Injury Timeline

Monday, January 18, 2016

How to Work Out with a Lisfranc Injury!

Wondering how to work out with a broken foot?  These are my experiences working out with a Lisfranc injury, but I'm sure it could be applied to any lower extremity injury that has you non weight bearing.  I have been working on this post for a while.

Maybe I should have posted this a long time ago, but now that I've been through nearly 5 months of trying to keep my workouts interesting without putting weight on my foot, I thought I'd share how I got through the conundrum.

I've found that there are really two types of people who get Lisfranc injuries:  random freak accidents (falling off a step or a car accident), and crazy athletic people.  Now I know the two are not mutually exclusive and there are plenty in between, but I fall into the "insane gym rat" kind of people.  Before my injury, I went to the gym every day (sometimes twice a day), and on the weekends I went hiking or snowshoeing or biking or running, anything outdoorsy.  If I didn't time myself at the gym, there's a good chance I could be there for hours.  Or all day.  And now all of a sudden I was faced with an injury that completely flipped my world upside down and took away what I loved most.  Instead of the pity party, I moved past it, and got creative with what I could do.

Three things:  1) Get comfortable with weight lifting (yes, girls!) and 2) Say goodbye to cardio for a while (more on that later..) 3) If you are going to a public gym (aka not your set of weights and a bench in your basement kind of gym), people will want to talk to you about your injury, whether it is about the scooter, or boot, or why you are crazy enough to come to the gym with a broken foot.  Most of the time, I was more than happy to talk to people.  Other times I wanted to get in my workout and be done!

If you're a seasoned gym rat (we can smell our own) you've probably already figured out these on your own.  But if not, or you feel a bit lost, here are some ideas!  I mainly stuck to dumbells (DB), resistance bands (RB), and body weight (BW).  **Disclaimer:  Obviously, I am not a doctor or a certified fitness trainer.   Do these at your own risk and after you've consulted with your doc that it's OK.**  

Shoulders (aka my "glamour" muscles - since I love showing them off in a tank top)
I either sat on the workout bench, or I stood up and rested my knee of my injured leg on the bench - whatever is more comfortable.
Shoulder Press with DB - 3 sets of 15 reps
Upright Row with DB - 3 sets of 10 reps
Shoulder Shrugs with DB - 3 X 20
Front Raise with DB - 3 X 10
Alternating One Arm Front Raise with DB - 3 X 20
Lateral Raise with DB - 3 X 10
Alternating One Arm Lateral Raise with DB - 3 X 20
Reverse Fly with DB - 3 X 10
One Arm Shoulder Press with DB - 3 X 10
Alternating One Arm Shoulder Press with DB - 3 X 10 (5 each arm)

Most of these were done just lying down on the bench.
Chest Press with DB or Bar - 3 X 12
Chest Fly with DB - 3 X 12
Close Grip Chest Press with DB or Bar - 3 X 12
Incline Chest Press with DB - 3 X 12
Incline Chest Fly with DB - 3 X 12
Incline Close Grip Chest Press with DB - 3 X 12
Knee push-ups (wide arm, close arm or diamond stance) - 3 X 15
Decline Push-ups (knees and good leg on the bench, hands on the floor) - 3 X 15
Incline push-ups (push-up off the bench with knees on the floor) - 3 X 15

Not a ton of options here.  I felt like trying to work my biceps was the most awkward of all the exercises; I couldn't get my stance in a good position for an effective curl.  Mostly, I either sat on the bench or rested the knee of my injured leg on the bench.
Basic Bicep Curl with DB - 3 X 10
Hammer Curl with DB - 3 X 10
Angled Bicep Curl with DB - 3 X 10
Cross-body Bicep Curl with DB - 3 X 10
Bicep Holds with DB - Hold the curl at the halfway point (90 degree angle) for 20 seconds, repeat 3 times.  (You can also hold at the top of your curl or towards the bottom for a more super awesome bicep burn)
Half Curls with DB - Start in a 90 degree/halfway curl position.  Curl from halfway to the top for a set of 10.  Then curl from halfway to the bottom of the curl for a set of 10.
21's with DB - Curl from halfway position to the top for 7.  Curl from halfway to the bottom for 7.  Then do 7 full curls.  (7 + 7 + 7 = 21...I'm good at maths!).  Repeat 3 times.
**Note you can do all of these with a resistance band too!  Just stand on your good foot on the band with your other knee resting on the bench.  Or you can hook the resistance band under the bench legs and sit.

These were done either sitting on the bench, or on the floor.  Or resting knee position.
Tricep Kickbacks - 3 X 10 with DB on each arm
Skullcrushers with DB or Barbell - 3 X 10 (Laying down on the bench - Be careful not to smash your face!  Don't take the exercise too literally.)
Overhead Extension with DB or RB - 3 X 15
Dips off the bench - Extend your good leg as far out as you are comfortable; the more straight and farther away your foot is from your body the more you work the tricep.  Rest your injured leg at a 90 degree angle on top of your good leg's thigh.  Do 30 dips, or as many as you can!
Tricep Push-ups - 3 X 15 - Do these pushups on your knees with your arms close to your body in a narrow position.  Bend at the elbow and engage your triceps as you push up and down.

Superman Lifts (Body Weight - laying on your stomach) - 3 X 15.  Hold in "Superman" position for 30 seconds in between each set.  You can pulse or flutter kick with your legs for more super power.
Swimmer - 3 sets of 30 seconds - Like the Superman, but make a swimming motion with your arms and legs as you lift your chest off the ground.
One Arm Row with DB - 3 X 10
Laying Row with DB or Barbell - Lay on your stomach on the bench and lift the DBs or Barbell up like you were doing a standing upright row.
Lat Pull Downs with RB - 3 X 15
Rear Fly with DB - 3 X 10
Seated Rows with RB - 3 X 15 - Hook your resistance band to your good foot or to the legs of a bench and pull back like you were doing a standing row.

Lots and lots and lots of options here!  All of these pretty much are floor exercises.  Add a resistance band, a dumbell, yoga ball, or Bosu ball for more awesome abs.
Plank on knees
Crunches, bicycles, side crunch, leg lifts/lowers, reverse crunch, Russian twists, toe reaches, v-ups, jack-knife crunch, scissor kicks, cross body crunch, "X" crunches, frog crunch, windshield wiper crunch, side heel taps, side bends, full sit-ups

Like I mentioned, I really did struggle finding a good, consistent cardio option.  My doctor didn't clear me for swimming, but that is a great no-impact cardio exercise to do if you are cleared for it.  I did use the rowing machine, but only with my good leg.  I kind of hung my injured leg off to the side and just pushed off with my good foot.  I also loved to kickbox before injuring myself (think Billy Blanks/Taebo here, not MMA fighting) so I would sit on the bench and just do upperbody portions of the workout, like punches, speedbag work, etc.  I'm sure I looked like a flailing maniac so I only did that at home!  But, it did get my heart rate up.

The Good Leg
I wanted to do a few exercises to keep my good leg strong.  There weren't a ton of options but here were a few basics:
One Legged Glute Bridges (I found it most effective to put my good foot on the gym bench, and press up from that position.  I kept the injured leg at a 90 degree angle while my foot rested on my thigh)
One Legged Leg Press (on the leg press machine in most gyms)
Pilates - I did a lot of Pilates moves on both my legs, laying on each side.  Clam shells, leg lifts, leg pulses.
One Legged Hamstring Curl (with a yoga ball or on the TRX) - I laid on the floor and put my good heel up on the yoga ball/in the TRX strap.  I pressed up into a glute bridge and then would roll in and out on the good leg.
Firehydrants - Kneeling on all fours, I could work my hip flexors in both legs.
Quad Raises - I hooked a resistance band around my foot (or around my ankle) and straightened my leg.  I would then bend it at the knee to a 90 degree angle, pushing through the heel to activate my quad muscles.

If you are working out a lot, try to stick to 1 or 2 muscle groups each day, and alternate different muscle groups during the week.  If you aren't working out as much (like 1 or 2 times a week, focus on one or two exercises per muscle group, and try to get them all in for more of a total body workout.

I hope that this was helpful for you in some way, if you are looking to keep up your fitness while you are dealing with your foot or leg injury.  I know I would have gone crazy if I stopped going to the gym.  My cardio sure suffered, but I wasn't about to let my hard earned muscles waste away!

Now go get your iPod, flip on some tunes and bust out a good sweat!

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