Things to Remember After an Injury Layoff

I competed back in May at the Team USA Grappling Trials and had a great time. However, I also ended up cracking my tibia in the competition and had to go from training 100% to doing almost nothing. My training regime before the competition was more intense than anything I had ever subjected myself to previously. Suddenly not training felt like slamming on the brakes of a car while driving 100 mph.

Now that I’ve had a few weeks back, here are some things I’ve learned or at least forced myself to keep in mind.

  1. You’re not Going to be Where You Were Before You got Hurt

And no one should expect you to be. This will be especially true if you really were sinking time and effort into your training before you were hurt. An injury will zap you of your physical strengths rather quickly, but most noticeably around the injured area.

I hurt my leg, so my clearly I wasn’t able to do all of the heavy lifting I had been doing before and I couldn’t do many of the movements I had been implementing into my conditioning regime. I simultaneously lost strength and stamina. Of course those attributes will take time to get back which brings me to my next point –

  1. Don’t be Frustrated with Yourself

It’s easy to see where you were before an injury and see and become frustrated or depressed with your physical state when first coming back to training. Don’t be.

Easier said than done but it’s important to be realistic with your self-expectations. If you expect too much too soon, you’ll find you are lacking motivation because you can’t live up to your own ideals. Don’t do this. Don’t measure your abilities by where you were before an injury. Reassess where you are and set new goals.

Move forward from where you stand, not from where you once were.

  1. Your Timing will Come Back

One thing I noticed right away on my first night back on the mats was that I no longer had any timing with my techniques. I might have been doing the right things; I was just doing them at the wrong times. It takes work. It takes time.

Consider yourself lucky though, this is usually one of the first things that you start getting back. You’ll suck for a week or two but soon enough you’ll find that you’re timing things correctly again.

  1. Don’t Quit

It’s easy to want to quit again. All of the frustrations mentioned above can lead to you feeling like there’s no reason to keep doing this. You’ll feel like a broken toy that no longer is capable of what made it fun in the first place.


Get over it.

Keep coming back and eventually you’ll find that you’re doing just fine and it’s still plenty of fun. Don’t let the injury ruin training. Don’t let a lack of confidence keep you away. There is no magic solution to getting back into shape. It’s just work, effort, and consistency.

Keep a white-belt mindset and be humble. Grind through it. It might suck for a little while but it’s worth it in the end.


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