Training with an injury - ADAPT, DON’T STOP
First things first: If something is bothering you and hindering your training or movement in any way, go and see a physician/specialist and follow their advice!
What we want to talk about here, however, is that you should not completely give up on your fitness due to physical set-backs. Because no matter the injury you might suffer, there is always something you can improve and work at to better your health!
An injury – major or minor – may require you to take some time off your fitness routine. But too often we hear of people freeze or even cancel their gym membership and resist completely from any exercise once diagnosed with an injury. In reality, having an injury does not have to prevent you from working out and living a healthy lifestyle: There are a ton of things you can still do to improve or at least maintain certain aspects of your fitness. Adapt, don’t stop!
While being injured, you can take the opportunity to change focus, like dial in your nutrition or making sure you are getting enough sleep. You can also adapt your fitness and workout routine. We have many body parts to train, so if one needs time to heal, use this as a chance to develop other parts. If your injury inhibits you from lifting heavy weights, then now is a good time to really focus on your conditioning with more aerobic style workouts. For minor injuries, even the affected area doesn’t need to be neglected, a knee injury does not mean you need to rule out any leg exercises. Use bands, try different movements, or different range of motions. If full depth on a squat gives you pain, then squat with partial depth, decrease the weight, try deadlift or lunge variations to create a similar stimulus that is pain free. Another example, if your shoulder hurts when you perform pressing movements, try static holds like arms extended planks, holding weight overhead in a locked out position. This will go a long way to restore most of your strength, mobility, and muscle endurance while you recover. Slowly start building up the ability to press again by using light weights or rotator cuff rehab exercises that are pain free to build strength and stability for smaller muscles and tendons around the joint. Get creative in the gym and continue to learn by finding alternative ways to keep training and challenging yourself. Just because you’ve been following a particular fitness program for years, don’t think it is the only answer to achieving your goals.
In short, injuries don’t have to completely side-line you! Use them as opportunities to develop or focus on aspects of your fitness you otherwise wouldn’t. This can send your fitness to a whole new level in the long run! If we use an injury as an excuse to throw away fitness all together, and with it any progress we have made along the way, then we’re throwing away an opportunity to grow long term.
If you find it hard to adapt your fitness routine or find workouts that you can still benefit from while your abilities are limited, then seek help from a trainer. Many fitness trainers are great with adapting workouts to the ability or limitations of their clients. At Tahi Fitness, we often adapt our workouts not only to the level, but also to the ability or restrictions of our members. With an open communication and the vast knowledge of our trainers, we can adjust every session to each individual – with or without injury – ensuring everyone gets the full benefits and satisfaction from every workout.
Adapt, don’t stop!