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How To Workout Around an Injury?


You exercise daily. You reach your goals and smash through the plateaus relentlessly, setting the bar higher each time you are in the gym.

Yet, just when you feel indestructible, something happens…

You are not sure what has happened, but you feel a burning pain, and realize you have injured yourself.

I have experienced all the highs and lows of a fitness journey and trust me when I say that nothing sucks more than an injury.

how to workout around injury

But, before any gym bros advise you to grind through the injury, let me share my iron-clad secrets that will help you work out around an injury.

Wait It Out

The best move is often a “no move” at all. Let me explain.

Injuries are a form of communication for our bodies. Every time I had inflamed muscles, it was a signal that something is not quite right. Sometimes, it was my cardiovascular health; other times, a signal that a particular part is weak and needs some work.

Therefore, once you have an injury, it’s recommended that you take a step back, lock yourself out of the gym for a few days or weeks, let the body heal itself, and become stronger than ever.

Yes, I get it.

You cannot stay out of a gym for a day, let alone weeks. Then here’s some food for motivation: skipping the gym for a week to recuperate can have the same effects as entering the gym for the first time.

The way I see it, you get to repair your body as well as experience the sweet taste of newbie gains – all over again!

how to exercise when injured

A Lesson from Bro-Split Workouts

I assume you are as restless as I am when it comes to hitting the gym; it’s a fix we can’t get enough of!

For all such gym freaks, an easy way to work out around an injury is by skipping the injured muscle and focusing on other muscle groups.

For instance, a leg injury might stop you from heavy lower body exercises, but you could still rock some skull-crushers and lateral raises!

Lastly, if you believe skipping a muscle group to heal faster makes you a weak dude bro, check out how Calum Von Moger, who is a 3x Mr. Universe, trained his right arm when he had a left bicep injury.

Warming Up to Warmups

It’s a common sentiment to hate warmups. Why would anyone skip rope, lift lightweights, and waste sets when they could jump right into a workout? Some even argue that if beasts in the jungle don’t need to warm up before they pounce on their prey, why do we need to warm up?

After all, do we all not belong to the warm-blooded mammal family? (Hard to argue with that logic but let me share my expert advice with you).

Over the years, I have realized my fear of injuries and love for warmups have come together to save me from any major injuries or muscle tears. Thus, ensuring a warmup sufficiently before each workout could be the only step you need to prevent an injury.

You can take the same philosophy of warming up and apply it to your workouts with an injury. Not only does a good warmup session prevent any further injuries, but it also allows more blood flow to the injured area and aid in speedy recovery.


Stretches Build Strength

It is astounding how complex our bodies are. Each day as I work out, I am surprised by the sheer number of muscles, bones, tendons, and joints that I could see and feel.

Since we have more than just muscles and bones, it is natural that we could have different kinds of injuries. A tendon inflammation or a joint tear. In any way, whenever you are working out around an injury, make sure to do lots of stretches.

Stretching before, during, and after each workout session offers promising results. Not only do you squeeze in a safe and awesome workout, but you also ensure the injured body part is getting some activity without excessive load.

Juicing On Creativity

There is nothing more terribly amazing than an old-school free weight workout!

However, free weights exert more pressure on your body on any injury you might have. Hence, using machines, for example, replacing a bench with a Smitch Machine, can work wonders by letting you do a grueling workout despite an injury.

In a similar essence, you can experiment with foam, yoga mats, and braces that offer your body extra support so your injuries are not taxed.

Zoom In on An Injury

The next suggestion could invite some eyerolls and controversy. But I cannot let a few critics’ uninformed opinion stop me from sharing my wisdom that I have acquired over the years.

In my experience, a few days rest followed by a few days of workout using the injured muscle or body part is an effective strategy to workout despite an injury.

The first time I heard of the technique, it sounded counterintuitive to me, and frankly, I thought it is super dumb. But I had to try it to believe it!

Sub-acute injuries that build over time are a result of weak body parts or muscle. Therefore, if you have a weak point that is often or currently injured, you can perform a few targeted exercises for that injured or injury-prone part and see yourself become as good as new!

Defy Gravity

At only $6 per minute, you can access Anti-Gravity Treadmill and run faster than Forrest Grump and forget that any injury even exists.

But that’s an insane amount of money, right?

Here’s my favorite and frugal form of anti-gravity machines: a swimming pool.

Water offers buoyancy and reduces the pressure exerted on your joints, both of which are effective ways to work out even with an injury.

I am not sure about you, but the next time I experience any discomfort in my joints, you can surely find me underwater.


Rehabilitation Nutrition

As a fitness enthusiast, the pain that injury brings is bearable. I can simply power through it. Even workouts with an injury do not seem impossible.

The real issue, however, arises when I experience muscle breakdown, strength loss, and muscle atrophy. The frustration that I sometimes experienced when trying to work out around an injury was relentless and a difficult place to come out of.

Yet I developed a nutritious diet, based on high protein, complex carbs, fatty acids, and my secret ingredient, Omega-3, that helped me in maintaining my strength which allows one of the best workout sessions even with an injury. You can do that too, and get exceptional results.


Injuries are signs to stop and ponder. Our suggestion: consult a doctor for some tests before jumping onto any of our age-old methods around an injury. Alas, while we may be able to treat the exterior, only a doctor can tell you what’s going on inside.  

Ultimately, injuries can slow you down, but with our methods and tips, nothing, let alone an injury, can stop your pursuit of greatness!

FAQs About Exercise Around an Injury

Can you work out with an injury?

While you can, you shouldn’t immediately. Wait until the pain and/or swelling subsides, or let the doctor give you the go-ahead before you get back on your workout routine.

How long does the recovery period last for an injury?

Usually 6-12 weeks. But it also depends on the type of injury you have faced.

How to prevent an injury?

While there is no secret to an injury-less workout, you can reduce the chances by wearing the right gear, getting a nutritious diet, and of course, being careful in your exercises. You do not want to go overboard!

Which exercises can help heal an injury?

Strength training is an excellent way to prevent injuries as it strengthens muscles and increases muscle mass. Strengthened body – Strengthened you.

What are some common causes of injuries during workouts?

People most often face an injury amid workouts when they workout harder than their body’s capacity, fail to rest in between or do not begin with a warmup exercise.

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