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6 Ways to Maintain Muscle Mass While Injured

Injuries can occur as a result of too much exercise which your muscle mass and joints are not prepared for. This often happens with novice athletes who try to lift too much or run too fast and too far, yet it can also happen to more experienced fitness buffs if they make minor but potentially dangerous mistakes at the gym. 

These injuries can disrupt your progress and be difficult to come back from. You expect to lose strength and conditioning, putting you back several steps. But, what if you knew how to maintain muscle mass even while injured? 

Get Plenty of Rest 

You are bound to feel miserable when suffering from an injury, and you may even be tempted to tempt fate and try something light. This is the last thing you should do, as it could cause more severe issues that will put you on the shelf for longer. 

Resting long and often will give your muscles the time to repair themselves. You can reduce the strain and impact you usually put on different body parts to help you get back to your best and return to the gym ready to handle anything. 

Low Impact Exercise 

Although some exercise, even lightweight lifting, can exacerbate your injuries, there are some workouts you can try that allow you to stay in shape without putting too much pressure on your injury. Two of the most popular and common solutions are swimming and cycling, which offer low-impact solutions to keep you fit. 

Unlike running or lifting, these activities enable you to maintain some conditioning and can help you rebuild your strength ready to get back to your usual routine. You should still allow time for injuries to heal, but these options are excellent for the early rehab stage. 

Home Workouts 

As rest is high on the agenda, you shouldn’t take time out of your day to go to the gym, but you can still exercise at home with an effective home workout routine to maintain muscle mass. 

It is unlikely that you have a complete gym set at home, but a few smaller weights or resistance bands are suitable for small but effective workouts. You shouldn’t push yourself too much, but 20 minutes a day can help you maintain some strength to reduce the amount of time it will take you to get back to your usual conditioning. 

Specialized Equipment 

Most people interested in fitness will have the typical home workout equipment, including free weights or resistance bands. But these are not the only essential equipment you can use when recovering from an injury and hoping to maintain muscle mass. 

The likes of BFR cuffs, which reduce blood flow to help injury recovery, are a great place to start. Massage guns can also ease the pain and encourage an acceleration in your injury recovery to help you feel better sooner and prepare you for more intense workouts when the time is right. 

Saunas and Steam Rooms 

Heat is an excellent solution for injury recovery and can help reduce the risk of atrophy that many athletes (whether serious or casual) experience when they are on the sidelines. Exposure to heat in saunas and steam rooms can release heat shock proteins which cut downs muscle loss. 

You only need to take around half an hour a day in the sauna or steam room to enjoy a 20% reduction in muscle atrophy. However, some people are not comfortable in steam rooms, especially those sensitive to heat, so get out if you feel lightheaded or uncomfortable. 


There are numerous vitamins you can take to accelerate recovery and maintain your muscle mass. These vitamins, including vitamin D and vitamin E, provide your body with the crucial nutrients you need to maintain a healthy condition. 

They are not a magical cure-all solution, but they are convenient, posing a strong benefit when you compare them to other options that require leaving the house, especially if you are severely injured. Try to take them in tandem with lighter workouts or exercises, as this will reduce the chances of severe atrophy and make it easier to regain your conditioning and performance metrics once you feel ready to return to the gym. 


Injuries suck no matter who you are. But, rather than accept that you need to start all over again, these muscle-mass-maintaining tips can help you get back to your routine quickly and even reduce the risk of an injury occurring again, keeping you on track to meet, and even exceed, your fitness goals.