You Can Always Train Around an Injury
Last week, during our staff in-service training, I took it upon myself to discuss programming with our batch of new interns. Specifically, my goal was to give them a hypothetical situation and see whether or not they could come up with an effective training strategy.
In doing so, my thought process was this: While assessment, functional anatomy, and understanding movement is kind of a big deal; having the ability to effectively write a program based off of those findings is just as equally important. Essentially, given “x” scenario and “y” limitations/goals/needs, can you come up with a “z” program that’s not only safe, but will get results?
You’d be surprised at how many trainers and coaches out there can crank up the geek factor and quote research verbatim, or brag about how many books they’ve read, or even how many followers they have on their Youtube page, but when push comes to shove – write really, really, really sub-par programs. And I’m being really nice when I say that.
Moreover, as I noted with the guys – and as counterintuitve as it may sound – it’s rare when I write a program and it’s followed without any interruption, 100% through. Stuff happens and life gets in the way sometimes: long work hours, cars break down, girlfriend’s break up with you (bitch!), kids are up all night, Little League games, paper is due, tweaked shoulders, lower back is pissed, explosive diarrhea, not enough sleep, so on and so forth.
At the expense of over-generalizing, the mark of a good coach and trainer is being able to program on the fly when the unexpected happens. If your athlete or client walks in on any given day, and he or she twisted their ankle during practice yesterday; or, quite simply, they’re just out of juice, and it just so happens they have a heavy squat session that day, can you still give them a training effect even though you may have to change up the programming?
The answer, I hope, is a resounding yes.
Using an example from the in-service talk, how would you program for a 15 year-old pitcher who was just diagnosed with spondylolisthesis (and is in a back brace), but also has a “lax” (loose) shoulder on his throwing side?
Similarly, how would you program for a 40 year-old fat-loss client with a sports hernia?
[Cue Jeopardy theme music]
The point of this post isn’t to go into specific details on what those programs should entail (although I could do that in the future). Rather, the point I’m trying to make is that you can always train around an injury……always.
And, for the record, hang-nails aren’t an injury. Nor is a headache for that matter!
When writing programs for clients, try not to think about what they can’t do – but what they CAN do.
Doing so will make writing programs infinitely easier and will undoubtedly make you a better coach.
Left arm is in a cast? Well, thankfully, you still have a right arm you can train, not to mention an entire lower body.
Shoulder hurts? Stop benching three times per week for the love of god!, incorporate more close-chain (push-ups) and horizontal rowing variations, hammer scapular stability/t-spine mobility, front squat instead of back squats, and pick up a foam roller every now and then.
Tweaked lower back? Nix any axial loading for the near future, hammer single leg stuff and core stability, get some aggressive soft tissie work, and you’ll be back in no time.
Obviously, these are just simple examples and certainly not exhaustive, but I’m sure most get the idea.
And for those of you who have clients that bitch and whine no matter what you do with them, have them watch this video and see if they still can come up with excuses:
Outside of ebola, not training isn’t an option in my book.