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Getting back to the gym after an injury

by Tom Halpin on Thursday 30 August 2018


There’s nothing that will derail your health and fitness goals more than an injury; it might be a few agonising weeks or months before you’re back working out at the gym. To top things off, you might be feeling the flow-on effects of not exercising regularly.

Maybe you’re less focused at work, feel like your energy has dipped, or even find yourself skipping out on healthy meals.

Getting back to the gym after injury doesn’t have to be strenuous. Simply arm yourself with a well-thought-out plan and a positive attitude to recovery.  
Get some treatment 

Get some treatment from a physiotherapist or a health professional – your body is well worth the cost. Injuries (especially fitness injuries) can be frustrating, but you need to give yourself time to properly recover. 

A physio will help – and while you’re there, carefully listen to their advice. This seems like a no-brainer, but people have their own thoughts about their recovery time. Whether it’s strengthening exercises, stretches or rest – follow your rehab plan and do your stretches or exercises habitually. 

Ease back into training

Don’t let the excitement of getting back to the gym cause any further injury.

We all enjoy the feeling after a great workout. But it’s better not to come into your first session guns blazing. Remember that your fitness has probably declined, and those muscle fibres have probably shrunk. Even getting back to the gym is a big step after prolonged injury, so be mindful of this as you ease back into your training.  

Our bodies are great feedback mechanisms. Listen to your body as you begin to workout. You could start simple and make small increases to your gym routine. As a rule of thumb, take it easy to begin with. You might want to reduce your efforts by about 20% effort to begin with – choose gym exercises that are less challenging or limit the weight and range of motion of the exercises you do. See how you feel after the workout and change it up next time you’re at the gym.  

Speak to your gym instructor or personal trainer about easing back into it. The program that you were on pre-injury mightn’t cut it post-injury. Instead, you might want to focus on your weaknesses by strengthening other areas of your body.  

Stay motivated and focused

Ever heard of Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret commonly known as the “Don’t Break the Chain” method? It’s simple. Spend a fixed amount of time doing a desired activity, like 5 days per week, and once you’ve done that day, cross it off your calendar. This creates a chain of crosses highlighting your progress as you go. You can use this for your gym workouts too – especially as you find your form and routine again. 

Consider buddying up with a gym partner, it’ll keep both of you accountable and focused on your training. You might want to reconsider your fitness goals and regime, try a new routine or start a gym program with friend at a similar fitness level to you. 

When it comes to your health, fitness and lifestyle, it’s important to listen to any expert advice you receive. Recovering from any injury becomes a little easier after you’ve had professional treatment, planned ahead and jumped (slowly) back into it. 

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