There are a handful of different terms we use in the industry to identify injuries. I feel like all of terms become intertwined, so I will define the differences between the terms
DEFINING YOUR CONDITION
Injury: You are hurt, a muscle is torn, strained, a bone is broken or a ligament is torn. You cannot workout.
Restriction: You have a physical restriction which limits you from certain activity or movements. An example would be if you had rotator cuff surgery 3 years ago and now that surgery restricts you from being able to do certain things and doing soft tissue work will not be a corrective.
Limitation: Limitations can be worked on and pushed through. We make short term and long term goals to work on limitations and to better ourselves. For example, you have tight hamstrings and that limits you from touching your toes and doing squats. We can work on flexibility and strength.
gym and trainer should not cause injuries and restrictions, and they should be able to help you through your limitations. If you find yourself getting hurt in your workouts, ask your trainer what is going on. You can be over training, pushing yourself to do movement patters which your body is not ready for yet, or lifting too heavy.
In a group setting there is a certain level of responsibility you have to take yourself. Generally, there is only one trainer for a large number of people, so all eyes cannot be on you all of the time. If you are coming into the class with limitations, you are at a much higher risk of injury, and you want to make sure you are not elevating those risks and turning them into injuries.
First thing first, you want let the trainer know about your restriction/limitations before class. A good trainer will modify and adjust accordingly. However, this does come with some boundaries. Understand that it is not the trainer’s job to re-write another workout for you in order to get around your issues, or to make them better during this session. In a class setting, everyone needs to be able to fit into the template of the day with little adjustments on the fly. Changing a thruster to a stiff press is easy enough, however, changing lifts and full chunks of a circuit is too much to ask in most cases, and the trainer should recommend some personal training until you can be worked back into class responsibly.
One thing I have come to really appreciate are those people who remember my modifications and can apply them from class to class. This is a great example of the client taking responsibility for themselves and not taking all the attention from the class every minute
RULE OF THUMB WITH INJURIES
If your injury worsens or does not heal, generally within 7 days, then I prefer you have it looked at by a professional. Most small injuries should last no longer than 7 days if you have been kind to it.
I am all for working hard and pushing through dings and bangs, however this comes with a much greater responsibility. You have to understand your body, define the injury, understand which modifications you can use and properly care for injury.
WILL YOU HEED MY WARNING?
This blog is all about how to responsibly approach class with injuries. The first thing we did is define the differences of risk assessment then how to approach class with the correct frame of mind, however, sadly I would say that it almost doesn’t matter what I say. I find that fitness enthusiast can never take their own advice and push their limits all too often to the point of injury, where had they just rested a few days, they would find themselves free of any issues.
THE BARE NAKED TRUTH
So, what I am going to reiterate as a strong suggestion is just like anything else in your life, you have to be your biggest advocate and make sure you are taking care of yourself and listen to your body. You cannot expect to slip into a group setting injured with all that goes on in that hour, tell the trainer at a moment’s notice what your issue is and expect that person to take perfect care of you. Of course the trainer will do the best they can, however you should be the most responsible party involved in this scenario. Know your limits, know when to ask for help, and know when your body is telling you to not workout. But at all times, make sure the gym knows what is going on with you. That is what they are there for, and in most cases, the trainers are very good at doing their jobs and keeping you safe no matter what your issue is that day, within reason.