In Part I of our two-part series on how to recover from an injury, Jeff Cavaliere, founder of the AthLEAN-X training system and trainer for New York Mets third baseman David Wright, offered advice on how to get back in the action. Below are two more tips to follow when you’re working your way back from the DL.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
Weightlifters have been saying this for years, and it’s true. “Often times, the athlete is going to start his rehab lifting no weights at all, focusing on regaining a full, pain-free range of motion,” says Cavaliere. So don’t expect to hit the ground running in rehab. The progression continues with weights that are approximately half as heavy as you have used in the past. “Not only are athletes regaining strength, but their joints need to manage the loads without compromising other places in the body,” says Cavaliere.
You can’t do both by going heavy right away.
Turn Off the Machines
High-tech rehab techniques abound, things like lasers and electrical stimulation; but Cavaliere says they can be the quickest route back in the training room. “To properly prepare your body for a return to action, you have to focus on strengthening the weak spots that may have made you vulnerable to the injury in the first place,” he says. The idea is to strengthen areas around the injured joint to protect it in the future—e.g., like having a strong core facilitates rotational movement.
“No athlete likes to be shut down for any length of time,” says Cavaliere, “but the faster they can understand the implications of not listening to their body, the faster they can be back on the field, playing the game instead of watching it.”
Just be smart about it.