First and foremost I’d like to say I’m not a doctor. Everything is based on my knowledge and personal experience as a trainer. Always listen to your body; if something doesn’t agree with you, or the pain persists, always seek the help of a medical professional and make sure you get proper rehabilitation. Injuries are almost inevitable, be it small or big, they can sometimes get in the way of our normal workout routines, but they shouldn’t mean you’re out of commission til you’re healed. There are many ways to work around them and still get your daily burn in.
Working Out While Injured – Lower Body
When dealing with lower body injuries, such as the ankle, knee or calves, it’s best to keep with low impact exercises or focus on upper body (depending on the severity). Using Recumbent or spin bikes, the rowing machine, or shadow boxing with lighter weights are a great alternatives for cardio. You can also try swimming or water aerobics, just keep in mind that the kicking motion might cause further instability in the affected extremity. It’s also a good time to focus on resistance training for the upper body, working your back, shoulders and chest, will still allow you to build muscle and help you burn calories.
Ankle & Foot Injuries If your ankle or foot is injured, you still have many exercise options. If your doctor approves it and you are able to, using the rowing machine or a stationary bike with one leg, or swimming are possibilities. Work with your doctor or trainer to find other non-weight bearing cardio exercise you can do and spend 30-60 minutes about three times a week on that exercise to maintain endurance. Circuit training is also a great choice for exercising through injuries. Here is one sample workout to try in your local gym: Perform the following circuit workout M-W-F. Perform each exercise for 30-60 seconds. Allow 15 seconds of rest between stations. Complete the entire circuit three to four times. Warm up thoroughly before exercise
- Leg Extension Machine
- Chest Press
- Lat Pulldown
Working Out While Injured – Upper Body
Upper body injuries such as shoulders, back or arms, biceps, triceps leaves you with a lot of leg work, literally. It’s a great time to build up those quads and butt, work on your squats, deadlifts, enhance your plyo, go for high intensity lower body workouts, and work on anything below the belt. Depending on the severity and the location of the injury, you might even be able to use some of the machines, since you’ll have assistance lifting and releasing the weight.
Shoulder and Elbow Injury – Circuit Perform the following circuit workout M-W-F. Perform each exercise for 30-60 seconds. Allow 15 seconds of rest between stations. Complete the entire circuit three to four times. Warm up thoroughly before exercise Stationary cycling – 2 minutes moderate pace and 2 minutes higher intensity. Leg Press Elliptical trainer – 2 minutes moderate pace and 2 minutes higher intensity. Ab Crunch Walking Lunge Low Back Extensions Treadmill walking – 2 minutes moderate pace and 2 minutes higher intensity (or incline) Wall Sit (source)
These examples mini circuits can be created for any injury. Get creative so you can continue to stay active while you heal. It’s also important to stay positive when working out while injured. Don’t give in to the negative self talk. It will only bring you down. Focus on the things you CAN do, not what you can’t. Keep in mind that most injuries are due to poor conditioning or improper form. By keeping with your training and making sure you are doing your reps right, most can be avoided. Don’t let an injury demotivate you, now you have ways to work around it. Just be sure to watch your food while you are somewhat limited and you will have no problem staying on track.