A black eye and some few bruises, as well as tiny cuts or blisters, are what you would expect when you start training in a Krav Maga gym or school. These are considered minor and insignificant injuries by KM instructors, and it is often looked at as signs of progress.
Bruises and wounds on the knuckles and/or the palms means that sooner or later you will develop callous skin tissues that will enable you to feel less pain when punching or striking using your fist or palm.
Typically you will be asked to continue training despite these injuries; however, it becomes an entirely different matter when you’ve sustained a severe injury like an ankle sprain or ACL tear.
Krav Maga is excellent to defend yourself from harm or weapons even when injured. Training for it is a completely different story though.
An ACL tear can instantly be classified as a “bad knee,” and usually the knee that’s been affected by it will not be 100% good like it was before the injury even if it heals. So it begs the question, is it still possible for you to continue training in Krav Maga under such conditions?
Common Sports Injuries
Injuries in Krav Maga are more common than you think and because they are most likely to occur on nearly all KM students, they are easier to deal with than uncommon ones. Below are some of the most common Krav Maga injuries:
1. ACL Strain
2. Ankle Sprain
3. Hamstring Pull
4. Plantar Fasciitis
5. Quad Strain
6. Hip Bursitis
7. Tennis Elbow/Elbow Pain
8. Lower Back Pain
Krav Maga Training with an Injury
Once you’ve started training in Krav Maga, your instructor will often quote the famous, “no pain, no gain” speech and they’ll emphasize that as part of the learning process. Incidentally, the pain that they talk about would almost always have something to do with injuries too!
You might also feel at a disadvantage if you stopped training and doing workouts even if it’s just for a while to allow time for your injury to heal. If this is the case and you don’t want to stop, take precautions and talk to your physician to avoid the risk of further injuring yourself.
You should definitely get some good training shoes (read our post about Krav Maga shoes) to prevent further harm and even prevent the injury entirely.
Krav Maga Techniques for Injured Participants
Students are advised to let their Krav Maga instructors know once they sustain an injury so that they can be segregated from the group and training and receive medical attention immediately.
The instructor will then make an accurate assessment and let the injured student know which moves and training are still safe to do. Depending on the severity of the injury the instructor may or may not allow the student to continue the practice.
Discuss Your Condition with Your Instructor
If the injury you sustained required you to be confined to the hospital for a few days or a few weeks before recovery, then explain to your KM instructor about it the moment you get back. Your instructor might work with you closely to observe your movements and to prevent you from further injuring yourself.
Alternatively, he may ask a higher ranking student in your class to assist you throughout your training until your injuries heal. The goal is to keep you abreast with the self-defense lessons while minimizing any impacts on the injured part of your body.
Things to Consider Before You Start Training with an Injury
If your injury is not too severe, then there is more than one way to get around it, and you may even keep training to advance in Krav Maga. Below you will find tips on how to continue training and doing workouts even at post-injury state:
A.) Stop All Exercise Immediately
This first tip should be evident as putting more pressure or “testing” an injured area will have catastrophic consequences. Therefore you will need to cease all exercises and to train the moment you realize you’re hurt.
Ask for assistance or call an ambulance immediately to keep the injured part immobilized and seek help from a sports medicine expert. You may only continue with your Krav Maga training if the doctor has given you the “green light” for it.
B.) Write Down Your Symptoms
Keeping a detailed account of the traumatizing event can help your physician to diagnose and treat your ailment later.
C.) See an Appropriate Doctor
As already mentioned above you should see a sports medicine expert instead of a regular physician or orthopedics as their field of study is centered more on the specifics of sports injuries and therefore can treat you better.
In some cases, the Krav Maga instructor himself has had training and experience in this field too and can diagnose you on the spot!
But especially when training by yourself from online courses, you don’t want to strain yourself further not knowing the exact limits of your body.
D.) Focus On What You Can Do
After treating your injury, the doctor will let you know whether or not you can continue training in Krav Maga or you will need to stop training altogether. For instance, an ankle sprain will require you to use crutches to walk, and your doctor will undoubtedly forbid you putting any pressure on the strain.
You will be limited to a very few activities if that is the case; however, you can ask your doctor what kinds of exercises you can do under the circumstances and then focus on that. That way you can allow your body to heal and improve on your Krav Maga training at the same time.
E.) Make a Plan
Continuing your Krav Maga training and workout activities without a plan (including a recovery plan) is a terrible idea. First of all, you will not know which areas to avoid putting pressure on while training, or worse you won’t know which areas of your body to condition.
If anything you would only make the affected parts of your body prone to further injuries instead of healing them. So consult your doctor and together with your instructor, you’ll know exactly what to do and have a training/workout plan from day one until complete recovery.
F.) Regain Your Confidence
A muscle or tendon tear is no joke, and so is a joint dislocation, bone fracture nor completely broken bones. The injury you’ve acquired will cause you to feel fear and lose some self-confidence that can hinder your progress or even just getting back to your pre-injury state.
You’re going to have to make many adjustments to your training and workout routines until you’re confident enough to do throws, chops, knee attack or armbars. You may start testing the injured area of your body after several months as per your doctor’s advice.
G.) Try Physical Therapy
Typically the injured part of your body will be kept immobilized for an extended, and this can cause the muscles or the ligaments and tendons to harden. Hiring the services of a physical therapist (again with consultation from your doctor) should help you achieve full range of motion.
Of course, regaining ROM (range of motion) is just half of the way to recovery, but at least it will give you the benefit of being able to extend your arms and limbs once again, so you could perform the necessary Krav Maga techniques.
H.) Focus On Nutrition
You may need to go on a high protein diet as protein helps heal the body faster. At the same time, you also need to avoid foods that cause inflammation as this can worsen your already sensitive condition.
One, in particular, is wheat. It is a key ingredient in refined sugars, added sugars, hamburger meat, and gravy, so better avoid these foods if you want to heal faster. Inflammation naturally occurs whenever you get a muscle or soft tissues injury, but adding more elements that will increase it is a bad thing, especially if you’re currently injured.
I.) Consider Alternate Tools
There are other ways to burn calories and train your body to remain in peak physical condition than merely just going to the gym or at your Krav Maga school.
For instance, tools such as isometrics, electrical nerve stimulation, and aqua jogging help create muscle contractions, but will not apply any pressure on the injured part as a regular workout would.
You’ll then be able to learn and master new techniques, but since there are no strains on the injured area, you’d still recover according to plan.
J.) Take Healing Supplements
Aside from having a high protein diet, you may also want to take food supplements that can expedite the healing process. Among them include Lactoferrin and colostrums which helps create new cells on the injured area and Curcumin and arnica can reduce pain like a mild sedative and suppress inflammation.
K.) Exercise the Uninjured Body Parts
Chances are you will sustain an injury on one part of your arms or limbs 90% of the time, and if that is the case with you, then you can still exercise the other arm or limb that isn’t injured. New studies reveal that the growth of one arm or leg is mirrored in the other unused arm or leg, although they have yet to find an explanation for this.
It may have to do with some psychological factor or the quantum entanglement in quantum physics or something, but the point is that it’s perfectly fine to exercise only the uninjured part of your arm or limb.
L.) Try the Linear Training Approach
Muscle atrophy and loss of strength are the common issues with post-injury recovery, and in order to regain your pre-injury strength and physical condition, it may be best to make a linear training approach.
Testing the healing or healed injured area consecutively while adding weight at every milestone achieved to the barbells each time you workout will have significant results. The same is true in biking when you add more speed or distance every time you go out to ride.
This kind of training approach will build the consistency and momentum you need to get back to your peak physical condition before your injury.
M.) Consider Target Training
There are some instances where you trade the speed of the healing process for mobility of the area that was injured. So for example, it is a lower back injury, then targeting your intra-abdominal muscles to decrease pressure on the problem area would be an excellent way to go about it.
If the injury is tendonitis in the shoulders and elbows, then do a variation of your workouts instead of the usual repetitions of exercises to allow for it to heal.
N.) Try High-Intensity Intervals
Sometimes the injury is too severe that you won’t even be able to move that particular limb. If that is the case, then you can do high intensity, anaerobic intervals of exercises. This should help keep your heart pumping strong bringing much-needed oxygen into your bloodstream.
Whether it’s just a chronic joint pain a.k.a. “bad knee,” or an ACL tear, or minor bone fracture, or even a completely broken bone and no matter where the injury is located, you can continue training in Krav Maga as long as you have the advice from your sports medicine expert.
You can keep building your strength, speed, and skills all the while you’re also allowing your injury to heal. You’ll have lesser, and you’ll graduate together with your peers by the time your wound has healed.