I like to ask this question a lot when I teach seminars to coaches:
How Do Injuries Heal?
I actually get a pretty wide variety of responses. Time, mobility, stopping what’s aggravating the area. These are all pretty good responses but I also feel a bit like they generally miss the most important stimulus for healing.
The way I like to think about it is that your body is very smart and adaptable. If you want to get your biceps to grow bigger then what will you do to accomplish this? If you’re smart you’ll head to the gym and bust out some biceps curls consistently for a few months and reap the benefits of big old biceps.
Injuries behave similarly. Sure, if you have an initial injury it’s important to unload the area and give it some time to heal. You’ll also want to change up your exercise technique and programming if that was a contributing factor to getting hurt. Mobility can play an issue if a lack of it is causing some funky technique during exercise. However, you also need to stress the area for it to heal and adapt over time.
Think about it. If I injure my shoulder and I want my shoulder to eventually be able to handle bench press again, how can I go about doing it? Well, you need to show your shoulder that it needs to adapt to the forces of pressing. This doesn’t mean going right back into the gym and loading the barbell up with 225lbs and doing reps with it on a freshly injured shoulder. However, doing some lighter pressing variations that eventually turn into bench press is a good way to go about it. Progressive dosing of exercise is very important for injuries. In this way exercise is the medicine that helps injuries heal.
This way you’re showing the shoulder the forces that it will have to be able to handle and slowly ramping up those forces in your training to give your shoulder time to slowly adapt to the stress. Make sense? Check out the video below for a more thorough explanation:
If you enjoyed this short clip then I wanted to let you know it’s part of a much longer webinar series included with subscription into my Fitness Pain Free Insiders Online Mentoring Program:
I created this series because coaches and personal trainers everywhere are working with athletes in pain every day of the week. This series will tell you exactly what to do (and what not to do) with these athletes so they can continue working towards their goals and prevent injuries in the long haul.
Exercise is my medicine of choice,
Dan Pope DPT, OCS, CSCS, CF L1
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