Working Out After an Injury

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Question: It seems that I get hurt outside the gym on a regular basis playing some sport or another. How can I work around an injury and still keep training?
Answer: After an injury you should seek medical attention to insure that you are cleared to train. If you are advised not to train the injured muscle group or joint, when you go to the gym use exercises that train other body parts without stressing the injury. That’s just common sense training and can be done effectively to keep you moving. When you are cleared to fully train but are still experiencing pain in an area there are some techniques that can be used to protect yourself while you workout. The first rule is never push through an injury, work around it.
Experiment with a light weight in the injured area to determine what range and direction of a movement is painful. If it is too severe, don’t push it. Move in another direction or go to a different exercise. Your body will let you know what it is capable of doing. When you find an exercise that doesn’t feel bad, use 50% to 70% of the weight you normally use for 10 reps. Slow down the tempo of the movement. Push through the reps instead of exploding from the bottom of the exercise. Pause at the peak contraction point and lower the weight on a 3 second count instead of the typical 1 to 2 second count. This decreases the stress on the joint and loads the muscle. This method will burn deep in the muscle and does the same job with less weight.
You can also shorten the range of motion for a week or so. Another painful part may be near the top of the rep where the contraction is fullest which also loads stress on the joint. If this is painful, cut the rep a bit short. Use a 3/4 rep range and still use the slow pace on a 3 count down and 3 count up. Working around an injury keeps your training on track while you heal. Being injured can be a drain on your energy level as well. If you find yourself just tired and beat up, it is advisable to shorten your training by cutting out 1/3 of your workout. Do 2 working sets instead of 3 but make this a rare occasion. Finish early, go home and relax.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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