Nothing can disrupt your fitness routine like an unplanned injury, especially when you were on a roll and starting to see the fruits of your labour. The natural urge is to try and pick up exactly where you left off, but this is the worst possible thing you could do and will put you straight back on the bench for even longer this time. Nobody wants to go through this. Today we are going to look at how you can safely return to working out post-surgery, and hopefully, you will feel more confident next time you pick up the tools and put your body to work.
Have your injury assessed
While you might think to ask your personal trainer you should not as they will not be medically trained and are not qualified to offer advice.
Every injury you encounter should be checked out by a doctor, an osteopath or a physiotherapist - depending on the nature of the injury. A professional will tell you if squat racks should replace your cardio routine or if you should be avoiding weight-bearing altogether and work from the mat. The directive is going to depend on a number of things, so be sure to get that expert advice before you head back to the gym. Typically they will want to see you again not long after your first consultation, so be sure only to do the exercises they have recommended as you don’t want any injury turning into a bigger one.
Go light on endurance and pace
When returning to the gym, it is important that you only work with the lighter weights and commit to a slower pace. Even if you don’t feel exerted, think of this period as a maintenance period where you are upholding your routine but not seeking gains. The lighter exercise will allow you to observe how your body is responding and whether this is still too much or just right.
Consider a trainer
Your body is too important to be winging it at the gym when you are not sure what you are doing and how the equipment and impact are going to harm your post-injury body. This is when a personal trainer really is worth the money, as they can apply their knowledge of anatomy and muscle repair to provide a routine that does not exacerbate your injury. Following your gut and what others are doing is not going to serve you, and a personal trainer can actually watch you do these exercises and see where you are exhibiting strain.
Watch and reflect on your form
Mirrors in the gym are not just for vanity purposes; they serve a greater function in allowing you to see other angles of your body and correct your form based on what you see. Of course, this requires you to know what exactly you should look like when you lunge, deadlift, or whatever you are attempting. You should also record how it felt and how many reps or what distance you could complete before you experienced pain or resistance. You can use your notes app or go old school and jot these findings down on a piece of paper. This can also be a great record to review with your doctor or osteopath if you do encounter another injury down the track.
Hopefully, you don’t find yourself with an injury for too long. Slow and steady is the safest way to return back to the gym, and don’t be afraid to lean on the personal trainers and medical experts who have the knowledge and techniques to get you back and stronger than ever.