Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Training & Injuries

Sometimes it can feel like a little injury can mean the end of all your hard work, and a halt to your training plans. From little niggles, right up to serious damage, injuries can not only be painful, but also confidence draining. Some more macho trainers and fitness enthusiasts may tell you just to push through an injury, and will quote the oft repeated phrase, 'pain is weakness leaving the body'. This is not a very helpful piece of advice if you are coping with a serious injury, or even just an injury that has the capacity to get worse.

Equally, on the other side of the fence are those who would tell you to stop everything and get bed-rest at the drop of a hat. Sometimes this attitude is just medical practitioners ensuring that they aren't held accountable for future injury, and other times this attitude can stem from laziness and lack of commitment. Ideally you want to find the middle ground, where you can continue training, but without stressing your injury. There has been a lot of research to show that light exercise that works around an injury and accommodates for it, can actually speed progress. While this doesn't mean sprinting on torn ligaments, it may mean that if you have a strain in your right arm, you could work your left longer and harder instead. Studies have shown that working one side of your body can result in mirrored strength increases in the other side of your body. So you don't need to worry that if you work your left instead of your right you will end up freakishly out of proportion.

What this indicates is that it is worth training around an injury, rather than simply vegetating and ruining your hard work. If my PT clients, or the students at my gym have an injury, I try to work out a plan with them where they can still participate, but at their own pace. There is always room to accommodate specific needs, all it takes is a little thought - maybe swapping out high impact exercises for low, or focusing on range of motion and strength rather than speed. There is no reason not to adapt your exercise plan to suit your specific needs, in fact this should be the goal of every good trainer. So if you are training hard and often, its not unlikely for you to get the occasional injury, so accept that the worst may happen, and when it does, be ready to bounce back.

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