How to Rebound From Injuries in Powerlifting

Lets face it, many of you reading this either have gotten hurt while training or will get hurt in the future, that is just a given with this sport. In fact, the reason you probably stumbled across this article was because you were grinding for that extra rep on bench or an extra 10lbs on a deadlift despite what your program said and you got hurt. Or hell, maybe you were playing some rec league beach volleyball and you popped something in your knee, sidelining you from squatting for two months. Regardless of how you got hurt, you came to this article to figure out how to rebound from that injury.

IMPORTANT: DON’T BE THE GUY THAT TRIES TO TRAIN THROUGH AN INJURY, POWERLIFTING IS ALL ABOUT LONGEVITY, DON’T TRY TO PUSH THROUGH AN INJURY TO BE A TOUGH GUY IN THE SHORT TERM, YOU ARE ONLY HURTING YOUR LONG TERM PROGRESS

Step One: Don’t Panic

One thing that took me a long time to figure out was actually pretty simple thing in hindsight: Don’t Panic. Pretty much everyone’s first reaction when they get injured is to panic, freak out, think about how bad the injury is, and start trying to estimate how long they are gonna be out for. 99% of the time, the pain you felt in your knee or back is not career ending (crazy, I know). When you get hurt, take a breath, assess the damage, stay calm because most of the time the injury isn’t nearly as bad as you think it is, and accept the fact that you are injured.

Step Two: Rehab

Now that you have accepted the fact that you are injured, its time for everyone’s favorite part: Rehabilitation

Rehabbing from any injury is whatever you make of it, if you think its gonna suck, it will more than likely suck. If instead of complaining about your rehab exercises and instead take a more positive outlook, not only will you have a more enjoyable time rehabbing, you will (anecdotally) recover faster and better.

If you sit and complain about how you got hurt or cry about how boring squatting an empty bar is, you aren’t doing anything constructive and you certainly aren’t getting better.

The most important part of rehab is that you do not try and rush the process and come back before you are ready, this will only lead to a higher chance of reinjury or a new injury because you are compensating.

Just like you cannot rush getting to a 600lb squat, you cannot rush rehabbing an injury, it takes time.

Russian Powerlifter Alexander Sedykh fracturing both of his knees when attempting to squat 400kg

Step Three: Mental Game

Recovering from injury is all about mindset, you will have to attack the recovery process the same way you would attack a meet prep or competition: giving it full effort and pushing yourself but also enjoying the process.

For some people this part of the recovery process will be easy, they already have a rock solid mental game, they have the right mindset, and they will be recovered and back to full speed quickly.

However for those who are not as mentally sound as the previous group, an injury can be an absolute nightmare for mental health and it is very easy to get into a dark spot. The good thing about your mind is that you can strengthen it just like any other muscle.

Speaking from personal experience, I definitely belong to the latter group and that is OKAY, not everyone can be a mental rock but the important thing is that you are trying to improve your mental game just like you are trying to get stronger physically. Whenever I get injured and am feeling down, there are a few different things that I like to remind myself:

  1. I am injured but that does not mean I am unable to do anything
  2. This is a short term setback, no need to panic
  3. I am a strong person, I will come back from this stronger and better
  4. I will attack the recovery process just like I would attack my normal training

Probably the most important thing to remember if you are working on your mental game and you are recovering from an injury is this: You are stronger than you think you are, both mentally and physically. The human mind and body are incredible and for the most part, can recover from pretty much anything.

Now that you have all of this knowledge in how to rebound from injury, go out and attack the process, take the time to get stronger mentally and physically, enjoy the recovery process, and remember, this sport is an ever evolving journey, with many unexpected twists and turns, stay strong and always be chasing greatness.

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