Training People with Injuries in Singapore

It isn’t easy to train clients having chronic injuries. Especially for those clients who are injured, and their injury is undiagnosed and sometimes untreated. Sometimes this might be outside the scope of practice for personal trainers when they need to treat or diagnose any kind of sport related injuries.

Of course, you have various personal trainers in Singapore but not many of them have the certifications or education of a physical therapists. Basically, in other words, they simply provide an idea of what might be causing the problem or discomfort related to the description provided by the client, like shin splints, tendonitis, etc.

However, you do need to keep in mind that fitness professionals aren’t qualified to say that you need to do ‘X’ to recover from ‘Y’. Here the only exception to this given rule is personal trainers possessing the necessary and required certifications and skills like sports trainer are commonly found in Singapore.

Normally, it is considered as a best practice for any personal trainers to ensure that their clients suffering from any kind of suspected chronic injury to report to physicians who can refer to any rehab trainer or professional orthopedic consultant and therapist. Experienced therapist will avoid treating and diagnosing the injury by themselves and will try to remain in the identified scope of practice.

Frankly, if you are really going through an injury, it is best to get a medical clearance before starting any exercise so that it won’t aggravate any existing conditions. Always consult a medical professional and take their extensive advice at each step for trying out the best exercises while you are injured for example like mind-body and flexibility exercise.

Now when you are dealing with clients having previous injury or suffering from continuous complications from recurring or unhealed injury, you must always keep in mind the scope of practice. Some of the common injuries you might come across among sports or professionals’ athletes are –

  • Fractures
  • Bursitis
  • Sciatica
  • Torn ligaments or muscles
  • Shin splints
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tendinopathy

Things to Do for Training While Suffering from An Injury

Now if you are going through a sports injury, then you really need to take some time off for recovering, resting and recuperating. However, it doesn’t mean you must stop doing any kind of exercising. There are different ways of being fit while you are recovering from any kind of sports injury.

Maintaining Fitness

A common scenario among many athletes is that they often end up worrying about losing their fitness while recuperating from an injury. Being away from training often makes them feel disappointed and they forget that not training is a simple fact of life, especially when you stop exercising. However, if you really want to be fit or maintain your current state, then there are multiple ways to enhance your exercising regime.

Irrespective of whatever reason you got injured, it is necessary or at least a wise idea to get the approval and recommendation from your therapist and doctors who are treating you. Just follow their recommendation on when you can begin exercising especially on how much and what type of exercise is best.

Keep in mind that even if one joint or body part is immobilized, it doesn’t mean you can’t try other exercises to become fit while rehabilitating. You can find other easy methods of being fit while using the cross-training exercises. All you need is some kind of creativity and a flexibility for trying some new stuffs, however, many athletes feel that training while injured is quite impossible but isn’t that much difficult. Here, the key lies in having and getting the right attitude and securing the injured part until it is getting healed.

Working Out While Injured

There are various ways you can continue working out especially when you are recovering from certain injuries like –

Ankle & Foot Injury

Suffering from an ankle or foot injury? Don’t worry! You got various exercising options at your disposal. With the approval of your physician, you can use a stationary bike with a single leg, rowing machine, and even swimming. Just keep in mind, that you need to consult and work with your trainer or doctor for finding other kinds of non-weight bearing cardio work outs which you can do and even spend about 35 to 65 minutes about three times a week for maintaining your endurance.

Do you know that circuit training is also one of the best choices for working out while you are injured? The below is a sample exercise you can do at your local gym –

  • Do circuit workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • You must do each exercise for about 40 seconds and then take 20 seconds of rest between each exercise.
  • Finish the whole routine about three to four times.
  • You can warm up easily before exercising
  • Use the leg extension machine
  • Do Chest Press
  • Then do Lat Pull down
  • After that you need to do overhead press
  • Followed by seated cable rows
  • Next you need to do stability ball push-up
  • Good round of Ab ‘Bicycle’ crunches
  • Lastly hanging leg raise

Leg & Knee Injuries

About the leg and knee injuries, it can be limiting especially for athletes. All endurance exercises need extension as well as flexion of the knee. So, it means that creating and starting a new routine can be frustrating. Of course, there are other options like kayaking, one –legged cycling, and usage of the upper body ergometer (i.e. handcycle). Swimming is very much possible if you can pull the buoy, but you must try to kick or use the legs.

There are two kinds of circuit training routine which you can follow-

The first circuit training you can perform are –

  • Perform certain workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • Each of the exercise must be performed for 35 to 65 seconds, and you need to take 20 seconds rest among the exercises.
  • Finish the whole circuit three to four times
  • Do warm-up thoroughly just before exercising
  • Perform pull-up or the assisted pull-up
  • You can even do lat pull down
  • Then do the chest press
  • Once that is over, then you can do overhead press

The second circuit exercise training you can do is –

  • Do this work out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • You can do each of the exercise for about 35 to 60 seconds and then take about 15 seconds of rest among each exercise
  • Make sure to complete the whole circuit three to four times
  • It is good if you do a warm up thoroughly before exercising
  • Do seated Russian twist
  • You should then end the exercise by doing the ab crunch and avoid doing the push-ups.

Shoulder & Elbow Injuries

Compared to other injuries, shoulder and elbow injuries (upper body) will provide the best possibility of continuing the normal and traditional cardio exercise. This is because the lower body is exercised fully. Stair climbing, walking, stationary (hand-free) cycling and the elliptical training is quite possible.

Also, you can do circuit training routine which can easily maintain the required strength and the necessary power on the not so injured joints and muscles. You should do the below given circuit training five to six times each week –

  • You need to do each of the exercise for about 40 to 65 seconds, unless otherwise noted. Plus, you need to allow about 20 seconds of rest among each exercises.
  • Make sure to complete the whole circuit at least three to four times.
  • You need to thoroughly warm up before each exercise.
  • Try to do stationary cycling for about two minutes at moderate pace and then continue for two minutes at high intensity.
  • Follow this by leg press and elliptical training for two more minutes which needs to be done at moderate pace and even for two minutes at a huge intensity.
  • Start doing Ab crunch.
  • Then do a little bit of walking lunge and low back extension.
  • At the end you need to do treadmill walking for about two minutes at about a moderate pace and even two minutes at high intensity and end the exercise with a wall sit.

Lower Back Injuries

No doubt, it can be difficult to recover from back injuries, so consult with your doctor about the specific type of back injury you have and your exercise limitations before you start doing any alternate activities. Walking, swimming or recumbent cycling are generally safe for those with low back pain and this will help you maintain cardiovascular fitness as you recover.

It is necessary that your doctor or physical therapist’s must be consulted before trying the following exercises –

  • Perform the workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Perform each exercise for about 30 to 60 seconds. Make sure to allow 15 seconds of rest between stations.
  • Complete the entire circuit three to four times.
  • Warm up thoroughly before you do any exercise.
  • Complete 30 to 60 minutes of non-weight bearing cardio on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
  • Do the chest press.
  • Then followed by the lat pull down.
  • Complete the overhead press in proper manner.
  • Do even the seated cable rows.
  • Perform leg extension machine.
  • End the exercise by doing wall sit.

Recovering from a Serious Injury

Sometimes after an illness or injury, it is often difficult to regain the same kind of fitness you worked so hard to achieve. You may feel like your body has failed you and you are just not yourself when unable to train each day. Everyone’s situation is different, but keep in mind that, you need to start your training slow and be patient. Here are a few rules you should follow with common issues people face when bouncing back after illness or injury:

  • If you have any kind of serious illness try to take rest and recover. Illnesses that require hospital time, long treatments (anti-biotics, chemotherapy, etc) are obviously going to wreak havoc on your body and immune system.
  • Provide yourself enough break and think minimalist. Do the very basics of breathing, walking and stretching. Help the body fight the stress of healing by allowing yourself to heal in a slow and natural manner. Once you get the green light to start training again, the biggest piece of advice to go gently back into training and make your workouts just a little harder than walking and stretching. Maybe add in some calisthenics, light weights, and very moderate cardio options (some cardio options ideas).
  • Try to check if you can work around your injury? Ask yourself if you can still do upper body exercises if you have a lower body injury or still run and lift legs if you have an upper body injury. Sometimes there is a slight possibility for this, and this can help you to not lose much overall conditioning and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Think of using isolation exercises or isolation weight machines when a joint, bone, or muscle is injured to allow yourself to continue exercising but remove any stress or movement from the injured area. Also consider doing non-impact cardio options instead of running or rucking if pain or injury is in the lower back or legs. Swimming, rowing, biking, or elliptical trainers may be a good option for you when suffering from something as tendonitis or even post -surgery.

Wrapping Up

It isn’t easy to overcome a chronic injury. Also, it isn’t fun either. But if you have a strategic approach and the best medical guidance along with proper training technique, you can get the required health goals and achieve the necessary fitness. With the right medical support and knowledge, nothing can stop you from overcoming your injuries and being on track of fitness. We at Ezfit Singapore have trainers who specialize in rehab training who work alongside doctors and physios to make sure you are on track to recovery. Everyone has issues but how you improve your daily quality of life is very important for us. Small steps overtime will make you realise the difference.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.