NOT prepared, especially if you work out right in the morning, is NOT good. It’s like if you were asked to give a presentation the second you woke up and you couldn’t even form a proper sentence to save your life. Your body needs to prepare to be put under stress, just like it needs to relax from it as well. Warming up and cooling down help your body in so many different ways, but most importantly they can help prevent and alleviate any injuries you have.
Back in March, I was working in a lot of heavy compound leg work, and always forgetting to stretch after because I was in a rush to get to work. Eventually, one day my hamstrings were so tight I could barely sit down let alone walk without being in pain. However, the second I would bend over to stretch them out, everything got so much better. It’s hard to set aside dedicated time before and after workouts, but it’s the best thing for you moving forward.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET BACK INTO IT
I used to have a lot of client who were post-rehab and just starting to work out again. When I was post-rehab for any injury, I was literally jumping back into soccer immediately, sometimes even earlier than doctors would’ve like (yeah my B). But, not everyone is like that. A lot of my clients would be afraid to put weight on an old injury, or would give up after two reps because they didn’t think their body could handle it.
Training around, and after, an injury is just as much mental as it is physical. Even working out normally is the same way. A lot of people will baby an old injury because it’s almost like PTSD and they’re being extra precautious because they don’t want to injure it. But, your body can handle a lot more stress than you think it can. Take it slow and easy at first, but you’re never going to see progress unless you push yourself.
REST IF YOU NEED TO
This one goes without saying, but it’s the hardest one for me to follow. Like I said before, I’m not good at sitting around. If I rest for too many days in a row, I feel like I can just feel myself getting fatter, which is just not true at all. Rest is important for your body. A healthy individual needs at least one rest day a week to help their body recovery properly. Being injured just means you may need to take more rest days.
You don’t want to risk making the injury worse just becuase your ass couldn’t sit on a couch for a few days with an ice pack on your leg resting to get better. At the end of the day, don’t be an idiot. Your marathon training or body building competition can wait a little bit while your body takes the time it needs to recovery properly.
Until next time!