Scaling Due to Injury

Earlier in the week, we were bench pressing. Now I have to tell you bench pressing is my all time favorite move. Seriously, I would do only that, if that did anything for health. I would rather bench than anything else in the box. (I will say that squats and deadlifts are not far behind).

bench pressing fav

Back to the story. On my second to last set, I heard my left shoulder go “pop, pop, pop” and then the bar basically collapsed on that side, leaving me in this rather awkward position of one side all the way up, and the other side completely collapsed and incapable of movement. My spotter immediately got the bar off and I rolled of the bench, trying to wipe aware tears of pain, my left arm dangling rather uselessly by my side. Needless to say, I was done for the day as far as working out went.

But I got up and 4:30am the next day and went in, because I KNEW, that no matter the injury, the coaches would find something for me to do so I could get a good workout in. Push Presses were on the menu, and that would be a total no-go. So she had me to 3 rounds of weighted lunges and banded glute bridges while everyone else did their sets of push presses. Guess what? We finished around the same time and I didn’t need to use my shoulder. The WOD was 50 calories on the Assault bike (that evil Devil’s chariot) followed by 75 thrusters at 35 pounds. Thrusters were obviously a no-go. So we tried front squats, but I couldn’t hold the bar in the front rack position. Then it was a heavy goblet squat and when she saw me struggling even with that, she helped me raise that dang 55 pound kettlebell to my good shoulder, and I did front squats that way and ended up a dripping pile of sweaty mess after. Was it the same workout everyone else did? No. Did I get the same benefit as doing thrusters? Probably not. BUT it was still an excellent workout and I felt good leaving the box.

What if all I could do was the bike? What if I couldn’t even use my arms for the bike? I can guarantee my coach would have made a great workout based on what I COULD do that day.

Don’t get me wrong, some injuries will simply require you to take a day, or two (or even more if need be) off. You need to listen to your body, especially as you get older and recovery takes longer (dear brain – please learn this lesson). But if your injury is relatively minor, I can almost guarantee that your coach has the ability to modify the workout to what you can do. I’ve seen it all the time with folks at our box. One of the athletes recently had carpel tunnel surgery and once the surgeon told her she could start to exercise again, she showed back up. That particular day was push-ups and even push-ups on her knees was starting to hurt. I saw her doing push-ups off the wall instead. Would that be the same as from the floor? No. BUT it allowed her to keep moving, and slowly build strength back into her wrist. She did all the other movements!

If coaches have the skill to scale for new athletes, teens, older athletes and for those of us who have yet to acquire one of the skills needed for that day, they can also scale for recovery from injuries, rehabilitation and simply to keep you moving. So, my advice would be that even with a minor injury get to the box and do the best you can, working around your injury.

And finally, as I’m not a medical doctor, this isn’t medical advice. See your doctor if you are seriously injured and follow their directions. Once cleared to exercise, listen to the doctor and/or physical therapists on what you are allowed to do so you can build your strength back. But I would also bet that your coaches are more than willing to work within those guidelines to make sure you heal and are back to full strength once again!


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