The #1 BEST WAY to continue bodybuilding while injured!

I recently was asked if I could talk about good ways to train around/through injuries in the gym.

It would be impossible to elaborate on every little change in training for each specific injury someone could suffer from.

So my approach to this is going to be about how to change your mentality when it comes to your training so you can continue to move forward and make progress in the gym while being injured!

I have had a lot of tweaks, aches, micro tears, partial tendon tears in my arms, shoulder joint impingements, and probably a host of other injuries I’m forgetting about.

The worst cases were the hemorrhoids that were probably brought on from years of extremely heavy deadlifting and the partial tendon tears that took up to a full year or more to recover from!

I trained lighter and around bigger moves that caused the hemorrhoid flareups for about a year straight.

Finally I had the surgery and let me tell you, it was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever been in in my entire life during the 2 week recovery from it!

Edward Scissorhands might has well have fisted me in the ass!

I might as well have walked into a ghetto, bent over, and let a group of drunk, ex-con gangbangers run a train on me.

It was fucking bad, I lived half of my life in a hot bathtub for the next week straight.

When I got home from the hospital I couldn’t piss. I couldn’t shit.

Finally, in order to take a piss I had to jump in a steaming hot shower and let the water run down me and take my fist and drive it into my bladder in order to get my piss stream started.

Taking a shit was like trying to push something through an iron gate! I’d sit on the toilet and sweat bullets and shit out like 3 pebbles, it was a blast!

3 days after hemorrhoid surgery I was back in the gym. I decided that I would work on swimming laps in a pool.

I could work on my cardio, and swimming was something I hadn’t done in awhile so I figured I would at least try to get good at something different.

I have been dealing with a tricep tendon that is 80% damaged just above the ocronean process of my elbow.

Think of the elbow tip where the tricep tendon comes into. Yea, that’s been fucked up now for about 18 months, I just don’t talk about it much.

I’ve tried to work through it, work around it, stuck TB500 peptide into it, used HGH, and anything else I could think of doing. It still didn’t heal.

After a 2nd MRI it was confirmed that I’d either have to lay off of it, or deal with a possible full detachment in the future.

Surgery is an option now, but docs think I can heal it with due time off and more HGH (yes, one Doc actually suggested HGH, but I was told that “you didn’t hear that from me”).

So pressing with my chest is out for awhile, pressing with my shoulders is out for awhile, however I’m still training chest and shoulders.

Adapt and overcome I say; lots of fly’s for chest and lateral raises for my deltoids.

I still train every muscle group.


You have to think of other goals in the gym as “The new 1 rep max”.

Right now my legs are doing great, they’re stronger, and I have new development.

If I cannot train my upper body exactly the way I want to, then damnit, legs are a priority for now!

I want my legs bigger, leaner, and stronger than ever before. This will also help my upper body hold size during this recovery phase!

My leg training is like my new 1 rep max (not literally a 1 rep max with legs, but my new clear goal is great leg development!)

Legs have recently become my new favorite muscle group to train, and if this injury didn’t happen then I still would have trained legs, but not this hard!

Abs and cardio have become priority also; what kind of shape can I get into while recovering my tendon? We shall find out!

But the point to what I’m saying is I could have done 1 of 2 things…

Either I could drink my ass off and eat garbage food and chalk it up as just taking time and turning into shit, then blaming that on my injury, or I could keep pushing forward and refuse to let it stop me!

Warriors, true warriors… they don’t let injury slow them down.

You simply find new goals and train at the new goals until the injury heals.

Our bodies are made to recover.


Have you ever seen these motivational speakers with missing limbs?

How about videos of kids with no legs who play on the football team?

Not only are they on the team, they’re making plays and tackles too!

These people are not letting their disabilities hold them back from anything in life!

So tell me more about your strained back or hurt arm? Exactly…no excuses!

Now, honestly I’m the type of guy that is an extremist. I’m either 100% or 0% and there is rarely a happy medium!

The true key to working through injuries in the gym is to develop a new 100%.

Instead of thinking, “Yea, well I’m not 100% right now so I’ll go eat junk and be a lazy fuck for the next 6 months”, you need to develop a new strategy and see it out!

Hell, you may end up looking better than you did before you were injured (largely depending on the injury).

Don’t convince yourself it’s over with and think of the HOW rather than the CANNOT.

Injuries may be the perfect time to get better with cardio, better with leg development, or better at stretching.

Do new things, take yoga classes, start reading books more often, and use this injury to your advantage in order to make progress in other areas.

Changing your goals and looking at a different approach at training as the new 1 rep max is EXACTLY the #1 way to get through training.

You see, I tap into the mentality of the bodybuilder, not just the look.

This is what separates JDB from some of the more popular, mainstream sites out there.

And I don’t think I’d want it any other way; that would be boring to me.


Train hard, no need to say anything else here.

Drop a comment on your specific injury and how you’re either training around it or through it, I’m sure other readers would benefit from your help.

Hell, I’m always learning too, let me know what it is/was and how you are getting through it all!


No-BS Bodybuilding ebook


14 thoughts on “The #1 BEST WAY to continue bodybuilding while injured!”

  1. I got a mild back injury a week ago doing squats. It’s getting better and I had surgery 5 years ago. Does scare me. Like you said I’ve still been doing more cardio, lighter weight, and lots of stretching.

  2. I have Crohn’s in 2 months i went from a healthy, lean, strong 199 to 138 lbs w/a picc line in my arm and wasnt allowed to eat for 6 months.
    I had a surgery that removed part of my intestines and colon.
    All thru this 2 YEARS i never gave up and trained what i cud.
    Im better now ans squat and dead over 350…

  3. 2 herniated discs means I go for more volume with lower weights-the days of 350 squats/deads are gone but hey I’m 67. Fact is if the muscle around my spine wasn’t rock hard solid, I’m sure I’d have back pain.

  4. Hey JD,
    last september i had a detached retina so lifting heavy was completely out but i did more cardio and hit my arms real hard. Im 50 now so its as easy to gain size and strength at my age but im hitting it almost every day and although progress is slow there is progress. Im still not at the wieght i want to be at but i had to buy new clothes because the old ones are too big and my overall mass is shrinking and getting replaced with muscle. Thanks for the pep talk. Rock on, brother. Tim

  5. I injured my knee some time ago. Biggest mistake I made is to give up any leg training and just wait for it to heal. I might have been good for the first week or so, but in the long run I just slowed recovery process down. Elliptical machine was if fact my savior. I wasn’t able to run or do anything significant with my legs, but an hour on the elliptical machine was not a problem. Over time I added specific leg training exercises recommended by my coach which consisted of weighted leg raises in various angles in order to build specific muscles around the injured knee. I was surprised that I was able to recover very well and even without a surgery which was recommended to me. Unfortunately, many people are clueless and just give up training instead of adjusting it.

    • you are correct, many ppl think an injury is the end. There are always ways around it though, thanks for reading! -JD

  6. Broke my ankle when I was young while racing with a motocross bike. Two or three days later I was doing pushups on my knees without even a thought of excuses/victim mentallity, I was 13 or so and it seemed normal to train something else even tho you’re injured. My mom came into the room at that time and screamed at me to back off and stop being crazy and give it time to heal, I didn’t understand as my arms were obviously fine. She insisted if I don’t keep still I will have problems with ankles when I get older as it’s all connected. I don’t remember what followed, I did maybe two more days of training and stopped due to her BS. Not sure how to end this. Maybe some of the this things like looking for excuses aren’t in our nature, it’s just that we’re taught of them at an early age by people who love us the most, or whatever haha. Just droping a random story from ten years ago.

    • parents are always concerned, it’s normal. I probably wouldn’t want my son using steroids, but rather than saying “No, those are bad” I’d give him the reality of it all and let him decide. Hypocrite maybe I am, but I’ve made my bed… so I lay in it. You need to do what is right for you, it’s your life right? Injuries can fuck up your mentality, but I think it’s best to keep working, I’ve seen too many ppl recover from bad shit to know it can be done! Thanx for sharing -JD

  7. I recently broke my thumb – was bummed out as I thought my gym days were over for a month or so. I just happened to ask as wise man what he thought……man am I glad I did. He told me – ” just your thumb, use lifting straps”!! haha, Brilliant. 3 days later I am lifting with the straps. I even got the ones with the hook, use them for pull ups!! I tested out fat grips as well. Really liking them. My forearms were so sore the next day, could hardly lift my arms. They made benching a lot easier since I had more to grab on to and hang my thumb out to the side. Thanks for everything JD!! little late to this post but I had to talk about – just my thumb!!

  8. Hey JD, same elbow issue happened to me. Fractured the Olecranon clean off and detached 80% of my tricep tendon. One week after the MRI, I was under the knife. After the surgery, I had 2 choices, withdraw into self pity or be the warrior.

    1 week later I was back in the gym, with the cast on my arm, hitting the legs harder than ever and doing pec flyes and machine delt raises. Wife and Family thought i was crazy, People in the gym looked at me like I was insane. No excuses, a F’n injury is not gonna stop me. Now after 9 weeks I am finally going to receive physical therapy. Ha, won’t they just shit when I bust out 20 push ups!

    Keep doing what you are doing, I get great inspiration from your blog and pod casts!


Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00