Well, it’s been a while since I wrote something on here. If you happen to be reading this post and have visited this website in the past, I apologize for my lack of updates. I run a bunch of different websites and my interests always change, so it’s difficult for me to stick to one thing.
But anyhow, let’s get to the meat of this post – How to prevent and manage injuries when doing calisthenics.
I feel like injury is one that area that gets very little attention in the bodyweight community, as everyone seems to be focused on getting the body and skills they want as fast as possible. This is especially problematic considering that calisthenics has so many moves that stress your joints and ligaments in very unusual ways – like handstand push-ups.
I started getting serious injuries about a year after I started working out. In my case, I developed pain in my left wrist. I had this injury for almost a year and it cleared up only recently, but not after I made a lot of changes. Which brings me to the solutions:
First, let’s talk about how to avoid injury:
1) If you notice something is getting seriously painful (and not just difficult, like doing that last rep when you’re exhausted), then stop. If you notice your muscles are still seriously sore 2 days after a workout, then take the day off. Don’t exercise through pain!
2) Progress slowly and naturally. Bodyweight exercises stress the hell out of your body, especially when you get to the more advanced stuff. For example, don’t jump straight from normal-width push ups to diamonds – have a more natural progression by slowly narrowing your grip instead. Progressing too quickly and skipping in-between exercise variations is a quick way to injure yourself because your body can’t adapt to the new stress you’ve put on it.
3) Give your muscles time to rest. If you’re doing the same routine every time, this means always have a day of rest in between your workouts. Whatever the case, listen to your body and get enough rest.
4) Try to avoid pumping out ridiculous volumes of the same exercise – this is just inviting an overuse injury.
5) Stretch a lot, especially your wrists.
If you are already suffering from an injury, solving it will be harder than preventing it. One of the reasons is because everyone is different and it’s often difficult to pinpoint what exactly is injured. In any case, here is what worked for me:
1) Stop working out the injured area, or at least mitigate the injury and pain by modifying the exercise and reducing intensity. I know it sucks, but it’s better than making the injury worse and making it drag on and on (like it did for me).
2) See a doctor, or preferably a physiotherapist. Although in my experience this didn’t really lead anywhere, it depends on how common your injury is. And in any case, it’s always better to get a professional opinion before try something else.
3) Google the living hell out of your injury (in my case, I googled “wrist pain exercises”) to find exercises and stretches that can help. I watched a few dozen videos before I found some exercises that actually started to relieve my pain.
4) Be patient. This process takes time, and it’s worth it to go easy for a few months.