Training After Injury or Surgery
I’ve been asked very frequently lately about training after an injury or surgery so I thought I’d do a quick write up based on my personal experience working with quality physiotherapists. I should note though that before proceeding to do any kind of rehabilitation exercises it is my biggest recommendation that you see your doctor first and get his approval.
I should also bring to light that not matter how small the injury or surgery was you should take it very seriously as it’s usually the little things that pop-up later in life and mess up your progress if not dealt with correctly.
Ok so you were injured or just had surgery, did you have a qualified doctor examine and give you a correct diagnosis? Remember if you are not happy with the the answer you always have the right to get a second opinion. Hopefully that is not the case as it seems like the medical system is finally cracking down on negligent doctors but overall you know your body best and should always trust your gut instinct if something seems strange with that doctor’s diagnosis of your problem.
One thing that should have stood out for you was following the RICE principle. RICE = Rest, Icing, Compression and Elevation. You should have done at least two or more of these immediately post injury/surgery to reduce swelling and allow your body to eliminate wastes from that area.
It could be anywhere between 6 to 16 weeks before you are recommended the preliminary training stage by your doctor/physiotherapist of the injured area. But this usually doesn’t mean that you should stop exercising of other un-affected areas! For instance, if you broke an ankle or had knee surgery you can still get into the gym with your crutches and do upper body exercises (as long as you do them in a safe manner where you aren’t reliant on stability provided by your legs!).
The point is to be creative, be determined and push through. Studies have found that the simple act of exercising regularly allows your body to be top notch condition especially when coming to your immune system so use this to your advantage to speed up your recovery.
One tip here. This would be a great time to experiment with going a little hardcore with your diet and focusing on eating extra healthy to prevent from extra pounds packing on. A few years back I broke my ankle and took that recovery time as a challenge to see how restrictive I could be with eating mostly only veggies, fruit and very lean meats and I actually noticed that I lost some excess weight. It was a very nice surprise considering I couldn’t do my regular weight training regimen.
Training Stage 1
Now when it come to training your affected area, you’re going to have to start slowly. Usually after a serious injury you need to warm up the joints and surrounding tissue very slowly and allow it to regain the entire range of movement that it had pre-injury. Again remember the time to do this must be approved by your doctor/physiotherapist. After recovery from a broken ankle simply getting on a bike machine and cycling with low resistance for 30 minutes is a great way to regain this flexibility.
Other methods of training in stage 1 after injury include using balance boards, resistance bands and resistance cables. Again these are great for returning your full range of movement through that joint so if your doctor/physiotherapist isn’t giving you these kind of exercises make sure to ask them for it.
Training Stage 2
You will probably be in your 1st training stage for another good 2-3 months so stay patient and determined. At this stage you will want to bring back very light weights into your routine and start building strength again. Whatever you do DON’T rush this phase as you could seriously re-injure that area again and it can set you back a few months.
Training Stage 3
After several weeks in the 2nd stage you should slowly be regaining your strength and getting back to normal. The point of focus for you now is to focus on proper posture in all your exercises and making sure you are doing the movements with completely control all the while keeping your core tight. In my humble opinion this is a time when you want a personal coach/trainer/mentor who can help guide you and provide you with feedback so you can keep getting stronger and preventing any further injuries.
P.S. On that note please stay tuned to the online coaching program that I will be releasing for this site in the very near future. With your support and feedback I can continue to provide you guys with top notch training and nutrition information and we can further build this amazing like-minded and motivated community!
Have any questions/thoughts/feedback about training after injury or surgery? Please leave a comment below…