Once you've been training hard and seeing great results, it's hard to let anything stop you. However, can you still workout with an injury? The best way to handle an injury is to prevent it in the first place. But if you're already stuck with one, here's a few suggestions to take so you can keep training and take care of yourself.
Test Out Movements
And we mean ALL movements that you would typically do in a workout. And by test, we mean work through as much of the range of motion of an exercise as possible with zero additional resistance and without feeling any pain. For example, if your shoulder bothers you, extend your arms above your head or do the motion of a workout first before adding any weights. Test every exercise - even one's you don't suspect a problem with. If you feel pain, skip it. If the movement was okay, then continue cautiously. Something to also keep in mind is just because you have pain with a push movement, does not necessarily mean you will have pain with a pull. So test both and all movements before ditching a workout.
Focus On Weaknesses
An injury encourages you to be more creative with your workouts. When you get injured, you start thinking more outside of the box to find an opportunity in the obstacle. So basically, try to look at an injury as an opportunity for you to focus on a weakness. Working out with an injury will actually help you strengthen your weaknesses and become more well-rounded and better-equipped. For instance, if you always do back squats, but now can only do a front squat, then you get to work at that skill more.
Avoid Certain Workouts
Depending on where your injury is, depends on what kind of workouts you can do. Below is a good, general guideline of what to avoid with each body part:
Lower Back Pain: no squats, deadlifts, or additional resistance where your shoulders are higher than your hips. Try the bench press.
Wrist Pain: no traditional push ups or front squats. Focus on your shoulders and try alleviating pain with a push up bar or knuckle push ups.
Elbow Pain: no upper body exercise whatsoever. Focus on lower body work such as barbell squats, lunges, and sprinting.
Shoulders & Hip Pain: These are hard and you're going to have to test it first. Start slow and light, and back off the second you feel any pain.
Knee Injury: no squatting, lunging, and jumping. Try kettlebell swings or boxing drills to stay in shape.
Ankle Injury: no high-impact movements, such as jumping. Try seated versions of movements such as rows and overhead presses.
Be Sure To Rest
And by rest, we mean completely stop doing movements that cause you pain until you are healed. You have an injury, and it's not going heal properly if you keep working it. Not to mention, you can cause further damage on the injury. Therefore if you're thinking about working out with an injury, be sure to do the below:
- Seek a medical opinion
- Be smart with your exercise selection
- Step up your nutrition and sleep
- Be aware of training opportunities that you would not have considered without the injury
So the answer to if you can still workout with an injury is yes - most of the time. As long as you're smart about it and putting your health first.