Training around injury

 By Jay Johnson


Achieving milestones is one of the most important things that happened in anyone’s fitness journey and those looking to better themselves. After all, that’s the point right? Days in and days out going to the gym, training with weights, and dieting you want to move forward. So what happens when your progress is dramatically stalled by an injury? Depending on the severity, it can really decide what happens next for an unprecedented amount of time. It’s especially frustrating when you’re attempting to reach a PR, and on the brink of hitting that mark when boom! Now you’ve got an injury that keeps you from reaching it.


So what do you do?



No progress may be stalled when something like this happens, there are still ways to train and make continued progress while your body heals. The below bullets or things to keep in the forefront and to keep your stalled progress to a limit:


  • If a range of motion hurts to the point that it is making things worse, simply don’t do it: The worst thing that you can do when trying to hit a PR during a time that a part of the body needed to achieve that is injured, is ignore it. Work AROUND the muscle in training alternative muscles that are also used in the same range motion that does not trigger where the pain is. An example would be for flat bench I had frequented pain in my right shoulder near the front of the shoulder. Anytime I would go heavy on weight it would re-trigger it and give me intense pain. Alternatively, when I did dumbbell flat bench I did not feel the same pain, if any in comparison to what I felt on bar bench. I implemented that into my training program instead to continue to build strength with those muscle groups. Lightening the weight, and training with higher reps is another alternative to continue developing those muscle groups and not regress with your conditioning and training.
  • Use the time-frame healing to build strength in weaker parts of your body that may be lacking. Typically injury comes from over-training a particular part on your body. This may be a sign that your body is telling you that it is a good idea to allow that part to rest and start emphasizing on some other groups that may need more focus. Scale down on your heavy training in those particular parts of your body that may be hurting and use this to progress elsewhere. A prime example would be if I was suffering from an elbow injury that triggered when ever I did any type of triceps range of motion, I would decide to focus more on pulling ranges of motion and parts of my body. Are used this time-frame to research different styles of back, and bicep exercises that did not implement my triceps at all to only get allow to give it time to heal, all the while progressing in areas which may have not have had as much focus as what my triceps had over the course of the time prior to injury. For some of us, this maybe just how you discover finally starting to progress with your leg training!
  • Don’t mask it, target it.....safely. Completely neglecting to train the part is not the answer either. The key is to ensure to have some type of stimulation around the muscle group to keep it somewhat fresh and warm up so that it can slowly repair self. And example of this would be a time that I was experiencing some excruciating pain in my lower back that prevented me from dead lifting, and squatting heavy. As an alternative I decided to start doing lightweight good mornings in the beginning of any back or leg workout, just to get blood flow and to keep things warmed up. Stiff leg dead-lifts with very light weight also was included, along with any range of motion that involved that injured part with light, and controlled weight, full and thorough range of motion.
  • Foam roll, stretch, and warm up frequently and thoroughly: I did not start to form roll or stretch until I experience sciatica in my lower back some years ago. I decided to try it after my wife bought me a foam roller for Christmas and it was the best thing that I could’ve done at the time to rehabilitate my lower back. Same applies for stretching muscle groups that you are using, and it is recommended to do this before, during, and briefly after your training sessions. It helps you keep things loose and helps loosen those supporting muscle groups that may be pulling on tendons or muscles that could cause injury to those supporting the muscle groups where you may be having some issues
  • See a physician or doctor, and actually listen to them: More often than not, alot of us may feel as if physicians or doctors that we see that or not sports medicine may not understand it. This could not be further from the truth. Ensure to listen to your physician or your doctor when they advise you on what to do about an injury sustained during training.
  • Supplement with glucosamine, fish oil, or other joint pain reducing supplements: Supplements are exactly that, a supplement. Ensure to keep in mind that they are simply a help to what it takes to progress and to reach your goals, not the end-all solution, or the secret weapon. Follow the instructions on the bottle, and utilize Supplements along with other principles mentioned on my plans or in this article, not instead of which can cause regression towards your goals. When done correctly, they can help the recovery process dramatically.


Following these guidelines should hopefully get you set, and going in the right direction to ensure that you don’t induce or make your temporary injury, potentially permanent. Realize that your end-game is to achieve your goals, not be put out of commission to the point to where it is impossible to do so. Patience is the most important factor to have an realizing the your role is to help your body heal through the right choices and actions!