Lifting Around An Upper Back Injury (Part 2): Lessons From Vegeta's Snapped Up Shoulder
You don’t heal a lifting injury by not lifting, it sounds like counter intuitive advice but please hear me out
If you’d rather watch than read (in the video version I also discuss work-arounds for a shoulder injury):
Last time I talked about substituting exercises that resemble ones that trigger your pain as close as possible whilst remaining relatively pain free. Disclaimer: I don’t want to give you any advice that may be a detriment to you or a set back, so I please ask you all to be careful with what I’m about to say.
One question you may have is ‘why even work around the injury? Surely it would be better to just give the muscle complete rest?’
Well firstly, I think by finding pain free work-arounds you ARE letting yourself heal. And since you don’t know how long you’re going to be injured for, do you really think inactivity/getting weaker is going to help you? Unless you’ve done something like break a bone the answer is probably no. If you can find a work-around movement to train your body whilst you recover that way you maintain/gain muscle mass whilst keeping up with the motor learning of the movement pattern as close as possible depending on what your work arounds are. Therefore if you have stronger muscles they are more likely to be able to support your weaker muscles whilst they heal instead of the alternative which is every muscle getting weaker. Active recovery and physiotherapy definitely has it’s place.
Unless it’s absolutely necessary like something such as a bone injury, letting your body deteriorate to heal one muscle isn’t a strategy that I’d recommend. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Doctor and my first advice would be to listen to them over me. But this has definitely worked for me so if I told you anything else it would be nothing short of a lie.
Side note: every single one of my friends that has had a major injury and was told to stop lifting have never fully recovered and in some cases their symptoms are actually worse whilst those that stuck to their training and found work arounds are now stronger than ever, and that includes myself.
That may be closer to the side of anecdote and I want to make myself absolutely clear; I’m not saying train through the pain and hurt yourself. I’m saying find a way to train that DOESN’T HURT YOU and that’s a much better alternative than never returning to the weight room.