Training When You're Injured

The first rule of training with an injury…

If it hurts, stop doing it.

There aren’t any medals for hurting yourself.

You should never “push through” the pain of an injury, that’s quick way to put a halt to your progress, slow the healing process and damage your body longer term.

I get that resting can be annoying but your body can’t heal unless you allow enough recovery time.

You have to be both smart AND realistic when you’re injured.

For example…

Elbow injuries often rule out upper body work so expecting to push and pull is unrealistic.

It’s likely to cause pain, slow recovery and cause more damage but being injured doesn’t mean that you have to slob out on the couch.

You can use injuries as a chance to strengthen your weak areas.

An elbow injury that stops upper body work frees up more time to work on your lower body.

Squats/deadlifts will rarely aggravate an elbow injury in the same way that presses, pulls and rows will rarely aggravate a knee or ankle injury.

Be smart and use injured time wisely.

A common question is…

I’ve hurt my elbow, how can I train arms?

Or

I’ve injured my knee, how can I train legs?

Honestly, very often the answer is you can’t and probably shouldn’t for the reasons I said above – if it hurts, stop doing it.

But there ARE exceptions.

Wrist injuries can often be worked around providing the wrist remains in a neutral position and is not loaded excessively.

A wrist sprain will usually rule out bench press due to the wrist being extended and placed under a significant load but that’s not to say that you can’t train your chest using dumbbell flies or train your biceps using dumbbell hammer curls where in both instances the wrist remains in a neutral position.

Squatting with a knee injury is almost certainly a no but kettlebell swings and stiff leg deadlifts may still be on the cards and allow some lower body training so long as it doesn’t cause pain.

It all comes back to leaving your ego and man-up pills at the door and making smart exercise choices so you can keep making progress.

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Mike Waywell