Injuries and How to Train Around Them
The Curse of the Elite (and not so elite) Athlete
by Chris Young
I’m going to hit you with the best line first – When injured concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t!
Injuries will happen; especially when you’re performing at a high level; it’s something you’re going to have to deal with at one time or another. It’s how you react to an injury that really matters.
I’ll give you an example which only happened last week. My training partners and I were performing a max effort lower body session; it was 3 days after a particularly nasty dynamic effort session. We had all done our Squats and had moved onto Deadlifts; one of my partners and I were feeling beaten up from the session 3 days before. Another partner had pulled his adductor a couple of days before while messing around trying to do the splits; he had Squatted well but now said that the injury was too much and he was done with training for the day. The two of us who were beaten up from the previous session brought our stance in and did Rack Pulls which were easier on our painful hips but just as tough (or worse) on everything else.
There are two messages here:
- Don’t mess with the splits, and
- There are many alternatives; pick one that doesn’t hurt and do it. Concentrate on what you can do (close stance Rack Pulls), not what you can’t (Deadlifts).
This boy isn’t going to be playing again for a while!
Learn from the injury, and act on what you’ve learnt.
When you do get injured you need to figure out why it happened. Is your warm up comprehensive enough? Are there muscle imbalances caused either through training, playing a sport, the type of work you do, or some other lifestyle factor? Find out why and take action to fix it.
Seeing the right person and doing what you’re told!
Depending on where you live will depend on who you see to some extent. In the UK one would see their GP (doctor), and then probably be referred to a physiotherapist. If this is similar for you then do what the physio tells you!
My girlfriend for the last 12 years is a physio, and an all too common exchange would be “have you been performing your exercises?” Answer – “well”, followed by bullshit excuse, and finally “no”. How the hell are you going to get better if you don’t take any action?
In other countries (and the UK!) see a professional, not a quack! Quacks include Chiropractors, there are some good ones but the very premise of Chiropractic puts me off, complementary / alternative therapists, especially if they’re homeopathic, what a con that is! Chinese medicine practitioners, most nutritional gurus spouting stuff about water food, or a blood group diet or a multitude of other thing which I’ll probably cover in another article. One last comment for you –western medicine works!
Not the best technique!
Managing the injury.
With some injuries you’ll be in pain much of the time (especially back injuries), a very general tool I use is to gauge my pain on a 1-10 scale, 1 being hardly any pain, 10 being go to the hospital! Whatever the level of pain I don’t want it to get any worse while I’m training; if it does then I stop what I’m doing and do something else.
If you have a competition that’s important to you then you might consider training on painkillers or on an anti inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen; although I wouldn’t do this for very long myself. I have however, used ibuprofen to help me sleep so that I do recover…Oh yeah, that’s a good one, sleep; and here’s another, eat good food; that will help recovery too.
As I said before select exercises which don’t make the injury worse; and strengthen your weak point(s); address any imbalances; and make sure that you warm up.
Unless yo’ve been instructed otherwise by a professional (not a quack) do something; keep the body moving in some way. Concentrate on what you can do, not what you can’t!
Eat good food; get lots of sleep.
Don’t skimp on the warm up; work on your weaknesses, and address your imbalances.
Even if you do all these things you’ll still get injured; all you can control is how you react to it.
Chris is a British and World Champion Drug Free Powerlifter who has worked in the fitness industry since 1985, he currently runs the gym at the very prestigious Spa at Pennyhill Park (http://www.thespa.uk.com). Along with Powerlifting, Chris has competed nationally in Martial Arts, and has dabbled in Drug Free Bodybuilding.
Because he has been involved in sport all his life he has had, and recovered from many injuries which you really don’t want to hear about, that makes him an expert on the subject. ;) Chris can be contacted through www.getmightynow.com.