When you exercise regularly, being side-lined by an injury sucks.
Not only does it derail you from your fitness goals, it messes with your head. You start to doubt your ability to return to your previous level of fitness, wondering if you’ll ever be back at 100% again.
Some people push too hard, too quickly and end up re-injured. Others give up entirely. There’s a fine line between challenging the injury enough to aid recovery and over-doing it.
As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I’ve taught and trained many people recovering from soft tissue injuries. Torn ACL’s, tight IT bands, strained rotator cuffs and impinged shoulders. I’ve also had my fair share of injuries, including a recent (and very painful!) intercostal muscle strain.
My suggestions for strength training after an injury?
- Seek professional help immediately. Although many injuries heal on their own (given enough time) others require specific stretching and strengthening exercises to maintain range of motion and minimize further aggravation. In my experience, physiotherapy and chiropractic care are the best places to start.
- Follow the advice of your practitioner (you’d be surprised how many people don’t!). Your physiotherapist or chiropractor will give you specific exercises to do. Do them! Don’t stop doing them after a week or a month. Or even when your injury starts to feel better. Build them into your recovery training plan, gradually progressing them as you regain strength.
- Don’t expect to perform at the same level you did before for a long time. Turn off that little voice in your brain that constantly compares your current performance to what you used to be able to do. You’ll get there (or close to there) again.
- Go slow. Rehab and corrective exercises should not be performed to fatigue. You shouldn’t feel delayed onset muscle soreness the day after you do them like you might after a heavy chest and back day. The goal of rehabilitation is to REHAB the muscle, not build size.
- Don’t forget the rest of your body! ACL injured? You can still do pushups, pullups, bicep curls and core work. Biceps tendonitis? Squats and lunges and planks are for you. Work around the injury. Be creative with your workouts. Enlist the help of a personal trainer if you need ideas!
Do I follow my own advice? You bet!
Here are the 3 core exercises I’m doing daily to regain strength after injuring my intercostals:
(This video is part of a YouTube challenge to Vlog Every Day in August [VEDA]. Head on over to my YouTube channel to see what else I’ve been vlogging about!)
Have you ever suffered from an exercise-related injury?
How did you go about strength training afterwards?
Disclaimer: Although I am a BCRPA-certified Personal Trainer, I AM NOT a physiotherapist or chiropractor. The above suggestions are general and likely to apply to a broad range of situations. For recommendations specific to your own injury and rehabilitation, please make an appointment to see a local physiotherapist or chiropractor