- Perform exercises on body parts that are distant from the injury site (i.e., if you injured your right arm, you can still work the opposing arm as well as your lower body). This gives you the opportunity to concentrate on working weaker body parts.
- Perform the same workout routine but instead use less weight with higher reps. This is a good technique that may enhance the recovery process.
- Perform isolated movements in which only one joint is involved (e.g., leg extensions) rather than compound movements in which multiple joints are involved (e.g., squats). Performing isolated exercises helps to strengthen weaker body parts.
- Perform the same exercises but with slight modifications (i.e., for chest: perform neutral-grip (palms facing inward) rather than pronated-grip (palms facing forward) dumbbell presses to lessen shoulder pain).
- Perform a split-body routine (i.e., push-pull, upper-lower body) rather than a full-body routine to give the injured site more time to recover.
- Perform exercises for weaker muscle groups (e.g., rhomboids, triceps, hamstrings, abdominals, glutes, etc.). This will lessen the risk of injury for weaker body parts.
- Perform activities outside the gym (e.g., hiking, yoga, swimming, etc.).
- To alleviate the risk of further injury, be sure to perform a cardio warmup, pre-workout dynamic stretches, joint warmup (rotations, flexions, extensions), warmup sets of the intended exercise, and post-workout static stretches. Consider working with a foam roller to enhance recovery and reduce muscle soreness. See this article for more details.
- Hire a personal trainer or physical therapist to guide you with the recommended exercises and stretches to speed the recovery process.
BOTTOM LINE: The important message here is that an injury does not need to sideline you from being consistent in your workouts. There are techniques and ways to work around an injury.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."