Can You Train When You’re Injured?

Whether you are an extremely active person, a moderately active one, or your heart rate only goes up when you reach for the remote.  Everyone, at some point of there lives, with varying degrees, have had an injury.

Quick side note: this isn’t an injury claim feeder page….and if you’re one of those people who ring me 8 times a day asking about my car accident I had recently….politely f**k off!!

Now, with injuries you can approach your recovery in two ways, have complete rest until the injury has healed or work around it with training at an appropriate level.

In this article, I’m going to explain why doing the latter will reduce recovery time.

First, lets define ‘training’ and what it should look like.

Even though the traditional bro splits would have you believing differently, your body is one whole living unit. We’re not split into pecs, quads, lats and calves etc.

Also, injury is a stress, so your body will need to focus on recovering from that. Intense training will give the body another stress to recover from.
The body copes with stress amazingly well, but you have to limit how much you stress your immune system as too much will slow recovery down.
We must have the right balance so optimal recovery can be made.

Think of it as trying to cook two meals at the same time, one in your kitchen and the other in your neighbour’s kitchen (stay with me). 
If you have the flames turned up full in both you have no chance of paying enough attention to either and they’ll be ruined.
Turn the heat down, however, and you will be able to look after both much better as you’ve decreased intensity.

The same goes for training around an injury. Adjust your training to lower stress so your body doesn’t slow down with its recovery.
Increase the training stress, you won’t get the full benefit of muscle or strength increase; or a speedy recovery.

This will mean that if you are recovering from a knee injury, you can’t still max out on your bench and expect your injury to recover quicker.

How to adjust training

First, think of what exercises you can do using different muscle groups (not too heavy, remember)

Second, what exercises can increase blood flow to the inured area. This will help speed up recovery (but, as before, not heavy work. Think lighter with more reps)

For example, knee pain? Try terminal knee extensions (TKEs) with a resistance band, sore elbow? Try some light tricep extensions.

With a little research you can ease a lot pains.
In the same breath though, if something is painful and just doesn’t get any better…GO AND SEE A SPECIALIST.


Why kids SHOULD lift weight!

Already, I feel some of you taking deep intakes of air through clenched teeth
"Let kids be kids", "You'll damage them", "You'll stop them growing!".

The myth of resistance training for kids being bad is one that needs to die out, along with your face sticking that way if the wind changes and saying 'bless you' when you sneeze to stop your soul escaping.

So, why is strength training for kids such a controversial topic?
Here are some of the most common concerns which parents (or just people who like to be offended) have on the subject.

  1. Growth stunt

    There is actually zero evidence that backs the the claim of growth stunt in children due to resistance training. There were a very few studies in the 70’s and ‘80s which reported negative effects, these were eventually proved to be due to bad technique and going too heavy, too often. 
    Lifting in a controlled environment didn’t hurt kids; bad technique hurt kids.
    This was the summary of this study:

  2. Lifting will make my child move slower and more bulky -  Ok, lets explain this one quickly and in a simple way.

    Let’s think of sports where physical speed is king:
    100m sprint - what do the athletes look like? Jacked and lean.

    American football (receivers) - what do the athletes look like? Jacked and lean.

    Olympic weightlifting - what do the athletes look like? Jacked and lean.

    Gymnastics - what do the athletes look like? Jacked and lean.

    Strength training doesn’t slow you down. Strength training creates a foundation to express more power.
    One of my favourite strength quotes is: "You can't fire a canon from a canoe!"
    Meaning, without a solid, steady foundation, you can't have full expression of power output.
  3. Increased risk of injury - My favourite. There seems to be a real problem seeing kids pick up and carry kettlebells, pick up dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls….all things that are DESIGNED to be picked up, by the way, but the same parents don't seem to have a problem with kids giving piggy back rides, play fighting, climbing walls, or playing contact sport. 
    A carefully organised resistance programme is actually reported to REDUCE the risk of injury in youth sports. As reported in this study: 

    Lifting in a controlled environment, with a knowledgable coach doesn't hurt kids.....bad technique and old fashioned 'character building' beasting sessions, hurts kids.

    PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD, with the emphasis on PROGRESSIVE, is a key principle of strength. Age doesn't change the principle, only the application of it.
    Parents must take responsibility to be well informed when making decisions on their child's sport participation.  This means more than just reciting old myths that have no substance.