Friday, December 19, 2008

Training while Injured

Occasionally I am forced to leave my prosthesis at home.  Blisters, bad fit, broken parts - they are rare but they happen, and when they do I find myself on crutches.  

This post is to share with you how I "keep on keepin' on" with my training and active living when this happens.  This isn't just for amputees - you able-bodied folk may find it useful if you ever twist an ankle, break a foot, step on a nail, get stung by a scorpion etc....

It would be easy to set up shop on the couch and watch Maury, Geraldo, Dr. Phil and Oprah all day but I don't recommend it.  Not only will you become slovenly and fat(ter) but you will also suffer from the craziness that accompanies lazy behaviour.  I have no technical term for this craziness but I can tell you it is debilitating and damaging to relationships (i.e. your wife/husband will be unimpressed before Oprah gets to her second commercial break.)

Instead I like to continue training and live life as normally as possible.  Think of it as another challenge to be overcome...  

Here are the things I like to do:


Crutches.  I like the full-size ones - to me they say "athlete" rather than "disabled" like the fore-arm crutches.  I have also customized mine with stickers - you may find this unnecessary but then again you probably don't require crutches as often as I do.


Swimming - The pool is awesome when you are injured.  Swimming is a great full-body workout and very effective cardio training.

One-legged rowing - This is tough.  Tough = good.  Don't start too hard as you will bonk in about 40 seconds the first few times.

Water-Running - This is more for you two-legged folk (as it doesn't work worth a damn for me)....  get in the pool with a flotation belt and run back and forth in the slowest swimming lane.  It trains the muscles and the brain for the right running mechanics without the impact to the joints and bones.

These are good because there is no impact on my right hip - too much hopping around and I will need a hip replacement to go along with my leg replacement.


Grab a mat or a swiss ball (or both) and put yourself through a few thousand reps of core exercises.  Seriously.  Rob and I once did 2000 core reps in an hour with time to spare.  Lay out the exercises on a whiteboard or piece of paper and work through a cycle.  Add a medicine ball for even more fun.

- Sit-ups
- Bicycle abs
- Leg raises
- Hip dips
- Pikes
- Bridges
- and dozens more.... (Google: core exercises)


There are very few gym exercises using machines, free weights or bands that cannot be modified to be peformed in a sitting position.  My favourite are actually body weight exercises.  Just get in there and do them.

The pictures are from my one-legged workout at Innovative Fitness yesterday with Josip.  If you are lucky/smart enough to have a dedicated trainer they can help devise creative ways to keep you working even when you are injured.  That way once you are back up and running you don't have to play catch-up on your fitness.

Disclaimer:  Of course there are certain times when rest is the only answer and it is important to know the difference between an isolated injury to a body part and an over-all exhaustion, overuse, overtraining scenario.

I hope this may be of use to you and I wish you a lifetime devoid of Maury, Dr. Phil et al.....

Some more pics:

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Karen Hoffman said...

How about sit ups while watching Oprah???
You're very motivational...hope you heal quick...
Happy Holidays

TriStyleGirl said...

What a great post! My brother has a broken ankle right now and he's been pretty discouraged about not being able to work out...this post got him off the couch:)

MJ said...

That's awesome! He'll get serious respect at the gym on his crutches.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I feel so lazy now... *hurries to do some situps*

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Great post! You sure have your workouts well thought out.