Training Around & After Injuries / Surgeries



I began training consistently dating back to June 1989.

My body has amassed a lot of mileage.

I've experience my fair share of injuries and surgeries. I am often asked how to work around injuries or how to build back up post surgery.

Legal Mumbo Jumbo: I am not a Doctor or Physical Therapist nor do I play one on TV. Seek a Medical Expert first & foremost and all I discuss below if based on my OWN experience and may or may not work for you.

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Listening to your body and learning what works best for YOU is one of the most underrated methods of training, be it through an injury or perfect health.

The art of coaching is how you train yourself vs blindly following or being a slave to your favorite strength coach. The best option is to test and blend what your learn from others with what you learn through training.

Drop your comments / questions below.

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9 Responses

  1. Jon Schultheis says:

    Amen to everything you said!!! Currently rehabbing bilateral total knee replacements and I am driving my PT crazy asking her, “Can I do this/these?” I’ve usually already done the movement but I like to get a second opinion. Following the same “pain” guidelines you mentioned and 8 weeks after surgery am walking with a cane just for extra balance.

    All the best on your rehab too brother!

    1. Jon!!!! LOVE hearing from you, brother!!!

      Get yourself a sled and use the sled, it’s a GREAT way to feel like you’re doing “serious” work.

      Keep me posted on your progress, you’re an ANIMAL so I KNOW you will crush it!

  2. Thanks man. I have been recovering from a major tear and total imbalance on my left glute and hamstring. I was squatting and deadlifting in the 600#s and kept plateuaing. Then suffer SI joint pain again and again which set me back. Finally went to my PT and really addressing the issues around my problems… Mainly my left glute and hamstring are not firing and thus less than half efficient than my right leg. So there is lots of work I got to do to get back to balance.

    So my plan is to train the weaknesses, focus on functional lifts, and train the lifts (strongman is my sport) that I can do safely without causing more damage while I recover. It is going to be a long road, but definitely a stronger road in the future.

    1. Jeff, time for you to rebuild from the ground up.

      Less will be more, plenty of unilateral work and soft tissue work to break down the scar tissue and improve mobility!

      This is a GOOD thing, like this:

  3. Francisco says:


    The mental part to overcoming an injury or surgery is the toughest part. You have to wrap your mind around the new limitations and push through. I’ve had 3 lumbar surgeries that have not resulted in complete fusion but according to docs I can play rugby if I wanted too. So I continue to lift weight that is comfortable for me because “‘a man can give up in two ways, if he quits or he dies” thanks brother for that YouTube link. I’m retiring from the Corps this year. I made it!!! Hopefully.

    1. 100% agreed, brotha. When my athletes have an injury, I always tell their parents to bring them to the gym, we work around the injury and it raises their confidence and in turn they recover faster!

  4. hey zach,
    haven’t been around for a while. cut down on internet almost completely as it is a true energy/time consumer if you don’t use it proficiently.

    anyway – had a barbell press session a couple of weeks ago in a badass gym. as i pulled down the weights from the bar with one hand (never ever doing that again!) the weight came down hard on my shoulder and something snapped. as it turned out i hurt part of my rotator cuff. great, …
    the tendon isnt torn completely so i’m trying to let it heal conservatively. since then i stopped my training altogether – kind of fell into a depression.

    last week i said to myself – fakit, i can still do something. work around it. cant press, put i can pull moderately, i can squat, i can go for a run (with my arm wrapped to my body) and i can do tons of bodyweight training.

    two things i’ve learned since then –
    a) always concentrate while handling weights (especially AFTER the session when you are tired!)
    b) you can always do something – as you say: work around it. important: listen to your body.

    hope everything is well with you. cheers. sven from italy.

    1. First time I almost tore my rot cuff was brutal as I was not a strength coach yet, so I didn’t know the way to prehab / rehab

      I would connect with a PT in your area and build a plan together.

      Work around the injury till then to keep your mind fired up and you don’t get depressed from sitting and loafing.

      Keep me posted, Sven!

      LESS internet IS GREAT!

  5. Christopher Johannes says:

    I fell from a first floor building my tendons in my left hand were all shattered but not a bone broke, the surgeon told me I can forget about bodybuilding ever as I undergone two operations and a titanium plate was inserted to keep my rist together. I ignored him just took a year and half break and two years later I am doing everything I did before cycling,swimming,bodybuildind,rugby and bodyweight excercises. All I did was listen to my body to see how I can break the boundries and push the limits as a challenge. Don’t give up be determined and most of all listen to your body

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