5 Steps to Injury Recovery

Getting injured can really throw you off, especially if you’re gearing up for an event or you’re usually active. But hey, you can’t change what’s already happened. What you can control is how you deal with it.

Many people at the gym stress over missing time, worrying it’ll undo all their progress. But ask yourself, what’s the rush? Unless you’re a pro athlete depending on your performance for a living, taking a bit longer to recover won’t derail your whole life.

Put your pride aside and think long-term. Will a few extra weeks matter in the grand scheme of things? Probably not, especially if it means avoiding more problems down the road. Rushing back too soon could lead to bigger issues later on. You don’t want to end up saying, “I used to be able to do that.”

While you can’t prevent every injury, following these five simple steps will help you recover faster and better.

1. Accept The Injury

Sure, injuries happen to almost everyone who spends time at the gym. It’s easy to feel anxious and ignore the injury, pushing through the pain because you were making such good progress. But another approach is to take a breather, look at the bigger picture, and understand that your long-term muscle and joint health are more important than quick gains.

You might lose a bit of strength and muscle, but you’ll bounce back faster than you think. Once you come to terms with it, you can stop worrying about what you can’t do right now and focus on recovering well.

5 Steps to Injury Recovery
5 Steps to Injury Recovery

2. Take Your Rehab Seriously

Another simple yet often overlooked tip is rehab. One of the best ways to speed up your recovery is by improving your range of motion, flexibility, and mobility around the injury. This also reduces your risk of getting injured again. Rehab not only helps maintain your muscle mass and strength but can also break down any scar tissue that has formed where you were injured.

I get it; doing three sets of ten external shoulder rotations while sitting down isn’t the most exciting exercise. But it can make a huge difference between having a stiff shoulder and a fully recovered one. If you approach your rehab with the same dedication as your regular workouts, you’ll recover faster and be back to doing what you love in no time.

3. Feed Your Injured Muscle

A common mistake I often see is drastically cutting calories during recovery to avoid gaining weight or body fat unexpectedly. Food plays a crucial role in healing our bodies, especially after an injury. If you’ve torn your pec and can’t directly exercise it for weeks, it might shrink and weaken. When you can’t work out an injured area, one of the best things you can do is eat enough food to maintain your hard-earned muscle. Think of it as damage control.

If you cut your calories too much, you might slow down your recovery and lose more muscle than necessary. Instead, try reducing your calorie intake by 10–20 percent. This compensates for your lower activity level while giving your body enough energy to heal and recover. Plus, when you’re fully recovered, it’ll be easier to shed any extra weight gained during this period than to rebuild lost muscle.

Also Read: Bodybuilding Competition Prep Guide


Make sure to include 15–25% of your daily calories from fats. Go for healthy fats like omega-3s found in foods such as avocados, salmon, and olive oil. Omega-3s are good for your heart and keep your blood vessels healthy. They can also help your body handle inflammation after exercise.


Consider eating more protein to aid in healing and to maintain your muscle mass. Eating more protein can also keep you feeling full longer, especially if you’re eating fewer calories to match your reduced activity level. Aim for around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day.


While you won’t need as many carbs during recovery as you do when training, it’s still important to have enough to support your healing process. Once you’ve figured out how much protein and fat you need each day, fill in the rest with complex carbs. These carbs can keep you feeling energized throughout the day.

5 Steps to Injury Recovery
5 Steps to Injury Recovery

4. Train Everything Else

Even if you’ve injured your quadriceps or strained your lower back, you can still work out the other roughly 600 muscles in your body. Completely skipping the gym can lead to losing strength, fitness, and muscle mass, which can slow down your recovery. Instead, find creative ways to exercise the rest of your body. This will set you up best for when you’re fully healed and ready to get back into your regular routine.

Train Unilaterally

If you break your leg or hurt your shoulder, you can still train the opposite side of your body. It’s called cross-education when you train one limb, like an arm or leg, and still see strength benefits in the other limb. This can be really helpful during your recovery. For instance, if you break your foot and want to keep the strength in your leg, you can do exercises like single-leg curls, extensions, and presses. This way, you’re still active and helping maintain your muscle size and strength while you heal.

Work On Your Weakness

If you tore your hamstring because your quadriceps are stronger, focus on balancing the strength of your legs. Start with lighter weights until your muscles fully recover. Did you hurt your rotator cuff due to limited shoulder movement? To prevent it from happening again, take time during your recovery to stretch your shoulders, chest, and the surrounding muscles.

It’s also a good opportunity to work on muscles you might have ignored, like your triceps, calves, or back delts. Instead of training the injured muscles, focus on these other muscle groups a few times a week. This way, you’re staying active and giving your injured muscles time to heal.

5 Steps to Injury Recovery
5 Steps to Injury Recovery

5. Drop The Training Volume When You Get Back

Don’t go back to using the same weights, sets, and reps right after your injury. It’s not smart. Overloading a healing muscle can make things worse and increase the chances of re-injury. Instead, ease back into it. Try doing more reps with lighter weights for a week or two. This helps your muscles get used to the workout again and strengthens their movement patterns.

Injuries happen, and they can be painful. Take a moment to rethink your strategy, stick to your diet and rehab plan, and come back stronger than ever before.

By admin

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