Being a weightlifter, or really an athlete of any level, you spend majority of your time in the gym pushing your body and testing its limits. Eventually, probably when you least expect it, you will find that limit and your body will fight back.
Injuries happen, it really is just a part of the game. What differentiates a player from a champion is how you deal with that injury.
Nine weeks ago I severely sprained my right ankle, just 3 weeks out of my next competition.
My training had been at an all time high. One minute I was excite, the next I was forced to take sit and reevaluate my training. I couldn’t put any weight on my ankle for 3 weeks, and had to wear my cast for a total 7 weeks. To keep training I had to make some major programming modifications.
A lower body injury is devastating for a Weightlifter. With the legs out of commission, squats, pulls, snatches, clean and jerks, it’s all out of the question. So, I knew it was time to get creative. I also had to keep reminding myself that I was still an athlete.
I needed to continue acting like one.
An injury can be a blessing in disguise, if you let it.
A sprained ankle is not the end of a career, but a bad attitude could be. Remind yourself that this is really an opportunity to focus on aspects of your training that you didn’t have the time or energy for before.
Yes, training for recovery is not as glamorous as pushing the snatch and clean and jerk. You might feel a little depressed over getting weaker and losing progress, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
You can still do plenty to keep strong and in shape. You can make it fun and try new movements. Before you know it you’ll be renewed, recovered, and ready to lift heavy again.
Maintain your routine.
You ARE still an athlete. The amount of time you have allotted to the gym didn’t change because of this injury. So, show up and find a way to better yourself.
Do whatever you can to keep strong and fit. I chose to focus on my shoulders, back, core, triceps, biceps, and doing some cardio.
Here are some sample exercises from my programming:
- Seated Dumbbell Clean and Press
- Seated DB Snatch (similiar to the clean, just bring the load between the legs).
- Bench Press
- DB Chest Press
- DB Row
- Prone Row
- Skull Crushers
- Bicycle Intervals
Find a way to win.
You can’t hit a clean and jerk PR right now, but you can improve other lifts.
Keep doing what you can do. Push to improve and get stronger. Go into every training session chasing a win.
Whether you get the PR or not doesn’t matter as much as the fight. You showed up and put in the work. That’s going to make you a better athlete at the end of the day.
Maintain the intensity in your workouts.
If your workouts are usually high intensity, try and maintain that.
Hit the same number of movements. Be in the gym for the same number of hours. Try and keep your work-to-rest ratio as close to normal as possible. This will make the transition back to full blown training a lot easier.
It will also help you maintain your sanity.
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Be a good team mate.
If you are training with other people do not bring a negative attitude into the gym with you, it’s not fair to anyone. Try and avoid jealousy or dwelling on the negative,. Laugh instead, even if you don’t want to.
You’ll feel better.
It is your responsibility to remain supportive and help your teammates keep training as usual. You may not realize it, but that will likely be inspiring to everyone in the gym. It will show them that getting hurt doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you love.
Are you struggling with an injury? Do you have questions about training when hurt? Just leave a comment below, I’d love to help out anyway that I can.
Mentality is everything.
This is not an ideal situation, but when you’re injured you really don’t have an option. Stay positive, it’s essential.
Weightlifting is hard mentally, and physically. Although you will still be in the gym, take this time to unwind and rest. I promise, as the weeks go by you’ll become hungry again. That fire will translate to a new found motivation and better training.
Everyone loves a good comeback and yours is just around the corner. If you have any questions about injury or recovery, just leave them in the comments below. I would love to help out.