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3 Different Ways You Can Train Around Injury

atlanta crossfit decatur dr. sam injury overtraining pain management running strength training swimming training Aug 29, 2023

Sustaining an injury can be a frustrating hurdle for anyone striving to maintain their fitness and training routine. At Athletes' Potential, we try to ensure injury does not necessarily mean you need to halt all of your physical activity. With the right approach, you can continue progressing towards your goals while allowing your body to heal. We will explore three different options to alter your training while dealing with an injury: cross-training, adjusting training volume, and manipulating your training intensity.


Cross training involves changing your type of exercise in order to offload injured tissues and provide time for healing. Cross training can limit the irritating stimulus causing your current injury, while still providing an avenue for cardio and strength progression in your training. The overall goal of cross training is to alter the transmission of forces on the body while continuing to maintain and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Runners can often benefit from changing to lower-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, or rowing to reduce impact forces on the legs. However, swimmers with shoulder issues can benefit from the reverse and utilize lower body exercises, such as running or cycling, to maintain cardio health. The key is to choose an activity you actually enjoy doing, while allowing for healing without extending your recovery time.


Adjusting your training volume while injured is another important way to continue training throughout the healing process. The key to altering your training volume while injured is finding a balance between your current workload and recovery time. In activities such as power lifting or CrossFit one of the easiest ways to alter your training volume is simply by reducing your sets or reps during each workout. With endurance activities I look at reducing total weekly volume first, and then take a closer look at individual training sessions.


Increasing your training volume too much too quickly can lead to injury. However, we want to make sure we continue to appropriately load the body whenever possible. Without generalizing too much and adjusting for training history, I typically regress training volume by around 20% to start off with. After two weeks reassess, and see how your injury feels after the reduction in volume. Your physical therapist, trainer, or coach can help tailor workouts to your specific needs, ensuring you're still engaged without compromising recovery. Work closely with your physical therapist or healthcare professional to determine the appropriate volume for your condition. They can help you create a training plan that gradually increases workload as your injury heals. When recovering from an injury remember that patience is key – allowing your body ample time to recover will ultimately lead to a smoother and more sustainable return to your regular routine.


Finding the correct training intensity while injured is another important aspect of recovery. Reduction in training intensity involves reducing weights or modifying lifts during strength training activities, and reducing speed for endurance sports. Modification of your lifting techniques to reduce intensity can look like: using bands for assistance, lowering the intensity for the specific body part injured, or even utilizing Blood Flow Restriction training. If you have a lower body injury, concentrate on upper body exercises and visa versa. It’s a good idea to maintain clear communication with your physical therapist or strength training coach to develop a plan addressing your specific needs while ensuring a safe and productive workout.


Dealing with an injury doesn't mean you have to put your training on hold. By embracing cross training, adjusting training volume, and finding the right intensity, you can continue progressing while allowing your body to heal. Remember to always listen to your body throughout the recovery process. Working closely with an experienced physical therapist, coach, or trainer can help you make the most informed decisions tailored to your specific injury and circumstances. Remember, your body's well-being is paramount, and with the right approach, you can maintain your fitness momentum even during the healing process.

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Also, if you’re someone looking to get into training but don’t know where to start, or you’re dealing with any sort of injury limiting you from doing the things you love, give Athletes' Potential in Decatur or Brookhaven a call at 470-355-2106, or fill out a contact request form at the link above and we will reach out to you. 


Thanks for reading,

Dr. Sam

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