Training with an injury

This is no doubt opening the proverbial “can of worms” here; so, for the record, I will of course start by stating: ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE before attempting to exercise on an injury.

To exercise or not to exercise…

For some types of injury, such as pulled muscle or ligament strain however, although advisable to lay off exercise in the early days to assist recovery, extended rest can lead to muscle atrophy (wastage); indeed, if not managed properly, you may never return to your former glory.
Obviously depending on the what muscle or ligament is injured, with a little thought, you can exercise without needing to fully engage the injured body-part, or otherwise isolate with light exercise. As a rule of thumb, you should look to “train under the pain” – to adapt an old bodybuilding term. What I mean by this is, by incrementally increasing weight and repetitions until the injury starts to give mild discomfort – this then is your upper limit. By using this approach, you should minimise time to recovery; and continue to “Ride the Motivational Wave”.

Let’s consider a typical injury: Bicep Tendonitis (Shoulder/Bicep pain with arm outstretched and palm facing upward).
Many people will have experienced a pain in the upper part of their Bicep at sometime during their gym career. More often than not this is Bicep Tendonitis, which is in my opinion caused by exercising with the elbows drawn forward during Bicep Curls. Although fairly easy to diagnose, it is notoriously difficult to recover from.

Massage and Heat-Ice treatment can help to relieve the pain, but to recover faster from this, I have found light exercise works best. For example:

  • Assisted pull-ups, lowering down slowly under own bodyweight
  • Bicep curls (elbows back!) using a resistance band.

So contrary to popular belief, resting can sometimes can be bad for recovery and may prolong the injury.

Also regarding Nutrition…

Nutrition is vital to recovery, as is the right food supplements, such as elevated levels of Iron and Vitamin C. Also, although I am often sceptical of herbal remedies, I have personally found Ecinacea to be effective – but others may not experience the same results.

2 thoughts on “Training with an injury

  • October 6, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Don’t just hope the pain will go away. If you feel an injury coming on, cut back on training or stop altogether. The sooner the damage control starts, the sooner you can get back to work. A minor injury for 1 or 2 weeks is far better than a major one for 1 or 2 months. Don’t you agree?

    • October 7, 2020 at 8:11 am

      Absolutely. Too many times I have tried to return too soon, only to regret it later. A good point worth noting.

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