How To Continue Working Out With An Injury


Now most of us at one point or time in another have been injured before.  In fact if you're active and you're lifting or competing in sports you've probably been injured a couple times.  And it sucks!

So here are a couple quick tips to help you be able to both deal with your injury and learn to train around your particular injury.

Number one...get yourself checked out by a doctor or good physical therapist.

You need to be able to identify accurately what the problem is before you go training around it or through it, in order to avoid injuring it further.

Number two...once you know what the particular issue is and the affected tissue, go and seek out others who've had similar injuries.

Having a competent coach or personal trainer that has had experience with multiple types of injuries and treating others with them can be invaluable in working around your issues.

You can even go on some online forums and do some of your own research to see what's worked for other people with your particular issue, although this can be a bit of a crap shoot on getting the right method for you.

Still having a big pool of resources around what's worked and hasn't worked for other people you're going to have much better results when you attempt your next training session and working around the affected issue.

Realize this isn't a surefire way of dealing with every scenario, but at least you can get some advice on what has and has not worked for other people without having to deal figuring out everything yourself.

Number three...if something hurts DON'T DO IT!  Basic stuff here.  If it hurts just avoid that exercise for a while, or try these things:

a) Unload the movement and do it with just body weight

b) Find a similar movement that doesn't cause any pain (ie. back squats versus front squats)

c) Change the exercise loading (ie. swap from a barbell to a dumbbell or kettlebell)

d) Change the range of motion to one that is pain free (ie. squats to high box squats)

e) Screw it! It all hurts...Then Just Don't Do It!  Train around it and let that tissue rest.  Immobilize it if you have to for a time until it's not aggravated and then work through number four.

Number four...once the pain has stopped and the tissue stops hurting, don't load it up right away.

Instead you want to work your range of motion first.

If you can do a full range of motion, without pain, then you can work some static exercises into the mix to get the strength and stability around that joint and/or tissue.

Finally, after still no pain and you're able to move it pain free and stabilize it under a load whether it's body weight or external resistance, then go ahead and start loading it lightly.

It's going to suck, because you're probably going to start off from ground zero or a very weakened state.  This is fine, work with some light weight that you can get at least 10 repetitions with if not 20 repetitions for a couple sets.

Resistance bands generally work very well for this or machine work, although don't stick with machine work for long as it will just keep your tissues working and not your stabilizing muscles.

Give it some time working (ie. 2-3 weeks) with those higher repetitions so you can ensure it's stable and healed up.  Then you can start increasing the loads slowly back up into your challenging zone.


Don't think that just because you have a boo boo you have stop training all together.  Find out what it is.  Work with either a coach or do research on your own on what's worked with other people.  Train around the affected areas as best you can.  And once it has stopped hurting work through the range of motion and start building the muscle endurance and strength back so you can keep on getting stronger, faster and more resilient.



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Jess Howland

Jesse "Captain Smash" Howland is the owner of SMASH’s Strength Lab, which offers targeted personal training to reach a variety of fitness and physique goals. A natural bodybuilder, competitive powerlifter, certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Jesse is often the go-to resource for personal training Ottawa. He studied Exercise Science at Oregon State University and even trained at the world famous Gold's Gym. He's a former US Army Captain with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a former blog writer at Veterans Fitness Career College, and former Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His workouts and personal training are army-inspired to help reach your weightloss, athletic, or physique goals.