PAIN AND INJURIES DURING LOCKDOWN
Firstly, I just want to say this blog also relates back to my recent Instagram post @tyler_physiquelocker, and in particular I want to draw your attention back to the importance of rest and recovery if you are suffering with an injury.
Hands up, who has had workouts effected by various pains and niggles? I know I have, and it really sucks!
(disclaimer: serious injuries that require surgery may need a different approach to this…).
This is not universal, as all injuries are the different, and everyone has different attitudes towards injuries and your body may react differently on returning to training, but this is just my view on what we can do.
So here is a question for you, what happens with your training while you’re in pain? Does it make it harder to exercise, harder to hit your goals whether that’s a weight goal, a body comp goal or a strength target? Hold you back from full performance?
In the short term you might not think it will be too bad. A last-minute change of workout, skip a few exercises, swap them out, don’t tell your coach and think ‘oh I will just try again next week’.
How about in the long term? This cold be long term mobility problems? Maybe, the injury plays on your mind before working out, do you maybe skip training certain body parts/certain training days altogether? Or maybe you just ‘accept’ that you’re just going to be in pain.
In 2020 gyms were shut for large periods of time, and training was likely been slightly more inconsistent? Maybe you where home training when the injury happened, from DIY gym equipment or overdoing it? With all of this your injury and pain may have been getting worse, or at best, no better. Let’s use this current lockdown productively and set 2021 differently. Recovery mode- ACTIVATED!
If we look at the human body, there really are AMAZING! It responds to any stimulus that you present it, adapt and overcome. Think of when you began a your fitness journey, maybe your deadlift was 50kg? Over time, the body realizes it has to get stronger to perform, therefore recruits more muscle fibres in order to adapt to the new load = strength and muscle gains. So if it can overcome strength adaptability, it can also recover just as easily if you apply the correct principles.
So we know that warming up is important before any physical exercise. You might of suffered an injury and maybe you do your rehab exercises every now and then; maybe you don’t feel comfortable rehabbing, would you rather get an extra lift than stretch post workout? (I have been guilty for this before).... Well now you don’t have to be, they’re closed, use that to your advantage.
The first lockdown last year gave me the chance to slow down and re-evaluate. I might of been in good shape, feeling fit, my strength was at the highest its ever been. But was I feeling healthy. No, I wasn't. I was training really hard, but I was forgetting about the importance of rest and recovery. Mentally and physically I felt drained.
For me, during this third lockdown it hit me, I hit an exhaustion phase 1 week after a shoulder injury on a home weight bench. My energy was non-existent, motivation hit the lowest point, I lost my appetite, I was having digestion issues, mood went downhill and my body felt sore and heavy. I had previously been training for my physique, prepping to compete in March 2021, strict diet, progress pictures were showing the results and I was feeling great, then boom, ‘Rona hit AGAIN, the gym closed AGIAIN, physio sessions stopped, I couldn't get my sports massages and I felt I had to train harder at home for the same results in a gym. I put so much pressure on myself.
I decided to have a serious word with myself, I cant carry on like this! A full week of rest and recovery is needed, no training, slightly more food to help with the recovery and minimal stress. But how else could I best use my time? I put together a new training regime, which includes more rest days, includes mobility work and foam rolling. I also eliminated caffeine, as for me personally it raises my stress levels and affects my sleep. Incorperated yoga and meditation for mental relaxation and focus improvement.
What have these lockdowns give us? Yes I could focus on the negative sides of lockdown, but, it’s given us a lot of positives as well. More time to focus on yourself, usual life for me is extremely fast paced (which doesn't give me much time to reflect on my goals/what's important to me) so to have time just slow down so I could take time to relax is very new for me. If you live with family, more family time; potential for more sleep, time to plan and nail your nutrition. There’s a lot of positives there that can be all used to you advantage.
More serious injuries? Now that the gyms are closed again, you might have stopped training, you might have had the thought that this could be the perfect time to rest and recuperate, and that might have worked… for the first few days. Did the pain start to creep up again? Were you having to use ice and heat pads more often? Well that’s because rest is only a very, very small part of managing injuries.
The treatment and rehabilitation of injuries involves building the tissue back up to full strength – and remember, ‘strength is relative’ – you’re rehabbing to be able to do your normal daily task AT A MINIMUM, to be able to live your life how you want to, don’t accept living in daily pain when we have the time to do something about it.
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
- Remember, when the injury occurs use ice compression, make sure you wrap the ice in a towel or cloth to stop any skin burn. You want to aim to do this for between 10-20 mins, every 2-3 hours.
- Minor injuries, such as mild sprains and strains, can often be initially treated at home using RICE therapy for two or three days.
- Avoid exercise and reduce your daily physical activity. Using crutches or a walking stick may help if you can't put weight on your ankle or knee. A sling may help if you've injured your shoulder.
- If your injury has swollen, use elastic compression bandages during the day to limit swelling.
- Keep the injured body part raised above the level of your heart whenever possible. This may also help reduce swelling.
Some people recovering from a long-term injury may benefit from physiotherapy. It's a specialist treatment where techniques such as massage, manipulation and exercises are used to improve range of motion, strengthen the surrounding muscles, and return the normal function of the injured area. All of which can be learned and practiced at home.
Start small – what can you do every day that will help, what is the one thing that you know will make it better. Look at professional sportsmen and women who sustain injuries, they can’t play without being fit and healthy, they dedicate themselves to regaining their fitness. Now I’m not saying you have to be that dedicated, but you have to commit to it, focus on it, work towards it and the results will come. That might be might certain stretches you feel better for doing or a couple of exercises that your physio has prescribed. Let’s start with them. You remember that 30-minute daily commute you used to have? That’s the perfect time. Not having time after your gym session. Well, that’s gone, they’re not open, perfect. You can master them at home.
And that’s where I started, everyday doing a couple of key exercises that I know I needed to do, and I built from there. Incorporated more and more into my workouts until I could walk and hop pain free, then I started to push a bit more, could I jog? How long for? And built to be able to run 5k. I’m not saying that it’s an easy process, I had to stop thinking about ‘what I used to be able to do’, it took me a while to get into it, but once I did, once I committed, I made progress. And since then, my gym sessions got a lot better, I could enjoy them again, and I looked forward to them. Something that I hadn’t done in a while.
So, reframe, re-evaluate, re-commit and come out of lockdown in a fitter, healthier state ready to get properly back in the gym.
If you would like 1-1 support and guidance with this, click HERE to get in touch.
Tyler @ Physique Locker