Training around an injury
Elite or not we all get injured. Stopping training completely sometimes has to happen at the beginning of sustaining an injury but it is always dependent on the severity of the injury. You should always check with your therapist before training around an injury.
A lot of people when they sustain an injury go to the doctors and they say “complete rest”. Telling a sports person to completely rest is like telling them to jump of a cliff- well that may be slightly dramatic. Let’s be honest they are unlikely to fully rest OR if they do completely stop are likely to go into melt down. Yes some injuries do require complete rest but a majority of injuries you can train around. An everyday gym goer or an elite athlete you would be used to exercising a fair amount a week. Taking this away from you can be hard to take, so use training around an injury as an opportunity and challenge for yourself- I know easier said than done.
How to train around an injury
Training with an injury takes a lot of self-discipline and motivation.
When you are injured it’s hard to motivate yourself to train as there will be certain movements and exercises you won’t be able to perform due to injury.
You need to ensure you discipline yourself with your training. Don’t train through painful movements.
With an injury, there will always be areas of pain free motion. Keep within these limits to help with your recovery from injury.
Everyday keep moving whether it is a gentle walk, air squats etc. anything to keep the blood flowing. Exercise increases our heart rate, increasing our heart rate increases our blood flow, increasing this blood flow increases recovery, therefore, there is no reason to not move around pain free.
Injuries should be seen as an opportunity to work on weaknesses. Challenge yourself to correct your weakness and do the exercises you might avoid due to disliking them. Take yourself back to basics as we easily slip into habits and nail your technique. You will come back from injury stronger and happier as you will be enjoying those exercises you once hated.
What is acceptable?
You hear the saying ‘train through pain’ this is certainly not acceptable when it comes to injuries. There should be no element of pain in your training, if there is this will be prolonging your healing. You know when people have a cut and they get a scab and they just keep picking that scab and making the area more and more sore? That is basically what you are doing if you train through pain, you are making the injury worse. Always speak to your coaches/ sports therapists and they will help you scale some exercises to enable you to carry on training. Always make your coaches aware of your injury so your sessions will be tailored specific to you to avoid further injury.
Injuries and training:
- Shoulder: avoid overhead movements, painful movements & perform one armed work if possible. Pulling exercises are normally tolerated.
- Wrist: avoid axial loading of wrist- keep movements strict e.g. strict press instead of push press.
- Elbow: Decrease load going through elbow e.g. avoid press ups if painful.
Examples of exercise for training around upper limb injury: squats, Russian kettle bell swings, box jumps, lunges, deadlifts, rowing, assault bike, split squats, cleans (if no pain).
- Knee, ankle and foot injuries- avoid overloading these structures in weight bearing/impact work such as weighted squats/skipping etc.
- Anterior knee pain- load posterior chain e.g. deadlifts.
- Train uni-lateral leg e.g. single leg squats, single leg Romanian dead lifts.
- Train upper body e.g. strict press, pull ups etc.
Hip and back
- Avoid lifting from floor.
- Train upper body.
- Avoid high intensity work which involved impact and hinging through hip.
- Avoid excessive movements of hip and back.
- Back: work on midline strength and work in pain free range.
- Hip: one legged bike/air bike work, seated overhead press, glute bridges.
The key to this is training without pain. Exercising whilst injured does help recovery rates. Enjoy training, any questions regarding training around an injury feel free to pop us a message. Remember if you’re hurting you’re not healing.
Thank you for reading J
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST