Bouncing Back From Injury

As an athlete, being banged up and injured sucks. There are fewer things that are more frustrating. It tests your resiliency and makes you question your desire and passion to forge forward. While your teammates and competitors train and get better, you are sitting around seemingly with your thumb up your butt feeling helpless, frustrated, and sorry for yourself.

How you respond and come back from an injury setback will say a lot about who you are as a person. Here are 5 ways to help you successfully bounce back from injury:

  1. Roll with the punches.

Over the course of your recovery, you will go through a roller coaster of positive and negative emotions. The key is to keep things in perspective and roll with the punches.

There will be positive moments where you feel better enough to tempt jumping right back into the swing of things. More often than not, however, our excitement to get back into training leads to a re-aggravation or worsening of the original injury. Be patient and disciplined.

The most pronounced swings are the downs that come with missing or cutting back on training. This can take a huge toll on your motivation and can lead ignoring much needed prehab/rehab work because you feel hopeless and depressed. Don’t ignore it! This is an opportunity to practice your discipline of doing the “boring” things regardless of how you feel emotionally. It’s easy to stay motivated when you’re in a good mental state, but what separates the great from the good is the ability to stay motivated regardless of the circumstances.

Do your best to keep an even keel over the course of your recovery through both the highs and the lows so that you can get back to the platform in a timely manner.

  1. What you do outside of the gym and the therapist office is just as important.

Be intelligent about the lifestyle decisions you are making outside of your rehab work so that you can facilitate a faster recovery. Ask yourself: “Am I putting myself in the best position to succeed and recover the fastest?”

Things like sleep, nutrition, “extra-curricular” activities on the weekends, will all assist in determining how fast you heal up, or not.

  1. Be determined to come back even stronger.

Injuries happen to everyone, even the best.

How you decide to deal with and come back from your injury is very important. Whatever you do, DO NOT take a “do nothing” approach by sitting on your ass doing nothing and living a life of seclusion from your team. Take an active approach to your recovery and stay involved with your team and teammates. Lean on your teammates to help you get through the recovery process, especially emotionally.

Often times, injuries allow you the time to work on other weakness, both technical and muscular, that you might not have focused on if you were “healthy”. Use this time to get better! You can ALWAYS work on something.

There are countless anecdotes of athletes that always come back stronger post injury. Part of it is the desire and determination to achieve more and stay involved, while the other part is being able to take a step back and work on “weaknesses”.

  1. Inform yourself.

Probably the surest way to insure that you don’t re-injure yourself in the same manner is to educate yourself on your specific injury. Pepper your therapist and/or doctor with questions to get a clear a grasp on what happened. Once you know what the mechanism of injury was, you are more likely to seek out preventative measures in the future.

At the end of the day, it is your body so it would behoove you to educate yourself on how it works, and also how it breaks down.

  1. Take a “never again” approach.

In the event of an injury, your coach, physical therapist and/or doctor should provide a prehab/rehab routine. These are helpful especially in the case of overuse injuries, and should be continued long after the injury has fully healed up.

The only thing possibly more frustrating than getting injured is knowing that you had the tools and mechanisms to prevent it, and didn’t use it. Make prehab/rehab a part of your daily training routine moving forward, and you will decrease the likelihood of that injury becoming chronic.

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