If you are reading this it is because you are injured or maybe just interested in training while injured. Maybe you fell outside, slept weird, went too heavy on a movement, or just do not feel right. Regardless of what happened, the only thing you have control over is what you choose to do moving forward. Stay positive and take proactive steps to address your injury and begin recovering.
Although this page focuses on scaling, recovery and prevention, having the right mindset towards training during this time is equally as important. Our approach to the recovery mindset is directly in line with our approach towards mindset in general:
- Choose a growth mindset. An injury can be a powerful learning tool and opportunity for growth, or you can let it derail your training. Successful athletes focus on the positive, learn, and come back stronger.
- Work your weaknesses. Your body is not 100%, so you may not be able to perform the way you used to. Use this as a time to increase your performance in areas of weakness and build specific skills you can still train. Speak to a coach to find out how you can address those weaknesses.
- Acknowledge the process. There will be ups and downs. Your body will feel better one day, then maybe a bit worse the next. What you are looking for is to trend upwards. Not every day will be better. On days you are not feeling as good, it is important to adjust your training so you can leave the gym feeling better.
- Keep recording. Maybe you end up doing a workout that is a bit different from the class. That is fine because you are still working to improve your fitness. Record what you do for rehab, how your body feels that day, and anything else that relates to your training. All this information could be useful coaches and medical practitioners who are working with you.
- Celebrate the successes. This could be anything. Your work day was more comfortable, you slept better, less soreness, were able to do a movement again, etc. Celebrate every improvement. In the short term you might not see improvement in certain workouts because of physical limitations. This is normal.
how to approach a workout
The main consideration for taking classes while injured is workout scaling. You can still train while injured, however, you may need to adjust the movements and intensity of workouts. CrossFit is scalable, and this applies to injuries and physical limitations as well. With proper scaling, a workout stimulus can very often be maintained when dealing with an injury.
Here are a few scaling ideas:
- Volume (reps, rounds)
- Implement (Dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell, medball, slamball)
- Reduced range of motion (painfree ranges)
- Unilateral Movements (Single leg or arm)
- Reduced impact (Rowing vs running, step ups vs box jumps, etc)
- Reduced dynamics (Kipping vs strict, push press vs push jerk, etc)
If you are injured we highly encourage you educate yourself on scaling options, come to class with a daily plan for the workout, and run the plan by your coach. If you are unsure how to modify workouts during your recovery, speak to a coach.
How to Approach Recovery
We recommend approaching recovery as a chance to investigate, experiment, and learn. We often see athletes stop moving as a result of injuries. Doing nothing will not necessarily help you heal, and may slow down the recovery process. We believe you should take an active approach. Use your nutrition, training, sleep, and other recovery methods as tools to help you heal.
Step 1 - Collect Information
What happened to cause the injury? What movements are you still able to do? What movements make your injury worse? Are there lifestyle factors which affect the injured area? (sitting, sleep, nutrition, work requirements) Then, go one step deeper. What specifically caused the injury? At what exact point do the movements which cause pain begin to hurt? What specific movements make the injury worse and are there commonalities between those movements? Are there movements which make it feel better? What movements have you been neglecting which may contribute to an imbalance?
Step 2 - Experiment, Retest, and Repeat
Once you have some information. Begin to experiment with changes to movement, nutrition, and sleep. See what changes produce a positive effect, and which ones are negative. Then, use that information to make adjustments and repeat.
To use movement as an example, our bodies crave variety. If you spend a lot of time in the same positions outside the gym, or performing the same exercises inside the gym you may develop imbalances and asymmetries. Try incorporating new drills which force you to move in different ways - joint mobility and activation drills.
How to Approach Prevention
Some injuries are not preventable, but you can reduce the risk of injuries occurring. This can be done through training, sleep and nutrition. Train to improve your weaknesses. Work to improve your technique, and identify areas of your body that need strength, flexibility, balance, etc. Technique then consistency then intensity is a very important progression coaches use to teach movement. Skipping a step like technique, can greatly increase your risk of injury. The better your body moves the less injury risk you will have. To prevent injuries from repeating you should also continuously work for improve the areas of your body that you have had issues with before (prehab). By being diligent with your body maintenance you will increase your body's resiliency, which also improves your fitness.
How you recover also plays a role in preventing injury. The way you sleep, the food you eat, and how much you train will all determine whether your body recovers or not. If you feel like you are not recovering properly, these are all variables that you should consider. Have you been sleeping less because of a busy work week? Has your nutrition changed because you have been travelling? Did you recently increase your training volume because of a new goal you just set? Reach out to a coach if you are unsure if something might currently be limiting your ability to recover.