How to Continue Training Even During an Injury

Having an injury doesn't necessarily mean that you should stop training completely and get out of shape. Learn techniques that will enable you to keep training and stay in shape when you're injured.

By Zander de la Rey
Edited by Tom Amitay

Published February 25, 2021.

Injuries are common among professional and amateur athletes. It often happens that those who love being fit and healthy get an injury that "sends them to the bench" for a long time. Nevertheless, there are several techniques you can use to keep training and stay in shape even while you're injured.

In the past, physical therapists used to order patients to rest completely until their injury has passed. In some cases, such as herniated disc, for example, patients were not to leave their beds unless they absolutely have to. Nowadays, however, the medical community has learned that movement is an important part of recovery, so the approach has changed.

In this post, I will share some of my experience as a professional athlete who has gone through injuries and recoveries quite a few times. Although these techniques have helped me, I strongly recommend that you consult with a professional before using them.

Active Recovery /cross-training

Let's say you have a leg injury. You now switch your focus to training your core muscles or even seated weight exercises, for instance. Your body is getting daily exercise while putting less strain on the injured area. If you have an upper-body injury, try spending time on the spinning bike, treadmill, or even leg extension machines. This is a great way to remain fit, healthy, and strong whilst giving rest to the affected area at the same time.

Hydrotherapy and Aqua Training

Aqua aerobics and water exercises enable you to train while taking the weight off your body. So, you can engage muscles without putting weight on your joints and bones. For that reason, many professional athletes who have suffered an injury start their recovery in the pool.

Compression

Using a compression garment or even a compression bandage on the injured area while training can reduce inflammation and swelling. I recommend compression only for the duration of the training and a few hours after. Never compress for the full day, as natural blood circulation is still required for healing.

Ice Bath

When it comes to treating inflammation and swelling, nothing comes close to an ice bath. They bring great relief to injured muscles, stimulate the nervous system and even relieve pain.

After a workout, prepare an ice bath with a water temperature of about 10 degrees celsius. Stay in the bath for about 5- 10 minutes to cool down the inflammation and swelling. Make sure you don't exceed 15 minutes in the water.

Progressive Overload

When increasing the intensity, frequency, or duration of workouts, do so in a gradual manner. Give the body enough recovery time between training sessions, and closely monitor progress> If there is too much pain or swelling on the injured area after training, rather cut back a bit.

Be Careful and Patient

The most important message that I want to send across in this post is that you don't necessarily have to stop training if you're injured. Even while recovering from severe injuries and with professional guidance, one can exercise.

So, have the utmost patience if you train while injured, follow professional guidance, and most importantly, don't lose hope because every day you train is a win.