Training around injuries
When you sustain an injury the first thing you should do is seek help from a Physiotherapist (Physio) and ideally one who is or works with a Strength and Conditioning Coach (S&C). Between the two the can devise a plan or help you modify your current plan. It’s important though, to not stop moving (unless you physically can’t or it causes extreme pain). Movement is going to be absolutely critical to injury recovery, if you stop moving, your natural protective mechansims will kick in to inhibit the structures (ligaments, tendons muscles) around the injured area. This may lead to complication in your rehab when you need to start moving again.
A good Physio and S&C can find alternatives for you, sometimes the injury isn’t as severe and you simply just need an alternative exercise. As an example, the bench press can cause some trouble with people’s shoulders (impingement, achy, cranky shoulders), and sometimes it’s good to deload the shoulder. The alternative can be dumbbells, so you’re still getting a bench press type movement except you’re using a different implement. The dumbbells tend to work in this situation for the shoulder because of the non-fixed nature (not a fixed straight bar, dumbbells can move freely). You can also try a fat bar, the thicker bar tends to work on the grip, which activates the muscles of shoulder girdle more and creates more stability around the shoulder.
Continue to train the rest of your body
It’s important during this time, though, that you continue to train the rest of your body. You don’t want to run the risk of getting another injury somewhere else, so it’s important to keep training as consistent as possible and as similar as what it once was. Don’t let your injury stop progress in other areas, for example if you have a shoulder niggle, train your legs hard as you can still make progress in this area.
Sometimes have to take a step back, to take two steps forward, this is alos true when you are not injured. Progress is never really linear. Once you start to feel really comfortable and you’ve worked on an alternative exercise and the injured area is starting to feel really good, now we can slowly start to re-introduce the main exercise. With the bench press example, if you were bench pressing 100 kilos, it’s not a great idea to jump straight back into that kind of weight. Instead, introduce the bench press movement back in at 50%, so 50 kilos, and complete lighter sets with perfect movement (three sets of five to eight). No pain, no discomfort, just get your body going again. Slowly progress over time by increasing the intensity (weight you lift) by 5% every week. If at any point you feel pain, reduce the load and work on your movement quality.