Can I train through an injury?

“Can I still train?”

Given that we are located inside a gym this is probably the most common question we get from our clients. 99 times out of a 100 the answer will be yes BUT your training will most likely need to be modified!

We want to keep you training as we firmly believe that movement is a vital part of your rehabilitation. There will be individual injuries that vary so it’s always good to get it checked out but we are going to give you some pointers of when you can and can’t push through the pain.

Here are some of our simple rules when training through an injury.

  1. Pain should be no greater than a 2-3/10.

Yes we don’t mind you training through pain a little but if that pain is creeping up past 2-3/10 you are probably doing more damage than good.

  1. Modify the exercise where you can

Modifying to avoid pain is a great way to keep training. It might be as simple as changing your grip on weights (for example neutral grip shoulder press or bench press can often reduce pain for people suffering from shoulder pain), changing barbell to dumbbell, squatting with your feet a bit wider, running on flat ground rather than hills. Modifying and continuing training can help you get that exercise fix without irritating your injury.

  1. Use the other limb

Even with severe injuries to one limb you can still train that other side. I know it may seem a bit strange at first but studies have shown a cross-over affect for training an unaffected side. That’s not to say bicep curls on your left arm will make your right bicep bigger, it’s more about muscle memory and movement patterns.

  1. If it’s worse the next day you went too hard

One of the most important factors is the 24 hour affect. Sometimes injuries can feel okay during a workout but the next day or even 48 hours later there is an increase in pain. This is a good indication that you over did it and you need to back off slightly. Find your baseline – if there is no pain during, after and 24 hours later then you can progress yourself and re-assess.

  1. If pain is increasing throughout the workout – STOP

If you feel that slight niggle at the start, keeping pushing through and it gets worse and worse and worse – stop. If an injury is getting worse that’s your body telling you it’s reached its limit. Stop now to avoid re-aggravating your injury. Again its about finding a baseline of tolerance, there is no point over doing it for the sake of one session that may see you have to take time off as a result.

  1. If pain is getting worse each workout – STOP

Similar to above if the pain is getting worse week after week, training through it the way you are isn’t going to be the best for you and will probably do you more harm than good. If you haven’t had an assessment, get it checked and come up with an appropriate training plan that’s going to strengthen and rebuild rather than prolong your pain!

  1. Don’t push through for weeks and months if it’s not getting better

See someone if you have been training through pain and it hasn’t gotten better. If every time for the last 4 weeks you exercise something hurts (even if it’s a 2/10) don’t just keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. See someone who can guide you through a proper rehab program that will resolve your pain for good.

At the end of the day we want to keep you training but this has to happen within reason. Most of the time people know what stirs them up or what is causing the pain/injury. Its time to start using common sense & train a little smarter. If you keep just pushing through pain that’s making things worse you are setting yourself up for an injury that may actually see you on the sidelines.