Dealing with sports injuries but still trying to get fit and train? It is tough to workout with injuries because of the pain and you don’t want to cause any more harm.
However, for most sports injuries, proper training is actually the only way to address the cause and eliminate it for good. The crucial part is to find out which exercises are best for your body and condition and how to progress safely.
This is my sports injuries series, I am giving you tips I gathered from my personal research, medical knowledge and my own experience – dealing with scoliosis and hip dysplasia my entire life!
Disclaimer: Starting this post, I thought of talking about my experience with battling scoliosis and give tips on how to work around it. However, my tips can be applied to any sports injury and diseases hindering you to move your body in every direction.
I am a medical professional, but I am not your doctor. These tips are not intended to diagnose or treat you, these are simply tips you can try based on my scientific research, medical knowledge and, most importantly, my own experience.
This is the second part of a series. Check out part one and stay tuned for the last part! If you enjoy this content and find it helpful, please let me know!
15 Ways to workout with injuries – Part 2
6. Train smart not just hard
Dealing with scoliosis is hard and will require a lot of self-control. You need to be in tune with your body and constantly pay attention to its signals. Don’t expect to be able to squat your bodyweight after a year of training. I have been training for 8 years and while I am very strong and can deadlift my bodyweight, I don’t squat heavy at all. It just puts too much pressure on my hip joints and causes pain. I can perform weighted pistol squats though and that makes me proud.
This applies to any sports injury. If you have inflammation in your joint, arthritis, or bursitis, expect to be working on it for a couple of months. This will not diminish in a few days. BUT the key is to keep going and establish right movement pattern. I have had nearly every sports injury you could possibly have in the hip region and I have finally learned how to prevent them.
Progress with baby steps but be proud of every little step you take. Each one of them leads to a pain-free, stronger body and happy mind.
7. Cautious with HIIT
HIIT is a great way to burn fat and build muscles and increase overall fitness. However, it also puts a lot of pressure on our joints. A weighted squat is considered as low-impact, while a bodyweight jump squat is one of the high-impact exercises. Thus, don’t go overboard with HIIT and stick to kinds of cardio that don’t put much pressure on your joints. You can use a HIIT style with spinning, swimming or do walking as cardio. In fact, strength exercises performed back to back with no rest will leave you sweating and huffing just as if you did a hard plyometric circuit.
8. Strengthen Glutes, Core, Back
If we look at the cause of sports injuries, weak glutes, abdominal muscles and lower back are nearly always the main issue. Especially when it comes to knee, ankle or hip injuries. Even if it is your shoulder causing you pain, you need to have a strong and stable body to progress pain-free.
This is even more important when it comes to scoliosis, as people have a crooked spine. The glutes are the biggest muscles in our body and improve posture and will protect your hip- and knee-joints, as well as your lower back. The core consists of your abdominal muscles, lower back and glutes and is the most important body part to ensure stability, balance and joint health.
Lastly, as most curvatures lie in the upper back area, strong rhomboids and latissimus dorsi will help pull your shoulder blades back and together and provide an upright posture.
You don’t need to lift weights to build strong glutes and target your core and latissimus dorsi. The best way to train these muscle groups in a low-impact fashion is to use exercise bands. You can check out my explanation and list of exercises you can do with resistance bands here. Also, make sure to practice my glute activation routine every day. It takes just 15 minutes of daily work to see progress.
9. Foam rolling to protect your ligaments
If there is pain or a muscular imbalance, our brain responds my tightening all muscles surrounding that area. Our brain thinks that we are facing death. It does not know that you have scoliosis or just injured your shoulder joint.
However, this muscle tightness can become chronic and further increase pain and hinder healing, as the blood flow gets constricted. Stretching itself has to be done with caution, as most people stretch their ligaments instead of their muscles. Thus, I always recommend purchasing a foam roller and rolling your entire body on it. Especially hip flexors, quadriceps and chest muscles need to be loosened up for people with scoliosis.
10. “No pain no gain” does not apply
If you look around at “fitspo” accounts, pictures and quotes, you will come across the saying “No pain no gain” very often.
The meaning of this is that you have to push hard to achieve your desired physique and health. Why do you think so few people actually take the step and change their lifestyle? It is hard work. It will hurt, it will feel hard and some days you will be unmotivated.
However, if you are facing an injury, your motivational sources change. It’s not about looking good anymore. What is a six-pack worth if I am in pain?
Fitness and Food is truly your medicine. There are some cases where surgery and medication is required, I am not denying that. But you can treat most sports injuries if you start early and use the right methods.
If you have a chronic injury or scoliosis and want to lose weight, you have to push extra hard. You are not able to perform exercises with the same intensity as others. That is okay. It is all about modifying exercises and choosing the right nutrition plan to achieve your goals.
While doing that and staying determined, always look at the bigger picture.
“No pain just gain” – this should be your mantra. We are building muscles, getting stronger, treating and preventing diseases – all that without pushing through the pain. We learn how to work around it and know when it is time to stop – before injuring ourselves again.
I hope you find this series helpful. If you need help with your nutrition and training, check out my coaching packages!
If you have questions or liked this article, please comment below and share this on social media. I am sure others could benefit too.