Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Training around an injury

A few weeks ago I tore my rotator cuff while playing football and it will take a few months to fully recover. This has really affected my training routine and even had me doing nothing for a few weeks.

I was attending a weightlifting club to help improve my Olympic lifts but that had to stop, my football had to stop as well, but that’s more to do with the fact we were put out of the championship, so I was back in the gym training on my own and motivation was at an all-time low.

I did carry out my rehab work but kept getting frustrated with the lack of exercises I could perform, especially when doing upper body work. Rather than going through the motions I decided to take a step back and really plan what I was going to do over the next few weeks and months.

Below are a few things that you may also want to consider when training around an injury.

The first thing that I did was rest. My injury came near the end of my season and my body was crying out for a rest both physically and mentally.

If you have picked up an injury especially a non-contact injury eg. a pulled hamstring or you have just been pushing yourself too hard the past few weeks, then it may be time for some R&R.

It’s fantastic to see so many people really looking after their bodies and working hard on their health and/or fitness but there are times when we need to slow down and let the body recover and catch up. Even if you want to have a break, have a Kit Kat, one won’t do you any harm.

Most injuries will prevent you training the way you had been. Some injuries may even have been caused from the program you were following. Either way it’s time to get back to the drawing board. While you are resting take the time to design yourself a program or seek advice from those who can help. The main focus of your new program should be to get you back to a better place than you were before your injury.

There are so many ways you can design your new program, you could go on YouTube, design yourself, ask a friend or seek professional help. My advice is, know your limits and chose your source wisely. I’m fortunate enough that I have a number of friends and work colleagues that I can bounce a few ideas off and come up with my own modified program. Just make sure you are talking to the right people.

Most of us want to be leaner, faster, stronger but there is no point building on this if your body is broken in some areas. Do the rehab work your physio has given you. You can also add it into your gym program.

I add my rehab work in at the warm up and when resting between sets. I also try and remind myself to carry out simple rehab exercises during the day, like pressing my arm against the wall or contracting my scapula towards my opposite back pocket, simple but effective if done a few times a day.

My injury has giving me the opportunity to work on other areas of my body, one of which is my hips. This is a major issue for many people due to our current lifestyles where we find ourselves sitting for long periods of time between work, school, driving and resting. It may be an opportunity to slow down the intensity of your workouts and concentrate on many areas of weakness. This is a chance to rebuild the body and go again.

Whenever you find yourself working so hard, you may not appreciate the little progressions. I measure my progression with a few exercises. Can I reach a little further or lift a little heavier? It doesn’t matter if it’s half an inch or half a kg it’s still progress and all those half inches and kgs will soon add up over time without you even realising it.

After you have given your body the correct amount of rest it needs – don’t stop. It’s very easy to give up or push your training to the side. I feel the best place to do my rehab is at the gym and so it should be. The gym should be your lab where you fix broken things.

If your house is the only option for you then find a room or space that can be transferred into your mini gym or rehab station. Make sure that’s all it can be used for, even leaving the equipment somewhere visible will help remind you that you need to get the work done.

Once you get injured do everything you can so it doesn’t happen again. Give your body the right amount of time to mend itself and then some. Don’t rush back thinking you’re Superman or woman. Do it right the first time.

I learned this the hard way with a back problem I had when I was 24. It took three injections and finally an operation to fix the problem. The one saving grace was that I had learned a little bit more each time about my body and what I needed to do to fix the problem. To date I have had no further major problems with my back.

As well as teaching myself through this process I now have helped others to make the right choices that suit their needs and injury problems. It’s great to see how happy people get as they progress.

So there you have it folks, a few things to consider if you are training around an injury. Your main goal is get back to a place before your injury but leaner, faster, stronger and wiser so it won’t happen again.

For more info or to book a place call Gary on 07708089130 or email

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