Injuries. They sometimes seem inevitable. You train sensibly, you follow your programme, warm up, cool down, stretch, foam roll and do assistance and rehab. Yet still luck occasionally seems to be against you and you get injured.
So what do you do now?
In my experience, both as an athlete and a coach there are numerous ways to deal with an injury, and often you will go through them all during an injured phase!
This is often the first reaction you will arrive at. Wallowing in self pity. You can’t train as you would want to, so what’s the point? Why not just stay at home and eat peanut butter? Out of the jar. With your hands. This is not the way!
This can come next. The ‘fuck it’ factor. You get your ass down to the gym and attempt to push yourself through your session anyway. A bit of pain never hurt anyone, right? Wrong, you will probably make your injury worse!
Half Arseing it
Most people settle on this. Doing a few bits that you can manage without pain, and moaning about it every step of the way. It’s better than the previous two options, but still not the one!
This is the winner. It takes a little discipline and some planning, but this is the solution. So what do I mean by smart training?
Firstly an objective assessment of the injury, and a prognosis is required. This is best done in conjunction with a coach, physiotherapist or doctor. This will allow you to effectively settle on the movements and intensities that it is advisable to include, and those that it is wise to avoid.
Secondly, look at what movements and treatments you should be including to speed up and maximise your healing. If this involves medication ensure you consult your doctor, and seek advice on things like foam rolling and corrective exercises from your coach or movement specialist.
Finally, set some goals that you can focus on that aren’t impacted by your injury. Can’t squat because of a knee injury? Prioritise your bench press and work on improving that! Shoulder impingement preventing overhead work? Concentrate on your unilateral leg stability and strength. There is always something you can do!
I dislike using tired old clichés as conventional wisdom. Yet in this case such gems as ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ or ‘for every door that closes another opens’ are definitely applicable. Perhaps they will give you food for thought about how you approach your training.
Injury, or Opportunity?