Have you recently experienced an injury that's left you unable to complete your normal training programme?
Good! It's no doubt been a long time coming.
Apart from injuries sustained by collision or contact in sports such as Rugby and Martial Arts, most soft tissue injuries occur because your posture, technique, strength and movement efficiency is... well... shit.
I apologise for being blunt, but it's true.
I take my hat off to those who train hard week in week out, but the reality is is that you're going to hurt yourself if you do so without addressing weaknesses, technical errors and poor posture.
It is not often that my clients or athletes injure themselves. Fortunately, most of those I work with who have existing injuries obtained them before working with me. Unfortunately, however, injury is inevitable. Particularly when working with a large group of people with such a large variety of abilities and training experience.
When any of my clients or athletes hurt themselves, I see it as a perfect opportunity to seize the moment and focus all of our attention on nothing other than:
Postural mobility & stability
Technical execution of exercises and movements
Unilateral stability and balance
Yes, these things are always developed from the moment they walk into the gym, however, whether we like it or not, results are the client's priority.
If we spent 100% of time working on mobility, balance and coordination drills then our clients and athletes would never achieve their goals.
Fortunately, I believe that we've managed to find a good balance, applying the right amount of 'rehab' drills into client's programmes whilst still being able to train hard and effectively to achieve results.
In the event of an injury that leaves an individual's limb immobilised, training intensity may have to reduce.
This is not a time to rest, it's the time to work on their weaknesses so they come back stronger than they were prior to injury!
Movement, after all, is the key to effective recovery.
Take one of my younger clients, Dan, as an example. He is an amateur Rugby League player and competitive Olympic Weightlifter.
His posture has never been great. He has been working very hard to improve it these last 12 months or so and it has been getting a lot better.
Unfortunately Rugby doesn't allow for postural weakness of any form and injury was inevitable.
He dislocated his shoulder a number of weeks ago. A shame...
But "great!" I thought! Now he's got 8-12 weeks away from the game, now is the perfect opportunity to spend all of our time fixing his weaknesses. He's no longer going to be sore from his match at the weekend. We no longer have to adjust his training to ensure he is recovered for Sunday.
Now is the time we can place all of our attention on improving his postural mobility and stability as well as improve his balance and coordination so that he can execute exercises our club with better technique and efficiency.
In a bizarre kind of way, Dan's injury may be what he needed to experience in order to ensure he will never experience injury again.
Now this period is no easy ride...
Do not assume that injury prevention work is all easy, steady, chilled out exercises performed at bodyweight or weights less than 2.5kg.
Quite the opposite in fact.
Check out this video...
Belt squats are being used very frequently in his training at the moment. He may not be able to place a barbell or safety bar on his back yet, but that doesn't mean he can't squat.
Belt squats are awesome.
Aside from allowing him to continue to squat, they will also be a fundamental tool to help him improve his squat technique.
The load sits perfectly in-line with his centre of mass, meaning that Dan can use these to learn how to place all of the tension in his legs, remain upright, keep his knees in front of his toes for as long as possible and focus on keeping his weight through the mid-foot.
I've no doubt that once we have finished building on the strength and mobility of his injured shoulder in the next few weeks, he'll return to squatting with better form, execution and strength.
Injury is your time to develop your weaknesses. Don't sit at home feeling sorry for yourself. Get into the gym. Make some modifications and work on the things you normally avoid.
You'll be grateful when you return from injury... trust me.