T Nation

Keeping Injury Journals?


Who here keeps a journal for their injuries? A lot of people have a training journal, keeping dates of their PBs and log their diets, but who here records what is one of the most important things to your lifting career?

Now there is more than one reason for keeping an injury journal.

The first is that when you get injured you can present it to any therapist or surgeon you are seeing. Think about money saved. First the therapist needs to assess your injury, then needs to spend the time working out how to fix it. This alone can cost the first two sessions, that's what, $100-150? Subsequently you will have a list of all the minor details of the injury, things you have tested in your own time which the therapist may have missed when waving your limb around in all directions. This information will most likely lead to a better assessment and thus a better recovery.

Secondly you LEARN about your OWN BODY. Many experienced lifters will tell you they learned from their injuries. Many out of shape people will tell you an injury has caused them not to train. When you study your own pains, you stop complaining about them and they become an object, not a subject, which leads to more specific understanding about how you work. This will cross over to exercise selection. You will avoid exercises which could aggravate problems you will FORESEE. Avoiding injury is better than actively recovering from it. You will learn how to stretch the RIGHT things, rather than second guessing which stretches to do because you read it in an article which includes information on a similar problem to that you are experiencing.

Thirdly you can use the journal as a record for progression. Most of you will look at me and ask how a list of injuries is an indication of progression. Lift numbers are indicators of progression. Bodyweight and girths are indicators of progression... Injuries are your antiprogression.
When you look at progression you use that information to figure out what to focus on next, and you can do the same with your injuries. Like lifts, you cant rehabilitate all injuries at the same time, else you get lost and either stop lifting or don't fix any of them. With a journal you can focus your rehab on the section of the body which is causing the most problems.

Begin your injury journal today!

If you have no injuries to speak of, I sincerely wish the best of luck to you.


I agree, I have recorded all of my injuries. I have recorded different categories under each injury.


  1. What makes it feel better (Stretches/exercises/foam rolling etc)
  2. What makes it worse (ROM restrictions/exercises at the gym)
  3. How I got the injury and exercises which may help reduce the likelihood of it occurring again


I'll just write down at the top of my page that day if there are any joints that are giving me trouble. I don't record the mechanism of injury, since most of the ones that bother me for more than a week stand out in my mind. In the 6 years I've been lifting, I've had three shoulder injuries that have given me a total of about 3 years of trouble.

I make a note so when I look back I know why my exercise selection and rep scheme was the way it was that day.


Here's my most recent.

I chiped my elbow bone on something and developed a very nasty infection. Two surgeries and a month later and I'm ready to get back in the gym.


Very well thought.I am currently suffering through an injury but unfortunately have no log about it.

Need to start keeping one ASAP.


That's a good idea. I never had a shoulder injury before but I know EXACTLY what caused my shoulder injury and I've done a shit ton of research about it and a lot of the guys on this site have helped me tons I can't thank them enough for puttin the time in, when they really don't have to. I'm happy to say my shoulder is almost 100% I know what to avoid, I know what i have to do (prehab) so it doesn't happen again etc etc. I'd say it was a good learning experience for sure and it woulda happened to me eventually cause the way I started to do things. So like I said I've learned a lot from it, changed a bunch of shit and added as well to my routine and pretty much gonna make these shoulders bulletproof.


Out of curiosity what was your shoulder injury and what were the main things you did to help it? I got a rare nerve condition that affected my left shoulder region and had to slowly work on stabilising the shoulder joint after the nerves healed. It has been a year and a half and I am at about 70% strength. I have had to re-teach all of the muscles around my left shoulder blade, shoulder joint and my left bicep from scratch as they all switched off then slowly regenerated. My favourite shoulder recovery exercise that I got from t nation (i think it was a gentilcore article) is the one arm standing cable row. It was the only exercise that helped me strengthen the shoulder/back and not make it dislocate or feel unstable.


How often are you all getting injured!?!

There is a difference b/w an injury and hurting (as I am sure you are aware), but even when I am injured, it simply becomes a footnote in my log, or a couple missing days. Keeping an injury journal sounds to me like you need to work on pre-hab.


Firstly I'd like to know what happened to your shoulder! lol I ask as well cause sometimes my left shoulder feels "unstable" on certain things..I mean it has been getting better and feeling more stable. I think that's most likely cause it is building strength back where it used to be.

Anyways my shoulder injury came from doing MUCH TOO MUCH pressing movements, and boxing. There was just too much pressing and not enough pulling, this caused protracted shoulders..what made things worse I never stretched my pecs, never did any prehab EVER (i used to and just got out of it for a long-ass time and it caught up with me) I did this chest movement where you bring the bar to your neck. I mean I was benching 390lbs at 202BW..I had strong tri's but wanted to get my chest bigger...so since I didn't have DB's I'd try a method from CT chest specilization article and did the benches to the neck..now I knew from reading this put stress on shoulders but I figured I was strong enough. WELL I think doing that, coupled with everything else caused my impingement. I was using pretty heavy weight for that movement and that's a big no no...too bad I didn't know that before.

FOR the main thing that is wrong with my shoulder...it's still a mystery..my physical therapist couldnt figure it out, my ART therapist said I have a lot of knots and tension in that area which seemed to be infraspinatus. but yeah still a mystery. has been feelin WAY better from the rehab work though...I just got an ultrasound done as well to see if I've teared anything, you never know. I might even have a partial tear and still not know it...cause benching db don't hurt me. Only overhead presses irritate it.

For rehab I am doing Stretches: Pec majory/minor, lats, upper trap stretch, levator scapulae stretch, rocker inferior capsule stretch #1 and #2, posterior capsule stretch.

So I did the stretches everyday.

Other stuff is:
- thorasic extensions
- thorasic foam roll
- back of shoulder/posterior delt/infraspinatus foam roll with golf/tennis ball (this helps me A LOT)

Then I do
Y's and P's from Nick Tummenillo article on the new improved YTWL (spelling?)
BIKE Face pulls
side lying external rotations with a light weight (3-5lbs) really feeling the muscle work for 2-3 x 12-15reps
Overhead shrugs
Pull up retractions
and rear delt raises

AS WELL a shitload more of pulling (BB rows, DB rows, seated cable rows, pull ups etc etc.)

A reminder to keep posture good as possible all day and give myself cues (shoulders back and down)

That's pretty much it and it has been helping quite a bit.

I can't wait to get to the point where I can press overhead without pain...I will know then it is 100%. Before I couldnt at all...Now I used 50's overhead (which is a light weight for me)
and I felt slight pain...could work through it for sure, but that would be retarded lol.

Since I am doign pressing now I do close grip bench presses, floor presses, and db presses

Hope that helped, sorry it was so long lol.


This was my first real injury, I've had some pain before..some knee pain which was caused from a very tight IT band and shit like that. But this was the first time I actually had to STOP lifting cause I was injured (shoulder). It sucks big time, I'll never let shit slide like this ever again.


Thanks for the detailed post! So it was mainly a posture thing for you? Oh the nerve condition with my shoulder was after I had glandular fever in hospital. It is called GBS or guille barre syndrome (I'm not sure of the correct spelling). It basically switches off muscles completely. Some people have it in the heart and need to live in a hospital on machines for two years. I had it around my shoulder joint and trust me you know if you have it. For the first three months I couldn't lift my left shoulder at all and my left shoulder blade was sticking out of my back. I also couldn't lift anything with my left bicep that went completely flat.

Most of my aches/pains were as a result of this. for eg. I got bad elbow pain in my left arm because my tricep was pulling down on it all the time and I didn't have a bicep on that arm. The doctor said that nerves regenerate at 1mm per day so from there it was just a waiting game.

What positions does your shoulder feel unstable in? It is just when you raise it overhead? Do one arm DB snatches hurt your shoulder? These were very good for my shoulder. I have read that they help pack the shoulder joint in and strengthen the stabilising muscles in the shoulder. obviously start light...


As I said above most of the 'hurting' I probably wouldn't call them injuries happened from the nerve condition I had. Other than that I have had a sprained ankle, torn ligament in my wrist and a postural problem in my left QL being overactive. But I did neglect pre-hab earlier in my lifting days as I didn't know about T-Nation or look online for anything. Now I include it all before and after training...which is helping my back problem a shit tonne. If it is a couple of missed days at the gym I don't count that as an injury. Anything over two weeks probably...I will record.


I guess I just think if you have to create a separate journal specifically for injuries, then you need to focus on pre-hab. Like I said, a little footnote to designate your injuries in your current journal seems satisfactory.

I broke my hand, mentioned it the following w/o log, and mentioned as a footnote whenever it effected my lifting (all pressing movements had to be altered).

I am by no means telling you not to do it, but I guess it would just be absolutely nuts if you filled up a whole page with your injuries. If that's the case, you are doing something wrong...


Hmmm I know what you are saying, I wouldn't call it a journal like the OP, more like a 2 page word document with stretches/mob stuff that I enjoy the most :S. Broken hand ouch..


I do this. It's in my workout book, between weigh-ins, training pages etc. Organisation is shit, it doesn't look neat, but does the trick. Main thing I do is keep my routine fairly stable, then say if i tweak something and feel it bad on Wednesday, I go back and think 'What did i do on Tuesday?' then try to avoid it in future


If you are getting injured enough to even need a record of it, there just may be something wrong with how you train.

I have hurt one thing on me with any significance to mention...and most of you have been training far less time than I have. You won't even last in this if you are getting hurt that often.

Are some of you serious about this?

If I was getting hurt that often I would assume I either needed to drastically change my approach or find a new hobby.


Thats a great way of putting it. You keep records of things you deal with often (nutrition, training etc), not of things that are supposed to occur infrequently, if at all, such as injuries.

If someones getting injured that frequently, whether they like it or not, they won't be in this for long.


Most of my injuries are work related except for the nerve condition. I have only really hurt myself during training once, which kept me away from pushing for two weeks (a sprained wrist).... very minor. But what's wrong with keeping some notes if you have an injured body part?

Its good that you haven't injured yourself and I hope you never do but some bodybuilders get injured more than others. If you ever get a serious injury you realise how much it puts a stop to your training and read about it. These notes are just recording what we have read. Some people record them in different ways, on bodybuilding injury forums etc.

I agree, for most people that get injured often in the gym it is probably the way they train but for a minority of people they might not have control over other health issues that may effect them. Anyway, it can't hurt having an injury journal like the op.. all you have to waste is ten minutes every now and again adding to it.


Because injuries should be very RARE occurrences, not something that happens so often that you need a specialized journal just to keep track of all of the times you keep injuring yourself.

I see more of you claiming a ridiculous number of injuries that should have most people taking a step back and reevaluating their approach.

That shit is NOT normal if you are getting injured SEVERAL times or enough to even NEED a journal.

In fact, it should be so rare that you already know right off what you did wrong.

When I hurt my forearm, it was because I was showing off and curling 95lbs dumbbells without warming up. It wasn't from doing things RIGHT like I usually do.

If you are injuring yourself and literally don't know what the fuck happened, you are not ready to be using the training intensity that you are.

I mean, shit, do you guys LOOK the part of serious weight trainers with all of this or is this yet another case of very average guys missing the point?

I was injured ONCE to any degree worth mentioning and I know exactly what was wrong that ONE TIME. Again, you will NOT make it very far if injuries are that common to you.

Unless you guys are playing pro football, or at least on a college level, you have little excuse for several injuries happening that would require a journal for all of them.

Other health issues? If someone has some problem that makes them prone to several injuries then they should definitely take a step back. Why would someone like that fall into the mindset that this is normal or OK?

It isn't.

If you are a relative beginner and now need shoulder surgery, you fucking did it wrong. You will not last.

If you are literally getting laid out from the gym for weeks at a time because of injuries, you are fucking doing it wrong because I seriously doubt most of you claiming this are looking like pro level bodybuilders.

On this issue, there simply is no excuse for that. Injuries should not be taken lightly and they should be extremely rare occurrences unless you are literally doing competitive fighting or are an athlete on a pro level getting paid.


You guys will all have a terrible quality of life by age 50