So you've picked up an injury, and no matter how small I know just how much this can get you down when it keeps you form doing what you love but........
It’s not all doom and gloom.
Having played rugby for my entire life I’ve always especially on-season tend to pick up a knock or sometimes even a proper injury that puts a stop to training. I know the pain and misery of not being able to chase the numbers in the gym or being out on the field with the boys.
It’s mentally tough and it’s definitely one that can get you down and keep you there. But there are ways to keep track of progress and it helps you stay positive, you’ve just gotta look at the big picture and think about it a little differently.
I recently dislocated my knee and I remember that weekend feeling miserable and pretty damn defeated mentally. I expected the worst case scenario, I thought I’m not going to be able to squat or deadlift for months, i’m gonna have to have surgery, i’ll never be able to play rugby with my team again.
How am I even supposed to work.
After a little pep talk with myself I started coming up with a plan. I visited the hospital and private physios and listened to all their advice and take it onboard. I had a plan each week and I re-evaluated myself every Sunday night and then made next weeks plan according to how I was. This sort of set up the rhythm for the rest and how i’d go about my recovery. Granted I’ve got the knowledge to plan to get myself better but I definitely used all my resources I had available like the Physios and Jordans advice. And I recommend that you guys seek out advice. There is no point in facing it alone and just guessing.
(If you're really stuck and down then send us an email Devanney Strength is all about providing help and advice we'd be more than happy to give you 5mins of our time to help you plan out your recovery training.)
First thing you should do is: Celebrate all the small wins and victories. Even if it’s so minuscule and tiny, take it as a win because it’s progress and if you couldn’t do that last week but you can now then you're better off now than you was then.
For me it was being able to stand on both 2 legs again or walking without crutches. Take every progression as a win and be happy about it. Do you see what I’m getting at?
Secondly, do what you can and do it often. Now maybe you’ve heard movement is medicine? If not you have now and I believe it’s 100% true. You don’t achieve anything from sitting and doing nothing.
That can be linked to life too.
The first 2 weeks all I had to was try and get the movement back by flexing and extending at the knee. I done it on a bench, I used the val slide (excellent piece of kit for those of you with home setups), I used a chair to help straighten my leg but I done it basically every hour of the day for 2 weeks.
Move more. For example let’s say you’ve got an achey low back and you still need to deadlift. Adapt the exercise and try some block/rack pulls or trap bar so you're still getting a similar stimulus without aggravating any injury. Just keep it light, control the reps and focus on positions.
This will help improve form, increase blood flow to the area and help strengthen the area still. I suppose it’s like anything, if you want to improve on something you’ll do more of it. If you need a stronger bench press you’ll bench more frequently. Same principle applies for injuries and recovery. Movement is medicine.
Thirdly: Adapt your training. You can’t expect to still be doing the same thing with the same weight whilst injured.
If you can, you're either stupid or fine.
For me I’ve been having to box squat. Granted its a high box but over the few weeks the box has become lower and lower, weights gone up and up and I’m basically back to squatting full depth again, the only thing that’s stoping me is a slight pinch pain in the back of the knee so I’ve kept the low box in for another week but with an addition of air squats full depth. The changes you make don’t have to be anything crazy, just keep it simple so you can still practise your movements and improve on them.
If the weight is significantly lighter add in pauses, eccentrics or tempos. It’ll give you more control in the lift eventually. Another thing to think about when adapting training is when doing it make exercises easier and less stressful on joints rather than harder. You want to keep the strength in the muscle without doing any further damage. Just something to think about.
Lastly, pain. Pain is probably going to be the number one indicator of whether you should keep doing something or not. There’s literally no hiding from it. It either hurts or it doesn’t. There’s different types of pains but if you are actually hurt then you’ll know if something is too much or not. It’s like your body is telling you it’s not ready just yet. Unfortunately this ones a bit of a hard pill to swallow because we all want to be doing what we could do when we at our best but sometimes it’s not possible. Slow and steady wins the race with injuries especially if you want to come back fitter and stronger than before.
Just a little added thought when trying to work through setbacks. Use physios and coaches to help get you through, find yourself a decent one who understands and cares and you’ll be in a good starting place. I’ve personally utilised the physio for treatment and I keep him updated on progress and training just so he knows where I’m at constantly. Adapt training so you're making the most of eccentric loading and isometrics regaining that stability and control you’ve potentially lost. Use watt bikes, rowing machines swimming to help keep your cardio up and heart healthy. You’ll be amazed at how useful that will be, especially when getting back to full fitness again.
(I want to reiterate that we know just how frustrating it can be to be injured so please do sends us an email or message. Like I said we'll be more than happy to give you some time to get your training adapted and a plan in place.)