What Happens When You Train to Avoid Injury, then Get Injured Again?

Okay guys, I’ve made it to week four of my training series with Equinox Tier-3+ trainer Roy Chan, and let me tell you, this was the roughest week of all.

But for those of you who are new here (welcome!) and don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, here’s the TL;DR version: after suffering a neck injury in 2016 and nursing it back to health thanks to an awesome physio, I’ve become super cautious with exercising, because, well, I’m scared of getting injured again. So when Equinox hooked me up with Roy, I decided to take advantage of his expertise (umm… have you seen his movement vids on Insta?!) and figure out how to increase my upper body strength sans hurting my neck again (or anything else for that matter).

But alas, week four is when I stumbled across a roadblock: another injury.

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It started after my first workout of the week with Roy. We did the same routine from last week (see it here) and everything was fine. I was feeling strong, motivated and wanted to push myself even harder, so I decided to go to Muay Thai that evening for the first time since the holiday break. That’s where thing’s went downhill.

Since summer I’ve experienced some discomfort in my right hip flexor immediately going into my Muay Thai stance (left foot forward, right foot back and slightly angled out). The discomfort would become more prominent when I started punching and kicking. The only relief I felt was when I stretched it extensively (basically going into a left split).

I felt the discomfort into the evening and the next day. I informed Roy of the pain when I saw him on the Thursday, which resulted in him altering my planned workout for that day (more on that later). He also advised me to rest, take some time off of Muay Thai and avoid stretching, which, to be honest, was really hard to do, since all I wanted to do was stretch out my hip flexor rather than just lie or sit there in discomfort.

For the rest of the day and weekend, the inflammation was so bad, it was difficult for me to sleep. And then I went into mental panic mode. First, I felt like my training sessions were going to waste since I hit a roadblock. Second, I was worried I would no longer hit my training goals. And third, I was freaking out about not being able to do Muay Thai, which has been imperative in keeping my mood in check.

My mind started going places. Would I be able to do Muay Thai ever again? (Dramatic, I know.) What was going to happen with my training sessions? Which low-intensity exercises could I do that would give me the same endorphin high as a high-intensity workout? I would be lying if I said there weren’t some tears.

I was in such a discouraged state, I pretty much just shut out the world and hibernated the entire weekend. The only thing that was really giving me hope was my appointment with my physiotherapist on Monday, hoping he could somehow figure out what was wrong and help calm down the inflammation and strengthen my hip flexor.

Injury is a tricky thing. Sure, it’s physical, but a lot of it is mental. This week, I realized how much I take my body for granted. I pushed myself too hard. I didn’t listen to my body yelling “STOP” (in the form of the discomfort creeping up) and kept going hard at Muay Thai, disregarding the rest my body needed. I was angry that I put myself in this position. I was frustrated that I had hit a road block. I was scared of how all of this would affect my overall mood.

So what happens next? Well, you’ll have to wait until next week to find out. In the meantime, here’s the adjusted workout I did this week:

Corrective Strategy/Movement Prep

Front bridge — Go on all fours and lift knees off the ground for 20 seconds at a time. Repeat three times.

Side bridge — Lay on one side with knees bent. Lift hips off of the ground, supporting yourself on your forearm. Hold for three seconds. Repeat five times.

Back bridge — Lie on the ground with knees bent and arms at a 45 degree angle. Lift hips and hold for three seconds. Repeat eight times.

Resistance Training Set A (Repeat 3 Times)

Squat cable pull — Go into a semi squat while facing the cable machine. With the cable in one hand, pull back, while reaching the opposite arm forward (almost like the motion of shooting an arrow). Bring arm with cable back to the front, and the opposite arm goes back. Repeat 12 times.

Front bridge plus — Go into the same bridge (all fours, knees up) as the movement prep. Slowly lift one hand off of the ground at a time. Repeat 20 times.

Resistance Training Set B (Repeat 3 Times)

Squat cable push — Go into a semi squat with your back to the cable machine. Holding the cable in one hand, push forward, bringing the opposite hand back. Gently bring the cable arm back and the opposite arm forward. Repeat 12 times.

Back bride plus — Go into a back bridge (like in the movement prep) and slowly lift one leg off of the ground at a time. Repeat 1o times.

Resistance Training Set C (Repeat 3 Times)

Squat cable swing — Go into a semi squat position with your right side facing the cable machine. Holding the cable in both hands, bring your arms to the right side of your body, then pull to the left. Reset and repeat 12 times before doing the opposite side.

Farmer walk with kettlebell — Since lifting my leg on the side bridge irritated my hip flexor and SI joint, we replaced that exercise with this one. Holding a 16kg kettlebell in one hand at your side, walk in a straight line, without falling over to the side that’s holding the weight. Walk for 12 steps, then repeat with kettlebell in other hand.