Anyone who has fitnessed long enough has experienced an injury. It can often be frustrating and we are faced with the question, should I still train? I have also been asked this question A LOT during my time working in the fitness industry so I’m here to address it with a hopefully not too long winded response.
First things first, you want to think about what you were doing when the injury occurred. Was there something specific that you were doing? Are there particular movements that cause pain? Right off the bat, stop doing these things! Avoid the exercise you were performing when the injury occurred and any subsequent exercises that are provoking your injury.
As frustrating as it may be, depending on severity, you might want to take some time off from the gym to heal up. This is one of those things where you need to listen to your body. Taking time off doesn’t mean sitting on the couch though and eating potato chips. Use this time to actively recover. This could mean going to your doctor and having diagnostic tests done, physical therapy, remedial massage, foam rolling, even some gentle yoga.
If you have listened to your body and are actively working on recovery but still don’t want to take time off, work around the injured area. And I mean, work around it. Even if an exercise only hurts a little bit, avoid it. You are only preventing your body from fully healing. If you have an upper body injury maybe focus on smashing legs and core more often and vice versa. This leads to another point, don’t cause another injury or imbalance. If you have an injured shoulder for example, and continue to train upper body, your body will compensate for the injury causing muscular imbalances and potentially leading to more problems. Trust me, it’s not worth it.
With any injury, patience is key. The reason we go to the gym is to become the strongest, fittest, most awesome version of ourselves and that does not include having a body that is broken. Allow your body the full time it needs to heal. Also, be wary of pain killers. They can be great but if you are using them to cover up the pain you feel while training, it might be a good idea to stop that. Again, if something hurts, DON’T DO IT!