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Working it While Injured

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

Hey LegitFitters!

I hope everyone’s quarantine workouts are going well! Or just going in any way, shape or form! For me, quarantine actually hasn't been the primary obstacle in my fitness journey.

I tore my Achilles tendon in March during a basketball game, an injury that required surgical repair. This event has forced me to adjust the way that I exercise at each step in my recovery. For this blog, I will share the ways that I have managed to stay active despite my injury.

First and foremost, it is always important to consult a healthcare professional before engaging in exercise when you are dealing with an injury or ailment. Fitness isn’t completely off limits, we just have to be sure we are not causing more harm to ourselves!

Knowing how active my lifestyle is, I made sure to ask my doctor if I was still safe to exercise, giving examples of some of the movements I would do in my typical workout. The answer was yes, as long as I was not putting any undue stress through the injured limb. So with my below-the-knee orthopedic walking boot on, I set out to do my first exercise post-injury and pre-surgery.

At this stage, I had the most options at my disposal because I was still able to bear weight in the boot without causing any more damage to my already torn tendon. This allowed me to continue light standing movements through both legs such as squatting and dead-lifting. I utilized variations in positioning, (narrow versus wide stance) and tempo to adjust intensity. For anyone who may be unsure about how variations like these are done or what they do for your workout, I highly recommend checking out Lish’s article titled “Is your technique effective?” or hitting up one of the LegitFit trainers for their professional guidance! I also found that cardio in this state was still possible to an extent. Two movements that I used were single leg burpees and running starts. Running starts are a movement in which one foot is planted on the ground while driving the opposite knee up as fast as you can. Imagine yourself imitating the start of a sprint over and over with a quick knee drive while pumping your arms!

After my surgery, I was in a splint and unable to bear weight through my injured leg. Floor work became the majority of my recovery workout routine. Core work, stretching, and strengthening with my splint through the injured leg were all that I could do immediately after my procedure. Oftentimes, I found myself neglecting these parts of my workout routine when I was healthy. This injury has definitely made me focus more on mobility and flexibility, which I will continue to work through when I’ve healed!

When the appropriate amount of recovery time had passed, I started looking into alternative forms of cardio. A forum with fellow Achilles snappers recommended looking up ‘cardio for paraplegics’. The majority of the content out there involves chair cardio, which is a great workout for anyone who is dealing with lower body pain or injury. These workouts really helped me because I had been putting a lot of strain on my good leg not only when working out, but also in my day to day life post-procedure. While chair cardio does tend to be lower intensity, there are a few movements which I found to be higher intensity. By repeating those movements in intervals, I’ve been able to make these workouts as challenging as I like them! In addition to this, be sure to check out all the classes LegitFit has to offer. If you are medically cleared to do so, these classes are inclusive of all fitness levels. Both Lish and Kristen are exceptional instructors with modifications and adjustments in their tool belts to ensure safe and effective workouts for all participants!

Last, but not least, everyday is upper body day until further notice! Whether it's while I’m crutching around, or in focused exercise!

An injury does not have to derail your goals. If your calf is a little sore today, try some chair cardio! If you’re dealing with a new ailment and cannot exercise your lower body, explore some push-up progressions! Let’s do what we can to keep moving what we can!

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