Working out around an injury is a roller coaster. Some days are great where I feel uninhibited by it and then there are days where fatigue sets in and so does pain. I worry from time to time that because I cannot do every movement I know or have to go lighter on weights, that I would lose strength. I worry that when my foot is healed, I will be back to square one on a lot of things.
This could not be the furthest thing from the truth. I am by no means an expert on body mechanics or injuries or training. I also realize not all injuries are created equal. I just know from my own experiences over the last few months that injuries do not necessarily mean progress in fitness takes a back seat.
I have still been able to do movements like back squats, front squats and shoulder presses at full capacity while other movements like snatches, box jumps and double unders have been under wraps. I have been doing things instead like goblet squats and lunges.
Clean and jerks (which are one of my favorite movements) have been a distant memory to me the last few months. I have not been able to clean more than 65 pounds until earlier this week when I did 75. Not because I do not have the strength for it, but because it’s hard to clean weight higher than that and not activate my feet. Forget jerks. I can’t do a movement with a jump while lifting a heavy load (or even light load) over my head.
V Crossfit, which I am a friend to, is half way into a Friday Night Lights program. I went last week and had a blast (relatively speaking as we did half of Cindy: AMRAP 10 of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups and 15 air squats). The other night when I saw this week’s program included 1 rep max of clean and jerk, my heart skipped a beat. I asked my physical therapist if he would disprove of me attempting to do it and he told me to try it but to not be “CrossFit about it” and to listen to my foot.
I committed to going tonight and had my Secret Sauce, Smita, there with me like the old days of working out together. We rotated turns and slowly worked our way up in weight. I got to my clean and jerk PR of 115 and was still feeling pretty good. I went for 120 which was my clean PR and nailed it. I decided to try 125 and holy smokes I got that too. My foot was still cool and not talking to me so I decided to try 128. I cleaned it (PR!!!) but failed at the jerk. Which is fine. I had already clean and jerked more than my body weight. I was (and still am) elated!
So what is the point of all this? It’s not to brag about my PR’s (well ok it is a little bit.. ok a lot). More so though, it’s to prove that it is possible to get stronger while injured. I attribute my progress and success to Physical Therapy and teaching me the importance of having good mobility in my ankles, feet, legs and hips. I have been stretching out a ton, strengthening my muscles, fixing my mechanics and working on my mobility on top of the daily workouts and extra skill work. Training smart with an injury is key and I am living proof that the seemingly impossible is possible.