How to Train Through Injuries You Ask? Can everyone handle the truth? You sure?
The simple, extremely accurate, most frustrating answer that everyone will hate and no one wants to hear including myself is… DO NOT train through SERIOUS injuries! It just doesn’t work.
*The more fun and complex answer. It depends on the injury and severity*
If it is a moderate to severe injury I want you to ask yourself:
A. Are you Steph Curry and need to play Game 7 of the NBA finals with a bad ankle?
B. Are you about to sign a $30 million a year deal for the Niners and need to complete a workout to sign the deal?
C. Are you Luke Skywalker about to fight Darth Vader for rule of the galaxy?
D. Is a bear about to eat you?
E. Are you trying to beat Jose Cong in something at Croga?
Unless you are in any of these categories, you should not try and push through a workout or strenuous activity with a severe injury (except that last one, Jose will just win anyway, so don’t try it.)
Key: Main point is that trying to push through a workout with a moderate to high level of pain or
discomfort can lead to more drastic injuries, that completely take you out of the activity you love for good. There should only be rare instances when you need to keep pushing through injury.
Recommendation: With moderate to severe injuries, alter or take out those activities that stress that area, but still train other areas at high intensity. If its neck/shoulder pain, still go hard on core and legs and vice versa for a lower extremity injuries.
At the same you want to rehab these injured areas. Make sure to:
1) Talk to the Coach* 2) Alter activity 3) See a Physical Therapist 4) Retrain movement
Consider Types of Pain:
There are types of pain to push through, and ones to not push through.
You should avoid pushing through any of the following: Sharp, shooting, radiating, or numb
Stiffness, soreness, and aches are generally ok. They should loosen up with a warm up.
Keeping up with mobilization and stretching will help.
If you are dealing with a less serious injury… like some tightness/ stiffness/ soreness
Overuse: Running, biking, swimming, rowing, highly repetitive activities
Underuse: Sitting, driving, computer use all day
CAS: Chronic Aging Syndrome – ie, getting older
Can you stretch it out? – make sure to stretch it
Does it respond to heat/cold – use heat/cold
Does it feel better with mobilization – mobilize the crap out of it – foam roll, lacrosse ball
Do you experience it with certain movements or exercise: Have a coach look at it
Have a coach look at it
Go to PT if still problematic
If tight, stiff, sore:
You should be able to warm these areas up and get through without drastic consequences.
***If this is a low level injury, then you should be able to continue working out, but you still alter what movements you are doing. Anything that puts stress on that area, should be discontinued. This does not mean you cannot workout, but does mean you should alter what you are doing. Which I know all the coaches are great at***
Advice: When dealing with injuries: Think and act like the Pros
I like to use the professionals as a good example. If we really look at these professionals (not just Jimmy G ladies), we can see trends and patterns that we should apply to us as well.
Pro athlete: This person’s body is literally their whole career, so they need to keep it in top shape, for the longest period of time. They are trying to get high quality performance for the longest amount of time.
This should be the same concept that we all have for all our bodies.
When Steph Curry injures his ankle, he stays out of the line up (while rehabbing) until he can return (unless it is serious game).
The Pros do not play when they should not. It will cost them and their franchise too much money and time. They have routines, and they stick to them. They warm up, mobilize, stretch, and ice consistently.
Warm up – Significant for performance – gonna need that foreplay
Good habit to get into, extra warm up, specifically to areas that you know are tight. Tight muscles make you susceptible to injury. So doing activities specific to your tight areas are important.
The idea is to get blood flow and warmth to the muscles so that they become more pliable and less susceptible to strains, sprains, and tears.
Keep Mobilizing – yes this hurts, sometimes my feelings – just keep looking in the mirror and telling yourself you are tough even though the foam roller makes you want to cry
What everyone should be aware of is that you should be doing some form of mobilization and stretching everyday whether you are working out or not. Use the foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other mobilizers as much as possible. I see a lot of people using them after a workout, but should definitely use them before as well.
Stretching – Yes this sucks, boring also, mainly sucks – The bigger capital S in stretching is for sucks
Static stretching is also very important…it is not as sexy as the dynamic routine but it is just as important for preventing injuries. Static is the old fashioned type of stretching where you hold one position and feel a stretch for greater than 30 seconds. It takes time I know.
This is important because when a muscle is “short”, as in the muscle length is less than normal or optimal, the only way to get it to a good length is to stretch that muscle. Meaning if you just mobilize these areas with foam roller, you might be able to get muscle knots out, but you can’t get it longer. That is why stretching is essential.
This can be important for muscle imbalances, specifically with people with shoulder pain. Often the pecs become too short and overdeveloped, which pulls the shoulders forward, and can pinch the rotator cuff and/or labrum. Then with repeated overhead movements, tears can occur.
Ice – yes its cold, and sucks more than stretching – I have to convince myself and talk myself into icing every time- *deep breath* “you can do this”
Ice after your workouts. It’s cold and cold sucks, its uncomfortable but it can help delay or prevent inflammation from building up. When Madison Bumgarner is out of the game he is immediately icing.
What about heat? – Who doesn’t like a hot shower in the morning?
Heat is great for stiff areas, as long as they are not new injuries, new injuries usually have inflamed tissues and need ice, and heat can make it worse. If it’s an older or more chronic injury with associated stiffness, then heat is great. Heat is good before a workout as well. Heat packs are great at home, but before workouts, icy hot, bengay, rock sauce, and salonpas all do well.