If you have been injured lately and you feel like you are ready to return to the gym, you may be concerned about aggravating the injury, and rightly so. You should follow your doctor’s instructions, and you should return to active training only if they have given you the green light.
Even when your doctor says it is safe to return to training, you should still be cautious and careful not to re-injure yourself. More likely than not, your gym has different classes for different purposes. You can use less demanding forms of exercise until you are ready to resume full training.
Focus on Your Recovery
No matter how serious your workout used to be before the injury, you should put it on the backburner until you are fully healed. Your body will naturally put more resources into repairing the damage than it does to build new muscle anyway, so make sure that you work in concord with your own body. Exposing the uninjured parts of your body to your standard intensity, won’t produce results because your body will divert the resources to where they are needed most.
That means that you should reduce the weight that you lift as well as the amount of repetition you are doing. You can slowly begin to increase these as you recover, but start slow and low and work your way up, like when you were just starting out. In a way, you are just starting out after a prolonged break.
Pain Is Not Gain
A lot of gym enthusiasts like to say ‘no pain no gain’. Even if that is true for regular gym goers, pain can indicate a wholly different thing to a person recovering from an injury. Our bodies use pain as an indicator that something is wrong and that we should stop doing it. Even though it can be annoying and counterproductive at times, in this situation, pain is your ally.
If you feel pain in the part of the body which was previously injured, stop your workout and rest until you can assess whether it was just a warning or if you actually caused some additional damage. If you did, consult your physician immediately.
If your injury was arm-related, you can still do plenty of exercises to keep you fit and primed without risking aggravating the injury. You can even exercise your arm to the extent it feels safe to you by limiting the range of motion.
Simply find out what part of the full exercise feels awkward and avoid it by shortening the movement. If you are doing curls, go only as far as you can without pain. With reduced repetitions and the limited motion, you will still get some exercise minimizing the muscle loss without causing further damage to your injury.
Most doctors are very cautious about shoulder injury and they generally do not recommend exercising until the injury has fully healed. However, if you feel like you can handle the workout, you can use the power rack as the primary exercise tool. Just like with arms, you need to limit your exercise to the movements which do not cause you pain or discomfort and seriously reduce the number of reps.
Leg injuries tend to be particularly tricky, since you need legs to do the majority of exercises, including deadlift, squats, and even light exercises such as cardio. However, if you start slow, you can actually help your ligaments and tendons to return to the pre-injury levels of elasticity and strength.
As you recover, you can increase the intensity of your workout, as well as the range of exercises you can do. Finally, you will be able to return to your full workout without fearing recurring injuries.