Lifting With Injuries

What do you do if you suffer a somewhat minor injury?  As a meathead and fitness junky what the hell do we do?  The key focal point here is a "somewhat minor" injury.  I am assuming your limbs are still attached and nothing is broken.  If you have a broken arm and you are attempting to do max bench presses, you are an idiot.  If this is something more serious go to a doctor.  For the purposes of this article think of beat up joints and muscle pulls to body parts such as your elbows and shoulders.

I recently tweaked my elbow so I am living through this right now.

Day Off

When you first encounter something as I did with a tweaked elbow or sore shoulder I would take at least one day off.  I don't care what bodypart you had scheduled to train that day, if something feels off with your body, take one or two days off is a mandatory approach.  More times than not this will completely address the issue as general fatigue could have set in and your body just needs a break.  Some would argue that we should be scheduling in a week off every few weeks, which I think is plain craziness.  If I take two days off in a row for shits and giggles my workouts will be shit when I return.  

I heavily believe in high frequency training where some form of strength training and cardio work is performed six days a week.  Once you get into this regular routine it becomes a habit and will become nearly impossible to miss a workout simply because you don't feel like it.  High frequency is the cure for lazy folks.  But when you get use to this frequency taking days off is a form of torture.

Take Care of Injury

Assuming we are now passed the two days off and you are still feeling issues with an area you must begin some treatment if you have not already done so.  Rotating between heat and ice as well as various ointments.  And do whatever you can to increase your sleep.  If you are not getting at least 7 hours per night, get your 7 at minimum.  If dealing with an injury shoot for 9 hours if possible.  Sleep heals the brain and the body. 

Again, if this is something more serious go to a doctor.  I feel like I have to throw this disclaimer out there every few sentences because too many people are morons, the same type of people that sued McDonalds for having coffee that was too hot...

Continuing Exercise

If the injury is still lingering but you feel it will hold up enough to get back into some training I would go for it because that is exactly what I am doing right now.  If the body part can be avoided completely, great, but in the case of fellow wheelers the injury will be to a shoulder or elbow 99% of the time.  Here are some basics to getting back into the game.

Avoid Barbells:  Barbells mean heavy loads, even if a light load feels fine you may be too eager to load up after a feel good warmup.

Bodyweight Exercises:  I would highly recommend sticking to only bodyweight exercises for the first workout or two.  Pullups, Pushups and Dips hit so many areas and are the best bang for your buck exercises plus they should be forgiving to your joints.

30 Minutes:  When coming back from injury keep these workouts short.  Don't go over 30 minutes for at least the first two times before stretching this out.  

After three to four sessions following the above guidelines and your body feels fully back, go back to your regular routine.  If your body does not feel fully back, but you have had no setbacks, continue with the above guidelines.  Adjust volume as your body allows but continue to stick to short workouts with primarily bodyweight exercises until you have worked your way back to full recovery.