It happens. You strain your shoulder, sprain your wrist, or even break an arm. Most people think that working out with an injury like that will be a waste of time. But that’s plain wrong. In fact, by exercising your strong arm, you can actually maintain – or possibly even improve – the strength in your injured arm.

European researchers put 10 women on a two-month strength-training program for one arm only. At the end of the two months, though the women had done no additional activity with the other arm, they had increased strength in both arms.

Scientists call this the “cross-over” effect. When your brain sends instructions to one arm, the “untrained” arm receives the same instructions. The end result is that you build strength in the untrained arm because of the connection between your brain and your muscles.

So if you injure your arm or shoulder, there’s no reason to stop exercising the good arm (provided your doctor clears you for exercise). Just make sure you avoid exercises that would further damage the injured side. You can, for example, continue to press and curl dumbbells with your good arm to keep both arms strong.

[Ed. Note: “Don’t exercise while injured” is one myth you shouldn’t put stock in. Fitness expert Craig Ballantyne debunks 5 more health myths and shows you how to combat them with his Turbulence Training for Fat Loss system. Read more here.

And for a free online source of information, motivation, and social support to help you improve your health, lose weight, and get fit, sign up for ETR’s free natural health e-letter.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at

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