How should you come back from an injury..?

September 18th 2015


We all do it, we train, we workout to try and achieve our goals be it aesthetics or performance. For some of you the gym is the time to push yourselves hard, so you can work out at a good intensity, play sports or have better quality of life.

However, there is no doubt due to the hard nature that some of you smash the gym, that you may be more susceptible to injury, either through trauma or your endeavour to conduct harder training to make sure that your workout will maximise your performance for your goal.

The worst thing that can happen, is if you or your coach pushes you too hard and you end up injured and unable to keep the training going at the same intensity.

So what happens if an injury does occur?
When you get injured this can leave you feeling a little bit frustrated and is the time when we bury our heads in the sand and we definitely don’t feel like going to the gym.

“In exercise rehabilitation this is considered the wrong way to approach your injury.”

You may not feel like it, but this is the time when you should be thinking of a way to slowdown in your programme and as an opportunity to look at resetting some of your training by taking yourself back to basics with some patterning and solid movement drills.

This can be done by utilising exercises to link up the chain (from the floor up) and ensuring the correct firing sequence through the muscles can benefit your future work outs and goals.

Before your start your rehab journey, you will need to map out who you need to be involved in order for you to get back to full fitness as soon as possible, and also to make sure that the team around you are working of the same hymn sheet for the best results.
·         Doctor
·         Physiotherapist
·         Strength and conditioning Coach/Rehabilitation Coach
·         Nutritionist

Once you have the team in place you will also need to make sure you are mentally committed and that you believe in the work/process to get you back to full fitness.
(Top Tip: In other words, don’t run before you can walk, take your time and listen to the advice of the team that is supporting you.)

The first thing is for your coach to take some objective measurements to ensure that the programme is fit for purpose and measurable. Using elements of the functional movement system (FMS) is a good way to start.

The programme is then to be aligned so that your coach can tell you what you can do, not what you can’t. This will include smaller goals within the bigger plan so that you can work and achieve these smaller goals along the rehab journey, which in turn will lead to getting back to full fitness (small steps).

Within your time with the coach and during the programme, it is the role of the coach to look at the body as a whole, as this will ensure that the injury is not caused from another underlying issue.
During your sessions with the coach, they should be looking at:

·         Efficiency in your movement
·         Aerobic/Anaerobic power
·         Upper/Lower body strength 
·         Emotional wellbeing

This is then to be checked periodically throughout your attendance and when he/she takes you through the assessment process again, after you have been conducting your rehab programme for a number of weeks.

The question we often get asked is when you should go back to full workouts..?

With that in mind, It is important that the rehabilitation programme is periodised in a fashion, so that it migrates seamlessly into your full workout programme. The coach is then to ensure you are still assessed continuously through this process, making your programme a live document, so that the coach can make the micro changes needed at any time to ensure your progression is methodical and in line with your needs.

Other things to consider…
There are a few more things to consider if your sport involves a lot of impact through running and jumping.  If so, the programme will need to develop into a return to run/impact programme that should involve exercises that indicate to the coach how the supporting musculature through the kinematic chain (from the floor up) ankles, knees, hips and spine are working to make sure the injury doesn’t rear its ugly head again!

(Top Tip: Failure to do this may result in another breakdown and you will end up back at square one.)

Sean Cole (AKA Fitness and Rehabilitation Dad)

Head Coach