This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fit4Less. All opinions are 100% mine.
Getting Back To The Gym After An Injury
After a few years of training and exercising consistently, I’ve been faced with a challenge that is forcing me to take a break from the gym this month.
While on vacation, I fractured my toe. And even though it’s just a toe, it was a serious hindrance. I’ve been wearing a walking boot for the past 3 weeks now and using crutches to help me walk as I can’t put any weight on my foot.
After three weeks of barely any major activity, I feel ready to start introducing some exercises in. Of course, I’m being cautious because my injury hasn’t completely healed. I’ll be focusing on exercises that don’t place load on my injured foot, ankles, or knee joints.
Of course, this will mean that I’ll have to take it slow with weight lifting for a few more weeks (sad face). But, I’d rather take it slow now and let my toe heal properly than getting injured again.
If you’ve recently experienced an acute injury that affected your muscles or bones, and you’re planning to get back to the gym soon, I’m hoping this post will provide you with some tips and guidance to safely do that.
Before you decide to resume exercise, make sure you’ve consulted your doctor or physiotherapist first. Acute injuries need to heal properly. There can be some serious complications or post-injury imbalances that can develop if not properly rehabilitated.
How A Recent Injury Can Affect Your Training
Shortly after injuring myself, I immediately starting compensating and that affected my posture:
- My knees started to internally rotate
- my lower leg muscles tightened up due to the changes in my walking posture.
These are just a couple of examples of changes in posture and movements I observed. These can become permanent if I’m not cautious as I transition back into the gym. For example, differences in muscle tone and tightness can lead to a muscular imbalance and more injuries down the road.
So if you’ve recently sustained a foot injury, which is the base of support, it’s important to restore proper joint and muscle alignment first before loading the joints and muscles again.
And, I highly recommend you do your exercises facing a mirror. It is also a good idea to film your exercises so you can notice how your posture may have changed.
Starting with bodyweight exercises and doing your rehab warm-ups are extremely important. Find an empty spot at your gym and take your time with your warm-ups. Make sure you’re safely transitioning into any kind of weight-bearing exercise.
At Fit4Less , you can find a lot of empty space to do this. When I visited the gym, I found a lot of areas designated specifically for bodyweight exercises.
I’ve been resting for 3 weeks now. While I’ve been moving, I haven’t done any exercises or workouts. I’m going to have to modify a lot of exercises to make sure I’m not triggering pain or causing a new injury.
At this point, I’m not interested in building muscle or toning up. My main goal is to restore proper muscle strength and function.
Here is the list of gym exercises I’m going to be modifying:
Lunges: I love the lunge exercise but unfortunately I will have to avoid placing weight on my toes for a little while. I’ll be modifying the normal lunge exercise with other leg exercises such as the sumo squat. The sumo squat exercise can be done by using a dumbbell or kettlebell.
Squats: I’m going to substitute regular squats with sumo squats where I can easily drop the weights if I feel discomfort.
Deadlift: I’m going to modify the deadlift with the cable deadlift or pull through. The reason I’ll be doing this is because I need to build balance and coordination before I can transition into free weights. The cable version is a safer alternative and will help me focus on training my body for the movement pattern.
Calf raises: Obviously, I’m not going to be doing this exercise for a little while.
Standing pressing exercises: Because I need to work on my balance and coordination, I’m going to be substituting all standing exercises such as shoulder press with sitting exercises. It’s not wise to load the spine, hips or knees if there is a lack of balance. Remember that the base of support is the feet.
Arms Exercises: Using a bench will also help me perform arm exercises sitting such as the biceps curls and bench presses.
Back exercises: I plan on also using resistance bands to add resistance as I transition through my recovery plan. Resistance bands can help you perform multiple back and arm exercises and challenge your body without adding weight and loading healing bones, joints or muscles.
Bodyweight Exercises: There are many exercises I’ve been brainstorming I can do with full bodyweight as well:
- Push-ups on my knees (there are so many push-up variations I can do)
- Core and abs exercises (any leg lift exercise variation will be perfect!)
- Planks on my knees
- Side planks on the knee
- Glute lifts (lying on the stomach, flexing the knees and lifting the glutes up)
All I’ll need for these exercises is a thick mat.
When it comes to cardio, cardio machines can be very useful when you’re getting back to the gym after an injury. Machines like the elliptical or stationary bike can help you stay active and keep your joints mobile without loading the joints.
Fit4Less has a ton of cardio machines and I’m personally going to be focusing on the stationary bike first then slowly transition into the elliptical and then the treadmill. I want to avoid any activity where I’m putting load on my toes so this is a safe transition for me.
I hope this post was helpful. I’ll make sure to update the blog with my recovery progress and how I’m transitioning through my new exercise routine. You can checkout Fit4Less locations in Canada and Join Now here.