Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself (Again): Effective Post-Injury Training

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In the great world of strength sports, injuries happen. With some rehabilitation and a can-do attitude you can be back and better than ever before you know it. Before you climb back in the saddle to hit the Comeback Trail, here are a few helpful hints that will keep you from re-injuring yourself.

Check Your Ego At The Door

Easier said than done, especially for competitive athletes. We want to train through everything. If you have a moderate injury, that’s the quickest way to make it severe. If you’ve just come back from the bench, it’s the quickest way to be put back on it. No pain, no gain isn’t how a competitive athlete should model his or her training. You have to live to see another session.

With great feats of strength can also come great arrogance. When you are lifting heavy things you can feel like the hero of your own Odyssey. But if Greek mythology taught us anything, it was that excessive pride can ruin the hero. I’m not saying you’ll be turned into a goat or eaten by a three-headed dog if you let your ego stand in your way of recovery, but I am saying you’ll probably reinjure yourself and be miserable for longer than necessary.

If you mess with pain in training for too long, you’ll end up gaining a trip to the doctor and possibly having to sit out for months. Say hi to your doctor for me, ok?

Track Everything
Most people track their workouts but if you’ve had an injury, tracking just your workout won’t help you manage it.
Start tracking how the workouts and warm ups feel. If a certain movement hurts, when it hurts, and how it hurts. Is it a dull pain? Does it go away quickly? Do you not feel pain during the workout but after? You’ll learn body awareness and will be able to differentiate from a manageable pain associated with training and a debilitating pain that’ll leave you on the floor if you keep pushing.
Track your sleep cycles: how much you’re getting, how you felt when you woke up, and any naps you take throughout the day. There are a few Sleep Apps on the market that can track your REM cycle and wake you at the end of one.

 Make sure to be this excited as you track
 Track your mobility and flexibility. Recovery is even more important once you’ve returned to activity.
If you feel comfortable with it, track your food. Consult a trained nutritionist on what you need to be eating. An anti-inflammatory diet can do wonders for certain pains. Check out our Recipes for examples of meals that taste good and will help you in your recovery.
After a while you’ll be able to spot patterns. Those patterns can help you, your coach, and your healthcare professional figure out what works, what doesn’t and how to keep your injury from resurfacing.
Be Adaptable
You have to learn to adapt your session or your plan based on how your body is feeling that day. Your session isn’t set in stone. You want to live to lift another day so if that shoulder isn’t cooperating today, nix the snatches and do some squats. Even percentages can be adapted. Consult your coach and have a game plan in place but don’t let it ruin your session or day if you have to make adjustments.

The quack attack is back jack. Even the Mighty Ducks had to adjust to new teammates in D2 and a new school in D3. They won Junior Good Will Games and the High School Championships. You can too!
Coming back from an injury is frustrating but all of this is just part of the process. You want to continuously take steps forward but some days you’ll get thrown a curveball. Deal with it safely and effectively so you aren’t a permanent member of Team Infirmary.


  1. Phil Castelluzzo says:

    Literally going through all this right now!

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