Training Around Injury

Any person who trains consistently and pushes for progress will experience the occasional tweak or discomfort that goes away within a few days.

Unfortunately, the temporary tweak can grow into something more serious and require serious attention. 

Today’s post will review the best training practices while injured, allowing you to stay active without impeding recovery.

  1. Experiment With New Exercises

Injuries often occur after months or years of doing the same exercises. The more you stress your body in specific ways, the more damage certain tissues take and the higher the risk of irritations and overuse injuries.

Experimenting with new exercises is one beneficial change you can make if you’re dealing with an ache or injury. Try various movements and see what allows you to stay active without irritating the affected joints or muscles. 

You can also tweak the exercises you’re currently doing by adjusting grip width, torso angle, stance, and more. For example, if regular squats bother your lower back, switch to front squats for a while.

That variation allows you to maintain a more upright torso and not put as much stress on your spine.

  1. Use Lighter Weights

Another option for training around an injury is to keep your training the same but use lighter weights. 

You can even try blood flow restriction (occlusion) training. The objective is to place a tourniquet at the base of a limb (e.g., an arm) and lift light weights (as little as 20 percent of your maximum) for more reps. 

So long as you don’t feel irritation in the affected area, the approach can help you maintain and improve your fitness while healing from the injury. Plus, the blood flow to your muscles can support the recovery process. 

  1. Focus On The Unaffected Side

A more significant injury might require not training the affected area at all. This is particularly true after surgery or when dealing with a muscle strain.

In that case, you can focus on the muscles of the opposite side. Doing so can be good for maintaining more muscle and reducing the amount of progress you lose while your injury heals. 

  1. Reduce the Range of Motion

Another practical way for training around an injury would be to shorten the range of motion. In many cases, that can allow you to keep training safely without irritating the affected area. 

For example, if you’re dealing with a shoulder injury, you can introduce some chest training in the form of push-ups. Begin by lowering yourself a few inches at a time to see if a shorter range of motion would result in less irritation.

If you see that shortening the range of motion helps, you can apply the tactic to other exercises that involve your shoulders: flyes, bench press, etc.


Dealing with an injury can be tricky. You’re limited on what you can do, and you’re unsure when things will return to normal.

Plus, you wouldn’t want to push yourself too hard because that could irritate the injury and lengthen the recovery process.

Luckily, there are many creative ways to train around an injury, stay active, and limit how much progress you lose while you heal.

February 06, 2023 — Daniel Felstein

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