Working Out While Injured

As much as I would love to never have anyone get injured, it’s just not realistic to never expect injuries. Human beings, as capable as they are, still display quite a bit of fragility no matter what. Things are going to get pulled, strained, or ache. It’s just the natural result of life/poor decisions: sitting at a desk or sofa for hours on end, not exercising at all for months and a bad diet. We’re all guilty of these things at some point or another in our life and they pile up. Eventually, they pile up enough that you go to pick up some miniscule object at home and throw out your back, a la my stepmother just a few weeks ago. 

The point of this blog though is to communicate just how possible it is, especially in CrossFit, to continue to work out while nursing an injury. The first rock we have to get past though is if your doctor or physical therapist tells you not to do anything, they’re sadly mistaken. I would simply tell you to ask them, “So should a person who is paralyzed from the waist down never work out? Should they just accept their life without movement from now on?” I’m sure you’ve all seen the clips on social media of people in wheelchairs doing incredible physical things. 

The key to working out with any injury really is about staying away from movements that aggravate it and being creative. The goal of this injury time is to enhance the ability you do still have access to. I’ll use myself as an example. Since I’m a smaller guy, I’ve always been more preferential to bodyweight movements. I know, no surprise there. I don’t lift heavy weight because I enjoy it; I force myself to lift heavy weights because that’s where my fitness was lacking the most. However, when I hurt my knee and couldn’t do any lower body movements for 3 months I only had one choice: upper body bodyweight movements. 

I mixed in strict ring dips, strict handstand push-ups, strict pull-ups, L-sit pull-ups, strict toes to bar, anything that didn’t involve putting weight on my leg or swinging my lower body, I did it. If the workout called for running, I would row with my one leg. If the workout called for a lower body lift, I would strict press from a seated position or bench press. 

Now, did this enhance the main chink in my armor? No. I still have to work on heavy lifts regularly, especially with my lower body. But, did this improve my gymnastic ability? Without question. I had 10 kipping bar muscle-ups before my injury, I ended up having 17 after I was completely cleared. I had 20 kipping toes to bar before my injury. I can do 30 unbroken now.

The logic behind the thought of, “Well, this one limb is hurt so now I might as well let my whole body go to waste,” makes no sense to me. The only real obstacle between you and continuing your exercise program with an injury is creativity.

To learn more about working out through or post-injury, how to take care of the body, and how to live better and move better, make some time to stop in and talk with us

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