If you’ve suffered an injury, I know it can be frustrating. You are afraid you’ll lose all the hard earned muscle you’ve just spent so long to get. The truth is, muscle loss happens at a much slower rate than you think. Even if you lost muscle size during the time of an injury and rehab, if you focus on smart programming you will not only get yourself back to 100%, but you’ll find the muscle grows back way quicker than what it first took. For now, what you must focus on is being smart with your approach towards getting back into the gym.
Focus On Healing
First and foremost listen to your doctor. If they want you to rest, then rest. Don’t think you can outsmart your injury or train through it. This is how people not only reinjure themselves, but you are only setting yourself up for an even longer setback. Take this time to recover, and heal.
Locate The Root of The Problem
Find the root cause. Was it a bad movement pattern in the gym that caused the injury? Did your knees cave in during a squat causing a tear? Now is the time to choose safe, and effective mobility exercises that will help cue the proper movement patterns to get your injury healed.
Using a program like MAPS Prime Pro, will allow you to find the exact exercises you need for any given area that's injured on your body, and how you should be correcting it. Whether it's cuing the muscle, or tracking the right movement patterns so your knees now push outwards vs caving in, it’s got you covered. You want exercises that you can do very slowly and controlled and take through a full range of motion without pain or discomfort.
Train What You Can
An injury in one area doesn’t have to kill your entire workout. If you injure your shoulder, let's say, it doesn't mean you can’t still train your legs. Just don’t choose anything that puts that shoulder at risk. I like to use machines for this, as it will help target exactly what I want to without having to put other areas in danger.
Also keep in mind, training what you can still sends a signal for the entire body to grow. That doesn’t mean your injured area will get the same growth as before, but it will help mitigate the muscle loss during your time of healing.
You probably won’t be exerting as many calories each day, so you may want to take your calories down just a little bit. Having said that, try to keep the protein high. Protein provides the building blocks for muscle. They’re going to help those muscles recover especially after those mobility sessions, so you don’t want to be slowing down your rate of recovery because you didn’t eat enough of the right foods to speed it up. You may want to take down the carbohydrates a little from what you are used to.
At the end of the day, a smart routine to help heal an injury involves good mobility exercises, and building a connection to the muscle. None of this is meant to be rushed by any means. Take your time with each rep and each exercise. Really focus on tension and activating the supporting or targeted muscles that allow that area to strengthen. This will not only aid in recovery, but in the long run allow for more muscle growth. The best muscle growth happens, when you can take a stimulated muscle through a full range of motion not a partial one.
If you want more info or help on how to precisely find the proper rehab exercises to help you recovery quicker be sure to check out our “Safe Start Bundle” which has our MAPS Starter, MAPS Prime, Prime Pro, and Anabolic workouts which will take you from rehabbing injury all the way through to getting back into a regular workout.