Just a quick post on injuries. First off, they’re part of the game. Anyone who tells you differently, is not being honest. Mark Rippetoe said “Accumulating injuries are the price we pay for the thrill of not having sat around on our asses.”
Now, that doesn’t mean you should be hurting yourself all the time either. In fact, it really is a ROI decision for most. If you want to never get injured working out, stay home and sit on the couch. If you want to limit the possibilities of being injured and also make fitness a part of your life, get a good coach, learn how to move properly and hold back a little on purpose, never going for that 100% effort. If you are a little stupid, like me, and want to see how far you can push your body and work at that 100% effort sometimes, well the reward is there, but the risk of injury will be higher too!
Knowing the risks and making your decision of where you’re comfortable on the spectrum, let’s talk about what happens when you’re injured. Should you stop training? I’ve been training for 20+ years now and the answer for me is always: Hell no! Working out is too much of an integral part of my life to consider taking it out. I get too much out of it. About 3 years ago, I lost focus on a heavy deadlift and had the worst injury I’ve ever experienced. I could barely walk. Sleeping was miserable and daily tasks were tough! However, I only took 2 days off from the gym. On day 3, I was doing what I could do, in my condition. It wasn’t much! I think it was standing strict presses and biceps curls, if I recall.
There’s a few reasons that you should continue training while injured.
- Exercise will actually make the recovery process quicker. The increased blood flow will help repair soft tissue damage.
- The mental aspect of training will help fight off the “blues” that can come with an injury. As an athlete, we get that rush of feel good hormones, endorphins, etc., when we train. To remove that stimulus and stop, cold turkey, is not helpful. Add that to the fact that you’re already not feeling great physically, and likely mentally, because of decreased performance, and you’re setting yourself up to be in pretty bad spot.
- You may just be able to focus on something entirely different and make progress! For example, I’m nursing a trap injury right now, that’s making any pulling motion very painful. BUT, I can squat! So I’ll load up that bar and focus on back squats for a bit.
Keep training hard! (and smart!)