If you train regularly in the gym, you are very likely to experience an injury or two at some point because it is almost inevitable when you are lifting heavy weights and pushing your body hard.
However once you pick up an injury that doesn’t really go away, such as a severe shoulder impingement, for instance, it can really have a negative effect on your training because you may not be able to lift as much weight, and may not be able to perform the same exercises as before.
So how can you continue to do strength training in the gym when you have an injury? Well here are a few suggestions:
Focus On Healing Your Injury
The good news is that not all injuries are going to hamper the way you train in the future. If you have simply tweaked your back on one of the machines, for example, you may well find that it is completely back to normal once you stay out of the gym for a week or two and don’t do anything to make it worse.
So if you do pick up an injury, your first priority should be to take a break from the gym and focus on trying to heal your injury with plenty of rest.
Talk To A Physical Therapist
If you have a more serious injury that doesn’t seem to be getting any better, then you really need to go to a doctor or visit a physical therapist to get a professional opinion.
If the injury cannot be cured with or without surgery, they will give you a selection of exercises that you can perform in the gym to maybe ease the pain, or will give you some alternative exercises that you can do if you still want to continue strength training.
Avoid Exercises That Trigger Pain
It sounds obvious, but if you have some kind of long-standing injury, you should really avoid doing any exercises that are causing you pain because this will only make your injury worse in the long run.
So, for example, if you have a persistent pain in your shoulder and always get sharp pains when doing side lateral raises, you should stop doing this exercise immediately and find a similar exercise that doesn’t cause any pain.
Don’t Create Imbalances
If you have damaged your left knee, for example, it is not a good idea to train your left leg using light weights and continue training your right leg with heavier weights because this will only make your right leg stronger than your left, and will look very odd if one leg is more muscular than the other.
You should always train both arms, shoulders and legs equally so there are no imbalances. If one of them is injured, you should allow it to recover or train both with light weights if it causes no pain.
Avoid Taking Painkillers
It may be tempting to go down to your nearest pharmacy and purchase some painkillers so that you can train in the gym without any pain, but this is a very bad idea because if you mask the pain and continue to train as normal, you are highly likely to do more damage and make the injury even worse. You have to be aware of any pains so that you know which exercises you can and cannot perform.
Hire A Personal Trainer
One final thing you can do if you are having trouble pinpointing which exercises are making your injury worse, and don’t really know which alternative exercises you should be doing, is to consider hiring a personal trainer in the gym.
They will have a lot more knowledge than you and will be able to work with you to create a training program that will allow you to increase strength and build muscle without making your injury any worse.
The point is that you really don’t want to be doing any exercises that are likely to make your injuries worse. Ideally you want to give yourself enough rest to heal your injuries completely, but if you have a long-standing injury that cannot be completely cured, you can still work around your injury. You just need to be sensible and get some professional advice so that you know which exercises you can do safely that won’t cause any damage.