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What To Do When Your Physio Tells You To Rest

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What To Do When Your Physio Tells You To Rest

Visiting the physio when you have an injury or consistent niggle is an important part of the healing and recovery process. However, the advice given from physios is often way too conservative and regressed back from what the athlete is currently doing. This causes a much larger gap in their strength and fitness when they are looking to return to play post recovery time.

The advice should then be changed to substitute not eliminate, when looking at exercise post injury. There are always alternatives to movements, and something is always better than nothing.

Unless your physio is in constant communication with your strength and sport coaches, they are likely unaware of what movements and exercises you are already doing. Therefore, they are always going to take the more conservative approach to ensure that you aren't going to be doing any further damage.

If you take a swimmer for example, their weekly schedule would look something like this...swimming before or after school 7-10 sessions a week plus 2-3 gym sessions per week, on top of the exercise they'd be doing at lunch or during PE. That's approximately 15 hours a week of intense structured exercise. So taking the approach of doing nothing until the injury heals is going to result in a massive drop in fitness and strength.

Injuries also give you a chance to focus on any weak points you may have been neglecting due to your normal training schedule. If you have an injury to your upper body, then you can focus more on developing your lower body strength. Using a belt squat or safety squat bar to eliminate the need of holding onto the bar and still being able to load the lower body heavily.

If you injury your back, you can still use a belt squat or isometrics to train the lower body with some intensity. An injury to your knee means you can focus more on hinging movements, eliminating too much knee flexion. Additionally, training the uninjured side will still have some residual strength and hypertrophy carry over to injured side despite not being used.

If you've just had a serious injury and your physio has told you to take weeks off, ask them to communicate with your sport and strength coaches so they can have a conversation about how to better prepare you for returning to sport. You can request for your case notes to be sent to your coaches.

For more information on strength and conditioning for youth athletes and increasing your sports performance, check out our website and podcast available on Spotify and YouTube!

Matt Hucul
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Inner Athlete - Bayside's premium strength and conditioning coaching for youth athletes

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