Injuries happen to even the best of us. However, if we take the proper precautions, we can minimise the risk of injury happening. If we do, in fact, get injured, remember that there are certain measures that we can take to ensure optimal recovery. Here’s the thing — if we stop training altogether, it can set us back from achieving our goals quite a bit. Here are some tips on how to prevent that from happening by training through your injury.
Avoid the Injury. I once heard that if you injure your legs, train your arms. If you injure your arms, train your legs. If you injure your body, train your mind. This is paraphrased, of course, but it is a simple rule of thumb to follow when injured. Because one body part is injured, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop training altogether. You can simply train other body parts. If you are experienced enough, you can programme your modified routines yourself. Otherwise, consult a personal trainer.
Focus on Recovery Methods. So you’ve waited a few weeks and are anxious to start back working that injured body part. Remember that an injury takes a long time to heal. This means that you need to remember to stretch often so that you can regain/maintain mobility, ice if you feel pain, wrap it to compress, and for support and get a lot of rest. If, for some reason, the pain starts to get worse, go back to not training the body part at all.
Once Again, Patience is Key. I will reiterate that injuries take time to heal. When you feel comfortable enough to start training the body part, increase the intensity gradually. Because you were squatting 300 lbs before hurting your hip doesn’t mean that you can hit that 300 two weeks after sustaining the injury. Maybe start with bodyweight, vary stance width, use a support, modify depth — you get the idea. Just remember to take your time trying to get back there. I treated my own ankle injury by squatting lighter, but for more reps and slowly increasing weight and decreasing reps. In the rare case that the injury is permanent (in injury due to wear and tear rather than getting a strain, sprain or breaking something), you may even need to consider changing your routine permanently. You may never be able to do heavy deadlifts again, but maybe light kettlebell swings and kettlebell deadlifts for a high number of reps may work for you.
Think About Strengthening. Wherever you injured will not be able to take the same pressure that it used to, as mentioned above. To regain full function, you need to focus on exercises that strengthen the injured body part so that you can regain full function. In my aforementioned ankle injury. I thought about the function of the ankle. It stabilises me both through movement and standing still. Therefore, exercises that require ankle stability came to mind — the squat and the deadlift. Also, in movement, my ankle needs to be able to go through a range of angles as each foot absorbs impact, rotates forward (plantar-flexion) and pushes off from the toes. Therefore, I knew I need to work on full ROM (range of motion) calf raises (I chose tip toes, with or without weights). This basic method of thinking will aid you (or your trainer/therapist) in developing a routine that will help you to recovery as completely as possible.
Overall, it is possible to train through injuries. However, one needs to take all the necessary precautions to ensure that one can continue to recover and regain full function (strength and mobility) where possible. I hope this guide can help in the event that you sustain some sort of injury.