Train for long enough with enough intensity, and sooner or later you might be struck with an injury. Slight strains to muscle tears and everything in between, they all pose a hazard to the hard training athlete.
In the past, most people would feel that such an injury could possibly end their competitive or training careers, or seriously limit their potential for progress - not always so.
If you have a game plan and are able to think outside the square, then there is no reason you can not turn the negative of an injury into a positive with accelerated results!
Results revolve around pushing the envelope!
If you want the best results possible, then you need to be willing to give everything you have in the gym. You need to harness all your power and really strive to do something that you have never done before, be that 5kg more in weight or a few additional reps.
It stands to reason that if you always do the same, then you will always stay the same. If you want to improve then you need to be willing to put in the effort and step outside your comfort zone.
This is when ‘real results’ are possible. Think about it, and it covers all sports and in all facets of life; if you want what is slightly out of reach then you just need to go for it!
Don’t let hypothetical injuries put you off!
Sometimes though, things don’t always go to plan and you might end up with the odd injury. When you are chasing your goals with the utmost intensity day in and day out, chances are that one day you will end up with an injury of some degree.
Training intensity is one of those things. To get the best possible results you really need to be prepared to go all out – that is what sets apart mediocre changes from sensational results!
…and if an injury does present itself?
If an injury does present itself, the first thing you need to do is evaluate the severity of the injury, how did the injury happen and what can I now do to continue moving forward?
More times then not, the angst doesn’t come from the injury so much so, but the change to the program that possibly might follow. We often pride ourselves on our unwavering consistency even when things are not going 100% so I believe the first part to managing the injury is a change of action.
It’s funny in a way when you think about it. It’s not the end of the world, you just need to make adjustments. Think about driving down the street and nearing your destination there is road works – what do you do? You won’t sit there and whinge about it, you simply take a different route so we don’t miss a beat, and that is exactly that we will be doing with our training.
Why is it so hard?
I have been in this position so many times myself in the past. It is drummed into us that a little pain is good (more pain better) and what does not kill us will only make us stronger. This is true to an extent, but only when the prognosis is accurate.
If you are looking for a cop out, then you may simply need to re-assess your values. It takes hard work to build a quality physique, but it also takes a lot of ‘smarts’ as well. Training through injuries with no ‘alternative plan’ to manage the area is just plain crazy!
Training hard is one thing, but training smart is something all together!
Undertaken right, there is no reason that you should miss a beat with your training. Granted some injuries will demand time off and in those situations it is completely out of your control. It’s rough I agree, but if you cannot train then direct those energies into more productive avenues such as keeping your diet clean or planning your program for when you come back, instead of whinging about being unable to train.
For most though, if there is a will there is a way – we just need to plan out our course of action:
Step 1 – Self Evaluation: is to evaluate the injury (what is the injury and how will it effect your training).
Step 2 – Training Evaluation at time of injury: is to evaluate when the injury happened (sudden or over time) and how the injury itself actually happened (lifting outside your capabilities, accident, overuse etc)
Step 3 – Training Evaluation post-injury: Ok, so with the above we know what the injury is and how it hurts. We also know when the injury happened and why the injury happened. With that we can now plan some decisive measures to work around it to continue progressing, whilst managing the problem.
For an example, lets that that you have hurt your lower back and the problem occurred during heavy barbell curls. In reviewing your action, you realised that you were attempting to lift far too much weight, your form was a little sloppy and you were using too much ‘swing’ to get the bar up. Effective solutions to continue blasting the biceps whilst minimises more potential harm could be:
- Switch to dumbbells: This may help with weight distribution through the inflamed area (curling one dumbbell at a time, during the hardest part of the rep you will not have as much weight transferring through the lower back)
- Increase the reps: By dropping the weight and increasing the weight, you are still targeting the biceps with max effort if going to failure. This could be from increasing the reps from 4-6 to 10-12
- Go seated: with dumbbell exercises, you could also try sitting down on a high incline bench. You cannot quite use the amount of weight you can standing, but again this forces your form to me tighter which in turn can lead to a different type of contraction.
Again, you are only limited by your imagination here. Don’t think of an injury limiting your abilities, in fact sometimes it can be a blessing in the disguise.
When you are forced change your training program, you need to explore alternative possibilities to generate improvements and as this game is one of continual improvement and learning new things, chances are that after the injury has run its course you will be a better athlete for it!