Working out while injured | Focus on what you CAN do

Exercise regularly? Chances are you’ll experience a workout-related injury at some point or other. How can you continue working out while injured?

I’ve certainly had my share of injuries; shoulder impingement, intercostal muscle strain, undiagnosed “sore” knees and most recently, Achilles tendonitis.

Giving up my workouts is not an option. Not only do I have classes to teach and clients to train, exercising is my number one strategy for dealing with stress and maintaining a sense of balance in my life.

Each and every time I’ve been injured, I’ve had to figure out a way to balance the conflicting demands of maintaining the momentum of my training with resting and rehabilitating my injured body part. Not always an easy thing to do, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  • get a proper diagnosis. See your health care provider (doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist) for a proper diagnosis and, when applicable, treatment. Self-diagnosis via Dr. Google doesn’t count. (I’m currently seeing a physiotherapist for icing, ultrasound, acupuncture and KT taping)

working out while injured

  • determine which movements you shouldn’t be performing. Along with a diagnosis, your health care provider will make recommendations about movements to avoid. (Right now, step class and plyometrics are at the top of my ‘no no’ list)
  • switch up your training priorities. Lower body out of commission? Now’s a great time to work on upper body strength and all-over flexibility. (Need some workout ideas? Check out all the free workouts here on my blog)
  • find movements that don’t involve your injured body part. Knowing a bit of exercise physiology definitely helps, but going slowly, limiting range of motion and listening to your body will help you to find movements that you CAN perform pain free and without aggravating your injury.

After a bit of experimenting, I’ve found two movements that I CAN perform pain-free and that allow me to both train my legs and get a bit of a cardio workout in (step class is my primary form of cardio and although I don’t love cardio, my body needs it for sleep and weight management…).

Watch the two short videos below to see how I’m working out while injured!

Apparently, I’ve written about injuries a lot 🙂  Check out the following posts if you need ideas for exercises you can do while recovering from a knee injury or an intercostal muscle strain.

Workout ideas while recovering from a knee injury

Workout ideas while recovering from intercostal muscles strain

Have you ever been side-lined by a workout-related injury?

What did you do?

I’d love it if you’d share your tips and exercise suggestions for working out while injured; you never know who they might help! 


How do you deal with setbacks?

Two great days of spot-on nutrition and great workouts! Feeling like I can soooo do this! Then, whammo, the unexpected; injury.

I was working through my third set of dumbbell step ups (25 lbs per hand), concentrating really hard on not cheating, feeling that lovely, near exhaustion burn in my left quad when, boing, my knee turned ever so slightly in. You just tweaked it, I told myself. Try one more. Ouch!

Okay, more than a tweak. Probably a twist or a mild sprain. I attempted to work through the rest of my push presses, but even that little half squat was causing pain. I finished early, iced and ibuprofened and hoped it would feel better in the morning.

It’s morning now, and although it does feel less swollen, I’m walking down stairs gingerly and thinking that it’s a good thing I don’t have to spin this morning!

Today was to have been another NROL day, and since I’m out with girlfriends tonight and planning on cashing in a splurge or two :), I really need to get some sort of a workout in today.

My plan? Combine the upper body portions of yesterday’s and today’s workouts (minus the squat on the push press) and add in some no-impact cardio on the Arc trainer. Then, rest, ice and ibuprofen again so I can teach step on Sunday morning.

Have you had a minor set back in your training? How did you deal with it?