In Medical/Injuries, Videos

June 05, 2009

Video Article

Continuing to CrossFit while you have an acute injury can actually promote healing, Kelly Starrett told participants at a one day seminar at CrossFit Santa Cruz on March 14, 2009. Starrett is the owner of San Francisco CrossFit and a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

“You had a surgery on Friday? Take a couple of days off. See you on Monday,” Starrett said. The key is modifying the program. Grace can be done with dumbbells. If a limb is injured, don’t use it. But keep working out. It’ s best to train through and around injures. Otherwise, the “ghosts” of injuries can remain for years and negatively affect athletic performance.

Continuing to work out reinforces tissue and keeps systems intact. The metabolic and anabolic cascade and neurendocrine response lead to increased growth hormone, increased testosterone and increased insulin growth factors—all good things.

And the psycho-social factors are also important. Athletes should not be isolated from their workout buddies or allowed to give up. They need to get back into action.

7min 36sec

Download

Comment

23 Comments on “Training Through Acute Injuries: Part 1 ”

1

wrote …

Kelly,

Wow! Just when I am at the peak of self pity after letting my rotator cuff injury get in the way of most CrossFit workouts, this video gets posted. Time to get the dumbbells and kettlebells back out. Thanks.

Tom

2

Daniel Schmieding wrote …

Just to add a droplet to the ocean of wisdom Kelly put forth in this vid -

As a gymnastics coach, injuries are commonplace among our high school / college athletes; 99% of the time they come back to the gym within 3 days.

Can they do backflips? Probably not with an ankle injury. Can they finally dedicate the time they should have been to the Iron Cross? Finally they can, they do, and it works.

Take a step back if you're injured. Dumbbells were right on! Now might be a perfect time to take some more cues from Kelly's previous lectures: Stretch!

3

wrote …

Great timing Kelly. Having foot reconstructed next week after an accident and I've got 12 weeks of no weight bearing. This helps to bring me out of my emotional funk. I'll adapt and spend time working on weaknesses. Thanks!

4

Mike Kesthely wrote …

I'll echo what Henry and Vince said; the psycho-social aspect may be the hardest hit area for a Crossfitter. I'm currently dealing with a potentially torn labrum, going through physio, and waiting on diagnostic imaging. I've felt myself drawn AWAY from the gym for numerous reasons.

Time to look at it from a different angle.

Question, though: If I'm to incorporate dumbbells for single-arm work, such as snatch, clean, OHS, perhaps small med-ball WBS, would I not develop upper body imbalances that could perhaps inhibit rehab down the road?

5

wrote …

Kelley helped lend language to what I have been sharing with clients for some time. They ask how professional "athletes" recover so quickly and functionally, yet don't believe they train their way back. Doc's simply say "rest it" vs. what kelley shares about benefits of training thru and around acute injuries. Thank you.

Another note.. we are looking for Poster that diagram the olympic lifts, anyone got great resources I should check out?


6

wrote …

I wish I would've been exposed to this stuff 12 years ago when I had an ACL rupture and required reconstructive surgery. It took me forever to get back to "normal" after being cleared from that injury.

I will add further testament to this. I just spent the last 6 months trying to recover from Medial Epicondilytis (Golfer's Elbow). With the inability to grip anything heavy in my dominant arm I continued to train, 1 arm KB swings, 1 arm DB cleans, 1 arm DB snatch etc. Now that I'm back to using both limbs, I am now stronger overall. I've brought my non-dominant "weak" side up to par. I am more balanced now than I've ever been. Go K-Star...Encourage us to continue to train and be "UnScared"!

7

wrote …

Kelly,

I just pulled a glute muscle this past week during a warm up session - I was bummed but got my coaches to program workouts for me and have kept at it. This video was great confirmation to stay on track and keep crossfiting! Great video!

Will continue to "Hang Tough" and keep training. Do you have any additional resources I could use for stretching and healing of that glute? I checked out your article on "Hamstrung".

8

wrote …

Thank you for the excellent video.

Had Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) 24 days ago. It is an alternative to a total hip replacement that puts a different sized prosthetic in your hip.
After wallowing in bed for 7 days, things were looking pretty bleak mentally. Was feeling isolated, weak, frustrated, and disgusted at how the pain narcotics made me feel. So, it was time to try something different.

I got on the CrossFit website and started reviewing all the exercises to see which, if any, I could try in my post-op state. Post-op restrictions are: no more than 75% of body weight on operative leg for 42 days. No more than 100% of body weight on operative leg for 365 days. Luckily there are dozens (hundreds?) of CrossFit exercises that do not violate these constraints. Who knows, that first muscle up may be in the works...

Anyway, I managed to get in my first extremely modified and very careful CrossFit workout on post-op day 17. While it was little, it saved me mentally to get back to the gym and training partners. Got back in the gym for modified CrossFit workouts every day since. Mental state is back to normal (well, normal for me...) so I 100% agree with the psycho-social teachings.

CrossFit was also fundamental in "pre"-habbing my body and hip for the surgery.
The better shape you are in going into the OR, the better shape you are in coming out. For the hip replacement, I did many modified TGUs where the operative leg was out of the picture, many dips to prepare for crutches, crutch Tabata workouts so I'd be ready for the crutches, and learned some non-hip stressing exercises. Also, my workout friends were the best possible support group. They knew what was coming up, and were there for me when it happened. Once again the psycho-social aspects of realizing you still are part of the CrossFit community, that you still are an athlete, that you still are a husband and worker and friend are key to recovery.

So, excellent video, thanks.

9

wrote …

This is an inspirational message. The video has specifics as it relates to training through limb injuries. Do you have any suggestions for training through 'core' injuries such as hernia? So much of crossfit hits the core.

Is the guiding principle to find a way to do the work outs without trigging pain that is resulting from the injured area?

10

Herm Blancaflor wrote …

In February I had my left shoulder surgically repaired: Type IIA SLAP lesion, with subscapularis tendon damage, and I received the same exact diagnosis for the right shoulder on Thursday. I went through rehab for the left the KStar way, and I plan on doing the same exact thing for the right side!

Kelly, I've never heard your take on Kettlebells for rehab/prehab and keeping the shoulder joint healthy, in the way Jeff Martone does it. His methods are working their way into my warm-ups, especially the Turkish Get-up. Thoughts?

11

Herm Blancaflor wrote …

#2 Daniel, Right on. It's on my goalsheet to be able to L-sit to Handstand Pushup, and hamstring/hip flexibility is not up to par. Good advice.

#4 Mike, good luck bro. A torn labrum repair is inevitable if you plan on doing the overhead lifts. It is not an option for me, since I am a full-time coach.

#5 Aaron, e-mail Coach Burgener!

#6 Charles, ouch. Medial epichondylitis is frustrating as heck for a CF'er. I incurred it 1 1/2 years ago and it still makes me wary of doing fast pull-ups.

#9 Michael, while I was going through my own rehab, pain free ROM guided my daily decisions on what exercise and load to use. So yes, stay in pain-free ROM, with slight discomfort being the indicator of your limit. Be deliberately cautious but don't short yourself either. I defer to Kelly, as I'm not a Physical Therapist.

12

wrote …

Kelly,

Right on! You verified what I've believed for years--"rest it" isn't the optimal decision. Keep moving!
Last year, I had stomach surgery; when I got our of the hospital two days later, the doc said, "no restrictions". I took him literally. Result? Healed faster, self-esteem went up and people think I'm nuts. I love it!

13

wrote …

Great timing. I ruptured my pectoral tendon in a training accident a few months ago. Its been 6 weeks since they screwed by tendon back to my humerus. I have been doing xfit without using my right arm while it is cinched down in a sling. My Dr. has been amazed at my healing rate. Just do not get to crazy.

14

wrote …

Clarifies things after a significant calf pull last week. I can now walk, so I ought to be able to train.

15

wrote …

#4 Mike,
When I broke my wrist, I continued to train with good hand using kettlebell and dumbbell movements. I also worked on the one-arm push-up and one-arm body rows. I've read that there is a carryover of strength from one arm to the other, perhaps 15% (?). I did this in attempt to maintain/improve strength in both arms. Once I could use my left hand again, my grip strength was certainly down, but with direct training it improved. Bilateral barbell exercises seemed to iron out discrepancies.

16

wrote …

Haha, Kelly talked about the crossover in the video.

1) Arms are still game: this study shows that 1RMs increased in one arm when the other was trained.
http://testservice-eprints.gla.ac.uk/4303/

2) This meta-analysis shows that the contralateral (a.k.a. crossover) effects of strength training varied -2.7 to 21.6% of initial strength, with a pooled estimate of 7.8%.
http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/96/5/1861

I've heard claims of up to 50%, who knows.

17

wrote …

My friend and training partner, hurt his back doing a KB swing. He has tightness in his mid thoracic spine. Feels really tight doing seated hamstring stretches - especially when adding the 'chin to chest' portion. Besides, stretching, ice and ibuprofen, what should he do? How do you train around a stiff back injury? Your back/core stabilizers are the basis of every functional movement.

18

Thanks Ben, your post is much appreciated!

19

wrote …

Speaking about ghost injuries... After some ART work and dedicated stretching it will get to the point where an injury is all but a distant memory and a movement pattern long retired. Enter: a difficult workout (i.e. true 5rm, 3rm) and suddenly tightness abounds and despite your stretching the cramps and spasms continue. Suddenly you are back to where you were a year ago or many years ago, and its like you never left.


What is that, is it a compensatory measure when things get tough the old (easy) habits kick right in? is it a matter that there is still an imbalance despite your unilateral training?


Last thing, Rip states that a properly done squat will eliminate weaknesses in time. My curiosity is that if you have a particular joint that is partially immobile and begins to creep in on your complex movement form, and that creeping is in such a low progression to be not easily identifiable, and as the weight goes up the odd pain goes up. THE question: How do you deal with tiny body adaptations which move against "ideal form" and are not easily identifiable without the aid of the particularly useful massage therapists who take interest in such things?

20

replied to comment from Matt Solomon

Matt - what I did was stretching towards extension, which is to say, like the cobra pose. This has numerous benefits. After that, I could do light work as long as I could stay aware of keeping back - upper and lower - in extension. KB snatches, pullups, muscle ups, supermans, back extensions, good mornings, low weight deadlifts, etc etc etc. Any thing pain levels permit, which reinforces good posture and builds proper movement mechanics.

Ben - nice link, thanks. Paul

21

wrote …

I have a question about recovery from back surgery, I had the surgery 10 days ago, fusion of L4 and L5, they went through the front to repair these disks, I feel not only now do I have to worry about my back but my front core will be effected too. I am watching my arms get smaller and smaller, my strength feels really down. So my questions is, when and where and what do I do. When should I start crossfitting again, where should I concentrate on, core back etc..? What lifts I should do, I am so ready to get back but just scared don't ever want to go under the knife again... I am 52 years old and was in the best shape of my life before this hit. This injury was created over time, living in the fast lane for so many years, then I was doing some fairly heavy deads and it was the straw that broke the camels back, or Dave's back...Also maybe I should wait until I am completely off the pain pills. Please if anyone out the in the Community can help, I would be forever GREATFUL !!
E-mail is Hyperlite1958@yahoo.com Also the Doc said I might not ever be able to crossfit again and proably wakeboarding is out, I can't accept that right now..

22

wrote …

I have a question about recovery from back surgery, I had the surgery 10 days ago, fusion of L4 and L5, they went through the front to repair these disks, I feel not only now do I have to worry about my back but my front core will be effected too. I am watching my arms get smaller and smaller, my strength feels really down. So my questions is, when and where and what do I do. When should I start crossfitting again, where should I concentrate on, core back etc..? What lifts I should do, I am so ready to get back but just scared don't ever want to go under the knife again... I am 52 years old and was in the best shape of my life before this hit. This injury was created over time, living in the fast lane for so many years, then I was doing some fairly heavy deads and it was the straw that broke the camels back, or Dave's back...Also maybe I should wait until I am completely off the pain pills. Please if anyone out the in the Community can help, I would be forever GREATFUL !!
E-mail is Hyperlite1958@yahoo.com Also the Doc said I might not ever be able to crossfit again and proably wakeboarding is out, I can't accept that right now..

23

wrote …

Great vid. As far as acute injuries go, what would you do with a back. Its one of those really annoying parts of the body, it holds everything together. I hurt it about 3 years ago, I ruptured a disk L1 S1, I was 21. and at least once a year I do something, Usually training and it basically comes back. It HAUNTS ME. I remember being told when I first injured it I was told that I could never do any Olympic lifts. I trained myself back into great shape after 8 months of bodyweight and using a cross trainer cause I couldnt run. Then I started getting into crossfit!! Yay!! it made a huge difference, apart from towards the end of the year, when I would go visit my parents over christmas, I didnt have to cook, clean, or work haha and I have a huge amount of energy and Bam....my back is injured again. 2 or 3 years it happens each time. At the moment I am still with my last one. I dont know if its still the old injury or a remnant or something else?

If theres anything about rehabilitating a back and keeping it strong and healthy, it would be of immense help. I know it will get better, I would just like to prevent it from happening again or later on in my years to have surgery.
My email: mnkyscribe@gmail.com

Any help or advice would be great.

Leave a comment

Comments (You may use HTML tags for style)