If you’ve been lifting long enough, you’ve probably experienced some sort pain or injury while working out. There is a definite difference; pain you work through and an injury you work around allow it to fully heal. But does this always mean to just take 1-2 months off from lifting completely to let a muscle heal? Certainly not! Follow these simple tips to help recover faster and not lose but make some gains in the meantime.
Training for High Reps
If you’ve got an injury, continuing to train the same way as if you were 100% will just lead to greater problems and result in more injury. Check your ego at the door and continue to lift but with lighter weights for much higher reps. For example, if you have a slightly torn bicep muscle you can still exercise but just have to tweak it a hair. Instead of bench pressing 5X5 of 225, do 4X15-20 with half that amount of weight in which you perform incredibly slow and controlled. Also be cautious on how you are un-racking and re-racking weights to not aggravate or irritate the injury anymore. Have a training partner help you with the weight to get it in position and then perform the exercise.
Types of Workouts
Going back to the bicep tear example, rather than devoting an entire day to just bicep curls switch to full-body approach for 3 days a week. This will help you to still stay in shape, give you time to rest and actually stimulate some different muscle growth from the increased volume of which you hit each muscle throughout the week. Still stick to light weights but maybe for a body part that’s completely unaffected (i.e. legs) you can ramp up the intensity and bump up the sets and weight to focus on bringing up lagging body parts.
Another great way to keep on plugging while sustaining an injury is to ensure blood flow to the area is increased for quicker, more efficient healing. A great way to do this is through myofascial release or foam rolling. This opens up the fascia and allows nutrient-rich new blood to come in and accelerate healing as well as improve blood flow over all. Foam rolling should be used as a preventive measure a couple times a week as well to help keep the body moving correctly. Regular stretching is also great for elasticity of the muscle which allows help with the transport of nutrients into the affected area.
While training with an injury, your workout will not be able to be as intense so another great way to ensure you stay in shape is to clean up your diet. While being more restrictive with what you eat is not the most fun thing in the world, it’s a small price to pay to be able to still stay or get in shape while not at 100%. Be sure to include things like vitamin K, vitamin A and other natural vitamins to promote healing and accelerate your recovery.