If you play sports long enough, it is unfortunately inevitable that injuries will occur. While a proper strength and conditioning program greatly reduces the chance of injury, there are too many uncontrolled variables in a sport to guarantee injuries will not happen. Injuries have the potential to significantly derail an athlete’s progress in their sport and in the gym, causing them to completely fall off the training wagon. But like anything in life, we do much better when we focus on what we can control and don’t worry about the things we can’t control. So, if we do get injured, here’s what we can do:
If the injury requires surgery, it is imperative that you establish as much range of motion and strength as possible to the injury site and surrounding area. This will shorten the post-surgery recovery time and get you back to your sport as soon as possible.
Whether the injury requires surgery or not, you should continue to train all the other body parts, muscle groups, and movements that you can. You want to maintain as high a level of strength as possible; just because you have a lower-body injury doesn’t mean you want your upper body strength to diminish and vice versa. Research has shown there is a carry-over of up to five percent from one side of the body to the other while performing unilateral exercises. What this means is that if you had an injury to your left shoulder and continued to strengthen your right shoulder while rehabbing your left shoulder, you could see up to a five percent increase in strength in your left shoulder even though you haven’t been directly working it due to injury. When it comes to getting healthy, these small percentages add up.
Have the right attitude. Attitude and mental perspective are everything. Instead of thinking about what you can’t do, focus all your energy on what you can do and do it the best you can. This sounds simple but it really can make all the difference in the world. Positivity attracts more positivity and you need that mindset when working through injuries.
Next time you get injured, don’t stop. Instead, keep working; it’s part of the process.
Until next time,
Strength, Courage, Hustle, Commitment
Originally published in Game On Magazine, Year 7/Edition 6