We humans, specifically athletes, tend to get injured. Now, when I say athletes, I mean anyone from the professional athlete, to the blue collar guy that goes to the gym daily to bust his ass. If you work hard, eat right, and stay dedicated, you’re an athlete in my book.
So let’s move on: Injuries suck. They not only kill you physically, but they also bring you down mentally and emotionally. Whether it’s a three month long shoulder injury, or a one month long leg injury, an injury does not necessarily mean you need to halt all exercising completely.
Yes, you need to be more careful (way more careful), but you should do the exact opposite of stopping your workouts. You should take this time to catch up on some under-trained muscles (you know you got ’em. Nobody’s perfect).
Let’s say you injure your shoulder. It sucks because I know from from experience. Let me ask you this – if you can’t use your shoulders, does that automatically mean you can’t use your legs? It doesn’t seem so to me. But most athletes will wallow in their own self-pity, and stop working out altogether, regardless of where the injury is.
Don’t get me wrong here- there are some injuries that require total rest. But if you know you can still function with different parts of your body, why sit on the couch all day? Why not do what raises those endorphins and makes you feel better? An isolated injury is not the end of your world; it is just a temporary hiatus for THAT SPECIFIC injury. That’s all.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
You tore that rotator cuff? Ouch! But that just means it’s time to bring up that lower body strength.
You do not work one shoulder only (as that will build heavy imbalance in the deltoids). Switch over to the lower body and the core, which should not be impacted by your shoulder.
With a shoulder injury, you will find it difficult to do chest or back or triceps or biceps (but that depends on the injury of course), so take it downstairs, and build up some big strong tree trunks and a nice cut core. Rest that shoulder and make sure to rehab that shoulder properly so you can come back strong, but don’t rest your whole body for the recovery time of your injury. That’s just going backwards.
Picking the exercises should be done carefully, since there are some lower body exercises (squat in particular) that could put some strain on the shoulder by pressing on it, so make sure to find exercises that are suitable for you to complete with good intensity, dependent on the severity of your injury.
On the flip side, let’s say you have a leg injury. Does that mean you can’t bench or do certain back or other upper body exercises? It might, but only you will know that. If you can’t squat, do upper body work. But only if your injury allows you to do so without making it worse, of course. My recommendation is to do more seated upper body work, so that excess strain is not put on the lower body, from static pressure.
Did you pull a groin muscle? Well my friend, that sucks! Depending on how bad the pull is, you should still be able to hit the lower body. However, it will be pretty damn hard to get low in a squat. There are variations of squats, such as the half squat- which can be pretty damn good too assuming the weight is heavy enough and the form is good.
The deadlift can also be a good exercise for a groin pull. The starting position for the deadlift is almost like a half squat, and it puts minimal strain on the groin in either portion of the movement. If the pull is severe, you will still feel the pain with the deadlift (or any lower body movement for that matter)
Bottom Line – Keep Lifting if You Can!
Basically where I’m going with this is just because you are injured in an isolated area, it doesn’t mean that training has to come to a standstill. There are other things you can do while you are recovering.
Most people think just because they have an injury it’s a valid excuse to take time off and forget about the rigors of training and eating clean. Some people use it as justification, and others just do not know any better.
Well, folks, use common sense! An isolated injury does not mean your gym time is done until you are fully recovered. Catch up on some lacking muscles, or enhance the muscles you can while you wait. When you can come back to full strength, you’ll be ready to hit the newly rested muscles super hard, prioritizing them.
Nothing more to add really; just add a little pep to those that think you should not workout at all while recovering or rehabbing. No excuses!