Maintaining Strength While Recovering from an Injury
While no one wants to get injured, if you’re a driven athlete it’s bound to happen. TEAM PEAK athlete Eric Todd is here with some advice on how to keep training with an injury.
This largely depends on the type of injury you are dealing with. First priorities must be given to maintaining overall health while recovering from the injury as quickly and completely as possible. So my first advice with any injury is to stay active!
My worst injury was a pretty significant back injury. I was pretty much unable to lift any weight at first due to the pressure that kind of exertion would place on my discs that were trying to heal. So instead of lifting, I focused on staying active by walking. I walked, walked, and walked some more. When I was able, I picked up a 5 lb. dumbbell and did high repetition movements from my chair, just to keep good blood flow. When I was cleared to start back into real lifting, the lifts came back pretty quickly.
Then you have injuries that are easier to work around. When I had a badly sprained ankle, I was not doing much squatting and deadlifting for a while, but I could do plenty of seated work and bench press with my feet in the air. While I have never torn a bicep, I have seen people deadlift after having them reattached by using a tow strap around their neck that is attached to the bar. There are plenty of ways you can work around injuries to one limb or another. Sometimes you just need to get creative.
One word of warning when getting creative, though. Be aware of what your default would be if you are about to miss the lift. After my elbow surgery, I was tempted to try some front squats while just holding on with my left arm and keeping my right, injured arm in the “superman” position. I decided against it, as I was aware that if I were in the neighborhood of missing or losing the lift, my go-to would be to grab the bar with my right, subjecting it to further injury and setting me back in my recovery.
In conclusion, there are ways by which you can work around many injuries to help you maintain your strength; however, the most important thing is to get the injury to recover and heal up so that you can return to your normal training routine as quickly as possible.
TEAM PEAK Athlete Eric Todd