Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Don’t stop: Adapt and modify

My role as the strength and conditioning coach with the Northern Ireland Senior team is to assist their gym sessions when we are on camp. Since we are only away for 10-12 days it’s all about maintaining and helping to aid recovery.

Some of the players’ gym sessions will have to be modified depending on a number of factors including, how far we are away from a game, previous injuries or any knocks the players have picked up.

In some cases, the best option for the players is to rest but with most we can modify what they can and cannot do, to help speed up the recovery process or maintain it.


The same can be said about your own fitness goals. There may be times when rest is the best option but don’t be afraid to modify your training to help speed up recovery and also make you stronger along the way. Here are a few tips.

Controlled movements
Controlling your movement around an injury is one way you can speed up the healing process. For example, if you have a sprained wrist or ankle – performing some flexion, extension and rotation can be beneficial. Just make sure you are not forcing it or going to any level of pain. Small movements – done up to 30 reps – will help increase the blood flow around the injured area and keep everything moving around that area.

Work other body parts
If you have injured your lower body, there is still so much you can do with your upper body and still get a lot of strength benefits or just a good sweat on. Plus, if you are still moving, it will help speed up the recovery process of the injured area.

Train your weak areas
When you sustain an injury and during your recovery days, it is a great opportunity to train specific weak areas of your body. This could be rehabilitation or doing those exercises that the physio gave you to help the recovery.

Try something new
If you need to modify your training for any reason, then a good idea may be to try something completely different. If you are a runner for example, then maybe switch it up with a bike or pool session. Changing it up will be good for the body and mind.

Recover well afterwards
If you’re doing a modified training session because of injury or reducing your training load, then it’s important that you recover well after. Ice the injury, foam roll any achy muscles and make sure you get plenty of rest.
The better your body is rested then the quicker you will recover.

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