Training Around An Injury

*Note* This article is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional or physical therapist.

My first gym-related injuries of note occurred around 8 years ago.

Over the span of a year, I injured myself twice on trapbar deadlift and traditional deadlift respectively.

After the second injury, I had to ask myself what was more important: To find ways to continue to use those lifts in my training plans or to find ways to make progress without them.

I chose the latter.

You’ll find people out there who could take similar circumstances and roll the dice differently for themselves but it was a decision I was comfortable making.

Now, when I do those lifts, it’s at a very low weight and only enough to show a client how to perform the lifts for themselves.

My lower back has remained a vulnerable area ever since.

Fortunately, I know enough about how my body behaves to know which exercises provide more risk than reward. I’m also fortunate that I have someone overseeing my training plans (Shout out to Nick Morton) for helping me stay in the gym with as little time off as possible.

Nevertheless, sometimes aches and pains come along and they can be significant enough to make me rethink how my body moves.

A few months ago, I started dealing with a pain that was affecting my left pec, shoulder and triceps. As a result, I removed all pressing movements from my routine. The good news is that, despite the injury, I’m making perfectly good progress with pulling movements, some bicep/tricep work, and leg work. When the left side starts acting right again, the pressing exercises can shift back in.

Often, people take their injuries and stop training.

Please don’t read what I’m not writing, depending on the nature of the injury, you may need some time off.

However, I’ll do everything possible to keep my body moving in every way that I can.

I do that for several reasons:

-I hate giving up.

-My body can still be used in a variety of ways to make progress.

-It makes me feel physically and mentally better to move my body.

-I would much rather have the soreness of a workout over the soreness of being sedentary (Even though soreness is not an indicator of an effective workout.)

-It helps me to be a better coach when the modifications I can make for myself could also serve my clients as well.

I’m fortunate to have a stable of people who also help me recover as quickly as possible since the demands of my job mean that I don’t get a ton of physical recovery. Shout out to Dr. Robert Ault (Ault Chiropractic), Dr. Austin Foguth (SCOR Performance and Recovery, Dr. Aline Mille (Gaitkeeper PT) and my massotherapist Tom Young (Gavin Scott Salon & Spa).

The goal for me is strength for a lifetime. I can’t do it on my own, I need my “team” behind me and I have to take the ideal with the less than ideal and make it all work.

I don’t need a flawless body. I need one that can handle the stress and strain of everything that comes its way.