Wrong. Great time to workout.
One of the biggest reasons I see clients lose gains or stagnate in their programs is this type of thinking. While it’s certainly a frustrating situation and nobody enjoys it, turns out that it’s actually a great time to train. Here’s four ways you can optimally use this time:
1. Do the Pre-Hab or Rehab you’ve been putting off
Remember all those areas you know you’re supposed to be focusing on because your trainer/therapist/etc. told you you’re weak or need extra work in? Now is the time to do it since you always put it off in lieu of things you can’t do now anyway. Whether it be extra flexibility/mobility work in problematic areas, stability work, corrective imbalances, balance work, or even conditioning work if appropriate.
2. Maximize gains in areas that need more attention
Perhaps there is an area of strength or hypertrophy that is simply more difficult for you to make progress in. This is an optimal time to dedicate more time to it. A word of warning, though…don’t get overzealous and overtrain.
3. Cross Training (but not the kind you’re thinking of)
Detraining is process of losing physiological improvements that have been made (be it atrophy, decreased strength or VO2, etc.). It occurs when the body is no longer has enough overload (or stimulus) to continue improving. One of the ways to avoid having to start from ground zero after you have recovered from the injury is to simply minimize losses that take place during your healing period. Cross Training (the type I’m talking about) is a method of training one side of the body for short periods of time in order to maintain gains that have been made on the injured side. This is is a great way to maintain. Research studies show, for example, if you have sustained an ankle injury on your right leg and can not put enough load on that leg to squat heavy or perform power-related movements, you can work the left leg using single leg squats and jumps and gain a neurological benefit even on the untrained right leg.
4. Try new modes/methods of training
Again, this is another opportunity you have during this time. You may not often try other training methods, program, exercise variations or protocols, and for good reason. I’m not a fan of the currently popular “Variation for Variation’s sake” thinking. But, when you are restricted in what you can do it may be an optimal time to try things you normally don’t have time for, aren’t in your yearly program planning, etc. Use your time to experiment and find if there are other training methods that may be valuable for you that you have not yet explored.
Injury is a part of life. Everybody gets injured. I’m injured. One of my superstar clients is injured (perhaps that’s what prompted this article). Better to learn some strategies for working through these times and even coming out on the other end in better shape than before instead of having to start over…again.