Wanting to workout...but have a long-term injury

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 26, 2012 9:09 AM GMT
    Hey guys,

    I want to apologize for typing such a long post. If you would rather not read on, that's fine. But if you do so, thank you!!

    I'm rather new to the site, and especially new to working out (never really started actually). So, if you could spare a few moments, I was hoping maybe some of you could toss me some advice.

    Basically, at the beginning of the year, I got myself into an "accident" which after spending the last 6 months in hospital care/physical therapy, has left me at my mother's apt with a paralyzed right leg (just from the knee down); I have no gym membership, and no car.

    After a couple months of physical therapy, they decided to discharge me as I am now getting around with the use of a cane, while wearing an AFO brace. My quads are functional which allow me to move forward with my steps. But my hamstrings are extremely weak. I cannot bend my right leg at the knee while lying on my stomach...but I can while lying on my side.

    I'd like to do what most guys would like, and that is to trim fat and build some muscle. But I'm lost when it comes to doing either....

    In terms of trimming fat, I figured cardio is the way to go. But I walk a little bit slower than a "normal pace." There's no way for me to run...Throughout the recovery I was forced to eat a healthy diet (not that I wasn't doing so before) and so the dieting doesn't seem to be much of a problem.

    And when it comes to weights...all that is available to me is an 8lb dumbbell along with two 5lb dumbbells with straps...so I can technically hold all 18lbs in one hand.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or tips on how I could effectively start working out? Would pictures help at all? I really would like to start becoming as fit as I can with this injury...especially since I am heading back to school in the fall. I've got all the time in the world right now, so might as well use it while I have it, right?

    Thank you so much in advance for any help you guys might have icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 26, 2012 1:02 PM GMT
    Google 'home workout', that should get you started with minimal kit.

    P90X might be a good option too, you can download that from torrent sites these days.

    Another option is to buy a TRX style system. Can be used in your home (on the back of a door/or ceiling mount) or outdoors on a tree.


    hth, Mark
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    Jul 26, 2012 2:17 PM GMT
    Body weight exercises are probably a great place to start.

    Some things you can do;-

    Push ups.
    Push Ups between two dining room chairs (one arm on each)
    Push ups with both hands on a basketball or soccer ball
    Dips between two dining room chairs
    Tricep Dips from one chair
    Calf raises (one side)
    You may be able to do squats on your left leg

    Plank or Bridge from knees
    Side plank or bridge from knees

    If you can get some therapy band from your therapist and do stretches across your chest, or from your foot to your hand (bicep curls?)

    Some things may require you to keep your leg braced for stability - I'm not sure how you can manage that, but it's worth a try.

    Let me know if I can help with set-up and form for you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 26, 2012 5:41 PM GMT
    sc69 has some good ideas. You might also want to consider adding (since you have some dumbbells):

    Dumbbell Curls
    Tricep Overheard Extensions

    If you have a place to do some pullups, that would be ideal. I have seen some bars that you can put in your doorframe, but I have no idea how strong they are.

    If you can't do bodyweight pullups, you could find a place that has a bar that is low enough to the ground for you to stand on your feet / rest on your knees (I'm sure that at 6'3" any playground with a jungle gym will have this). Pull yourself up, but give yourself a little help from the ground...after a while, give yourself less and less help. Eventually, you will be able to do them on your own.

    You'll probably also want to try some Inverted Rows

    The pullups with work the width of your back, and the rows will work more on depth. If you don't have a bar that is low to the ground for the Inverted Rows, I'm sure some sort of bar across two (strong) chairs would suffice.

    BTW: although sc69's idea about one-legged squats are a good idea, they may be too advanced for you since you have underactive hamstrings. Honestly, I can't think of anything that you can do at home that will only work one leg...sorry

    also: go on bodybuilding.com. They have an exercise library with videos and pretty good explanations. If your form is off, you will not get nearly as much benefit.

    Good luck!
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    Jul 26, 2012 6:02 PM GMT
    Thanks for the replies so far guys. I definitely appreciate the suggestions icon_biggrin.gif

    I had a few questions though.

    When it comes to trying to do pushups, I am not able to physically get onto my toes on the right foot, as my toes don't bend back that far after the paralysis. And it's tough to hold the right leg straight, as gravity is forcing it to bend at the knee. Is it okay to do my pushups all on my left foot, maybe while resting the right one on top of that?

    Also, as they are body weight exercises, as opposed to actual weights, should I still be doing the 10-15 suggested reps that I normally see in workout plans? More? Less?

    Lastly, is walking going to be the only/best cardio option for me to trim fat?
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    Jul 26, 2012 6:12 PM GMT
    The bodyweight workouts are a great suggestion. You should definitely give those a try. You can play with tempo and number to change up the workout. You can probably do so many slowly but probably less if you try to get max sit ups in 2 minutes.

    As for pull ups, you can also look into getting bands to assist you. That lets you do the full range of motion while building strength. http://rubberbanditz.com/pull-up-bands/

    As for push ups, if you can't do both feet down, one is good. If that's hard, there's nothing wrong with doing them from your knees. Again, you can mix up volume with pace to make it harder or just different.

    It doesn't sound like you have much access to equipment. Any chance you can get to a local community pool? You can get a pull bouy http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/triathlons/training/train-with-pull-buoy.htm so you don't have to kick because of your hamstrings. That'd be a great workout.

    If you can get to a gym and use heavier weights, one leg shouldn't stop you if you can stand and balance. You'd still be able to do deadlifts, cleans, and presses. You may have to adjust weight and move a little slower but it can be done.
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    Jul 27, 2012 10:54 PM GMT
    Thanks imasrxd!! I never even knew such bands existed for pullups...but at the moment I could definitely use them haha.

    But at the moment I don't have access to a community pool. There is a pool in my apartment complex...but no buoys and usually there are children swimming around too. It's a rather small pool....not a lap pool.

    Do you have any suggestions for cardio? I am really lookin to trim fat in the midsection. Stomach, groin and ass...but I can't run...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 28, 2012 12:23 AM GMT
    For cardio, try bicycling...either stationary or a real bike.

    Stationary bikes usually have a grip for your shoe so you can use one leg.

    That option is also available for real bikes.

    If you choose a real bike, be sure to ride away from traffic till you get used to peddling with one leg.
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    Jul 28, 2012 12:19 PM GMT
    Some other ideas:

    Tread water in the smallish pool for 30-60 mins.
    Skipping rope with one leg?
    Hook up a cheap pair of crossfit rings for body weight training : http://goo.gl/8AhRe
  • Jubadiju

    Posts: 221

    Jul 28, 2012 12:48 PM GMT

    I don't know so much about the trimming of fat and building of muscle specifically.

    But in terms of regaining more use of your legs, working with someone that practices Feldenkrais or Alexander Technique would be helpful. They are self-exploratory methods that help to develop functional alignment throughout the body, especially building awareness and articulation of the spine and rest of the skeleton.

    Maybe these would help to rebuild connections and movement patterns that would enable you to more effectively utilise/recruit the atrophied muscles of your leg, so that they can be developed again.

    I would be cautious of being too overzealous in training those parts of your body that are currently more able, and not spending enough time on the weaker areas. That may only increase the imbalances, and could present you with more knock on problems later on. Doing one legged push ups, for instance. Just make sure that you're stabilizing through your spine and pelvis, so that they're not twisting to allow the action to happen.
    If you can support some weight through your weaker leg, even if you don't have the flexibility through the ankle/foot to allow your toes to be under you, you could have both feet resting on the tops of the feet, flat above your toes, so that they can be more even.

    There is a lot of work that you can do lying on your back, to develop support through the core, especially the deep abdominal muscles. Pilates in this case would be good work, without the need of lots of equipment or space.

    A last suggestion would be to find a good yoga teacher who can teach you specific poses that would be of benefit.

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    Aug 01, 2012 4:55 PM GMT
    If I were you I would call my physical therapist and ask them what you can do for weight training and cardio training. I am sure they can give you a bunch of programs or could provide you with a trainer who deals with people with physical limitations. I once belonged to a gym and there was a trainer there who did unbelievable work with people with disabilities.

    It sounds like you have the desire and will, all you need to do is find the right tool and programs