Hopefully over the past few articles I’ve dispelled a few myths about what is acceptable as an excuse for letting your physical improvements suffer.

However, you may have read through them feeling smug in the knowledge that none of them apply to you.

Today’s topic, on the other hand, may surprise you that I am considering it as an excuse. After all, injuries genuinely restrict your movement. Working through an injury is only going to cause further damage. Right?

As with the Too Tired Excuse, this is not one to be taken lightly and again should be treated with care.

In fact, it is all too common to simply ‘push through’ an injury if the desire for results is strong.

A bit of pain is not going to get in the way of your new physique!

I am as guilty of this as anyone.

I’m better these days, but I still have times where I just push through regardless of the feedback I’m getting from my body.

However, as common as that may be amongst dedicated trainers, for every yin there is a yang. For every person that wants to just push through, there will be another who uses every niggle and pain as an excuse to do nothing.

A bit of elbow pain and suddenly they can’t squat, lunge or run.

A knee injury and now a seated row or bench press is out of the question.

Don’t get me wrong, this can sometimes be the case.

If you are benching properly, you should be generating the force of the press through your whole body. Thus, a severe knee injury could well inhibit this.

But, as I said when discussing the ‘too tired’ excuse, doing something is better than doing nothing.

Maybe you look to do some floor presses, some rows or press variations where you are secured by equipment or a bench. The variety of exercises is virtually limitless.

Most injuries can be worked around.

If your whole upper body is in traction, get some calf raises done. Spinal problems, then work on that weak grip strength.

Just do something!

You should always look to be sensible.

Be safe!

Injuries are best avoided.

However, if you don’t get injured now and then, you are not working hard enough to test your capacity. The only way you are truly going to know what your limits are is by occasionally crossing them.

Remember, all forms of training carry an element of risk.

It is the weight of that risk compared to the potential reward that should determine your training choices.

In this case, you are looking for the reward of continued progress versus the risk of further injury.

If you are sensible and methodical about your training choices, there is always a way of doing something whilst limiting any danger of further injury.

Don’t be the person that has major shoulder pain and heads to the gym for some behind the neck presses followed by upright rows.

Injured, so you can’t workout? Do: focus on other muscles & movements that don’t aggravate it; work on flexibility and strengthening the injured area; use time to focus on areas you haven’t had time to target; remember your motivation for training, focus heal up & get back to it. Don’t: Train through acute pain; give up all training, still lots of ways you can improve; abandon your entire training plan; go back to your heaviest weight when coming back from injury; Let yourself get demotivated, injuries suck but they happen to everyone.

In fact, on the risk v reward scale, just don’t be the person doing behind the neck presses or upright rows period!

That is just looking for an injury, whether you have one or not.

But, if you have a shoulder injury, then you may want to work on some light mobility work for your rotator cuff and some heavy leg sessions.

Use the time you would have used on the injured area to bring up any weaknesses.

Work on your flexibility; focus in on your glutes, your calves, your forearms etc. Anything that has been causing your issues or holding you back.

Injuries are feedback to be cautious – they are not an excuse to skive!

If you are not moving forwards, you are moving back.

Keep your progress moving in the right direction.

Remember what you want from your training.

As I have continued to say from the First Article of this series, always go back to your emotional motivation and go do something to move you towards that goal.

If you missed the previous article in the series on what to do when you are too tired to workout, be sure to check it out as this generally applies to everyone at some point or another.

These articles have one thing in common with the excuses – there will be another one along very shortly, so look out for it.

Injured or not, the level of focus and intensity in your training is of the highest importance. And that’s what the final article in this series is all about. Posing the question, “Are You Giving Your All?” 

Check it out now.

Injured so can't workout - excuse?
Can’t Workout? by Mark Tiffney

Has this changed your views in any way?

Can you think of times you’ve used the injury excuse in the past when you, in truth, could have still done something?

Let me know in the comments below and let’s see how weak or strong the excuses used have been.

And if you want a full list of less common (but more frequent) excuses you might be employing without knowing it, have a read at this and see if any of these look familiar.

Often the reason for using excuses like this are simply not having the right mindset.

As such, I’ve put together a PDF on Emotional & Mental Foundations and how to get them in place, free to download right now.