#47 Benched

Should you work out when you’re injured?

Feel like you’re benched because you pulled a muscle? Don’t be so quick to let yourself off the hook. You can get in an excellent workout despite your injury, and without causing further pain.

Say you pull a muscle in your leg so you call off your run for the next day. Sure. Of course. But if you have a training session scheduled for two days later, there’s no need to cancel your appointment. A good trainer will be able to work around your injury, and give you an excellent workout that will make you question why you ever considered canceling.

My training clients know: One of my favorite things to do is make up a workout on the fly. When someone comes in and says “can’t use my right shoulder today,” I abandon my pre-planned workout and make it up as I go. If any exercise I suggest aggravates the injured muscle, we stop and find something else that works. Another way to read this is: If you are a runner and your ankle hurts, try a spin class instead of running. If you do yoga and your calf muscle is strained, try an abs class or an upper-body weights workout for a week or two instead.

Recently one of my regular clients came in with an injured toe. She was unable to put weight on her foot, but didn’t want to miss her workout. We decided to do a half-hour upper-body workout, and I came up with various arms, shoulders, abs, back and chest exercises she could do while sitting on the ball, step, bench, or mat. It was a heck of a workout, and she didn’t even have her shoes on.

Moral of the story? If you’re injured, DO rest your suffering muscles, and DO tell your fitness instructors/trainers what’s ailing you. The big “however,” though, is DON’T skip out on your workouts just because you’re not 100 percent. It will set you back even further. And honestly, injuries will happen throughout your life. You can spend a lifetime benched. Trudge through the muck and I promise, you will come out stronger on the other side!