Tricks for maintaining mass with injury?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by LZD, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    Hi guys.

    I suffered a pretty bad ankle injury a few days ago. I'll spare you the gruesome details, but to say that I can't bear any weight until I have surgery (could be weeks on the waiting list) and that after the surgery I can't bear weight for as long as the screws they put in my ankle are in place (6-12 weeks). My leg is completely immobilized right now.

    I hate to think how badly my leg will atrophy without any squatting or deadlifting, let alone not even walking for so long.

    With this in mind, does anyone have some tricks they'd like to share for preserving mass? Anyone found out ways to workout with injuries to the foot/lower leg?

    One thing I have thought is that when I am mobile enough to go to a gym, I could set up the leg extension and leg curl machines with the pad higher on my shin than normal, and do curls/extensions that way. Not sure how that will go in my moonboot.

    Any other tips or exercises? Stuff with bands? Isometrics?
     
  2. ripskater

    ripskater Guest

    Pool training. If you have access to one. You can do all types of movement in there. Good luck with your surgery and recovery.
     
  3. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    Wow. I can't believe I didn't think of that. Surely there must be some way I can do that soon. I'll ask my specialist about that. Maybe they have aquatic casts I could buy. Thanks!
     
  4. ssdd

    ssdd Purple Belt

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    Probably straight leg raises with ankle weights, lying on each side, prone, and supine, so raises in all directions. Maybe some leg curls and extensions with ankle weights. It's not very much but it's better than nothing. You would probably have to do a ton of sets several times a day for it to have any effect
     
  5. gspieler

    gspieler Silver Belt

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    I would probably just let the atrophy happen, and focus on whatever would enable fastest recovery. That said, isometric training is your best option if you are largely immobile and want to maintain muscle mass.
     
  6. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    That kind of thinking is dated. Like back in the 60s, after a heart attack, they'd prescribe lots of rest - now they prescribe exercise. Similarly, after injury, the prescription is usually exercising the joints through as much ROM as isn't contraindicated.

    Knee extension and leg curl machines are a good start. If you can use a band or hip circle to train some abduction/adduction and internal/external rotation of the hip, that would be good also. Similarly, if you can do any kind of hip extension exercise - say looping a band or cable around the back of the thigh just above the knee, and then doing a donkey kick. Leg raises and other most other ab work will take care of hip flexion.

    Do whatever ab work you can. If you can do some kind of back extension, train it hard. Reverse hypers, and if you can load them, even better. Hatfield back raises too. It's not training the legs, but while you're not squatting or deadlifting, you'll be training the muscles around the waist less too.

    Train the uninjured leg - leg press, single leg box squats, etc. While it won't help maintain muscle mass on the injured leg, it will help retain some neuromuscular coordination on both sides.

    Finally, keep the frequency as high as you can manage.
     
  7. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    Thanks everyone. Particularly Tosa, the suggestions are very detailed.

    As soon as the pain subsides enough that I can get to the gym I am going to get to work doing what I can in a pain free way. I'll also get clearance for anything I do try to do.

    Whilst at home I'll try to do some upper body dumbbell exercises.

    I'll also use my moonboot as an "ankle weight".
     
  8. ironwolf

    ironwolf Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    Thats rough man, hope you recover quickly. how did you do it?
     
  9. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    Some idiot laid the stupidest tackle ever in a casual game of indoor soccer. My foot basically bent backwards the wrong way, snapping all the tendons and fracturing the inside of my ankle. Very lame.
     
  10. ironwolf

    ironwolf Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    I had a biddy do that exact same thing but in a motorcycle crash, it was so bad that apparently his skin was the only thing really holding his foot to his leg. Total reconstruction.

    He made a solid recovery though and went on to get a his black belt in BJJ and continue ultra running.
     
  11. bad seed

    bad seed Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    I've got a shoulder surgery coming up and wont be able to squat/bench/deadlift for at least 6 months. Given this situation, would you guys just go all out on unilateral movements like one-arm db row and bench?
     
  12. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    Cheers ironwolf. Hopefully I end up like your buddy! Is funny. Since I the injury two days ago I've strongly contemplated getting into olympic lifting and now I'm really wanting to get into running. Ha.

    I'm in the same boat man. No squatting or deadlifting for 6 months. Maybe even more (up to a year). At least I can bench in the meantime.

    Good luck with the surgery. I'm sure you'll be back stronger than ever in due time!
     
  13. KotovSyndrome

    KotovSyndrome Blue Belt

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    Working only the uninjured side with unilateral exercises can bring a training stimulus to the injured side. That would be a viable option until the body part in question is rehabiliteted.

    On an episode of JRE with Dr. Rhonda Patrick (I believe the first, there are three with her so far) she made a pretty interesting notion: A study measured a significant boost in HGH from frequent sauna visits. When she was injured, she went everyday until she was cleared to train again and had lost almost no muscle mass.
     
  14. Respeezy

    Respeezy Purple Belt

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    Eat a surplus of calories and look into unilateral training^, i remember seeing a or some studies that seemed to point out the effectiveness of it on the other limb.
     
  15. Ian Coe

    Ian Coe Silver Belt Professional Fighter

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    Ouchie

    I have nothing to really add to the discussion fella, but to say hope the recovery goes quickly
     
  16. Seriously-Dead

    Seriously-Dead wubbalubbadubdub

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    Train the non-injured limb to it's maximum capacity. It's been fairly clearly shown to attenuate muscle loss and strength loss in the injured limb. Lots of the research on that was done at my school (just Google Scholar cross-education and limb immobilization and you should come across a fair number of results -- sorry, on phone right now and can't link easily).
     
  17. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate it. Not to play favorites but especially you seriouslydead. I'll get researching now.

    Any suggestions on training that leg maximally? Single leg leg press is looking like a thing..... I'm turning into a total bro. Lol.
     
  18. gspieler

    gspieler Silver Belt

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    Interesting. Would have assumed unilateral training of non-injured limb would facilitate creating of muscular imbalances. Will look into when have time. Particularly curious the physiological mechanisms that oversee something so counterintuitive.
     
  19. gspieler

    gspieler Silver Belt

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    My post didn't imply he should be inactive. His muscles are gonna trophy either way if he's trained to any appreciable degree. It simply meant I would focus on rehabbing, which itself would likely involve plenty of activity geared towards restoring function, instead of worrying about maintaining muscle mass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  20. LatFlare

    LatFlare EADC

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    I know the feel dude. A couple of years ago i sliced my quads tendon off my kneecap after a fall on some oyster shells.. contaminated wound, 2 operations, the works. Was so bad, in my first physio session I couldn't turn the pedals over on an exercise bike at resistance level 0 and my leg totally atrophied. It got better slowly, I got back to training and within 12 months of the accident I'd run a marathon and got my squat up over 2xBW.

    So, don't worry it will all come back quickly when you can train properly again. In the meantime just listen to your physio (hopefully you have a good one) and rehab as effectively as you can.

    Since its your ankle, you can probably do iso holds for your quads and hammies, maybe even leg exts and stuff. Also, like Tosa said do single leg stuff as it helps the neural pathways on both sides (this has been scientifically proven). Don't go overboard though and give yourself an imbalance. Swimming for cardio so you recover better and can smash it hard when you're healed up.

    Its gonna be painful and its gonna suck when you're doing "stupid" shit like sets of 10 toe raises with no weight but you've just gotta stay focussed on getting better; not get impatient and give yourself a chronic issue.
     

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