Although it would be great to have a lifelong practice, injury free. This simply is not the reality, injuries are a part of the game. We can choose to let injuries bring us down or allow them to bring us forward. We can learn a lot from the injuries we sustain; what not to do, changes in volume, how to heal, and a better connection with our bodies to name a few. In this short entry, I will talk about how to go about experimenting with your injury and how your training can be adjusted.
How to heal injuries
This concept is very complex, so I will break it down into digestable junks for you to chew on.
- BASIC PATTERNS: Are you able to do basic patterns with no pain or restriction? Can you squat, hang, put weight on your hands, move your spine, walk, jump, etc.? If this is limited, this should be where we put our energy into healing. Find what you are unable to do, find a regression that you can do and slowly build up.
- WHAT CAN YOU DO: What are you able to do despite the injury? Is the injury only part of the upper body or does it effect most that you do? The severity of your injury will be partly dictated by this answer. Is your injury very specific or more general?
- WHAT CAN YOU NOT DO: What does the injury limit you from doing? Are you able to find a regression that causes no pain and does not add further damage? Find what you cannot do and find a way to do without pain.
- VOLUME > INTENSITY: When you are injured, volume is a bigger friend than intensity. We want to do much more volume at a much lower intensity. This is to bring blood to the area to promote healing. If you go too intense or do too much you can end up further damaging the area. I am a fan of low intensity full ROM movements to the specific area with HIGH volume.
- HIGHER FREQUENCY: Frequency is your friend. Instead of spending an hour a day rehabbing an area, a better idea would be 20minutes of rehab 3times per day. This ensures blood is moving throughout the day instead of in one small part of the day. Spread out your rehab to get as much frequency as possible, throughout the day, everyday.
Adjusting your training
Now obviously, if you’ve injured your lower body you are still able to perform all your upper body work. I however, think it is wrong to totally neglect the injured area. We want to move that part of the body as much as possible! Adjust your movements and regress them (either by weight, complexity, volume, etc.) so you are still able to perform them without pain. As your injury begins to heal you can slowly begin to get back to normal training. Now as far as the uninjured areas, this can be a good time to spend more time on the weak links in your uninjured parts of the body. If your lower-body is injured , spend more time to work on upper body elements.
The main point is, injuries are not all bad. They can be a good ‘punch in the face’ to wake us up to what we need to work on. Use your injuries to your advantage.