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20 yr old needs help getting exercise with injured back and shoulder

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  • 20 yr old needs help getting exercise with injured back and shoulder

    I'm one of those people that have been lurking for awhile but never post anything. So here's my first post.

    I am a 20 yr old college kid wanting to transform into more of a primal lifestyle. Started going primal in January (was about 50/50), and on April 2nd I began the 21 day transformation. I have seen some pretty good results, but not as good as I would like.

    I know I need to get more exercise, and quite frankly my exercise routines are pretty boring.
    The kicker is that last august I fractured my back, leaving me sedentary for pretty much that whole semester. Then in January I had major shoulder surgery which I am still recovering from. My back is so much better than it was at the beginning of the year, but it definitely isn't back to normal yet.
    When I started the 21 day transformation I began taking 3 mile walks around a lake. However this is the only cardio activity I can think of that wont aggravate my injuries, I would love more suggestions.
    As for the strength training, all I am doing at the moment are squats. I don't know of anything else I can do.

    I would really love some advice on how I could potentially adapt certain exercises to make them work with my injuries, not against them. I have made great progress with my shoulder in getting back my range of motion, I just cant put much weight on it yet. Might be able to start wall pushups soon, but Im not sure.

    I'm pretty desperate for some advice. My legs are getting a great workout but it seems like the rest of my body has been left behind in the dust.

    My goal is to get back the body and health I had prior to my injuries. I would be happy at a healthy 120lbs.

  • #2
    For cardio, how about rowing? It might be hard on your back, but if you're doing squats it might be OK. Or swimming, or biking.

    For upper body, I'd say go ahead with the wall pushups. Did you get some physical therapy exercises? You could use the machines in the gym to continue those also. You should also incorporate an upper body "pull" like lat pulldowns or cable rows. Or if you prefer bodyweight exercies, you can do inverted rows: Inverted Row

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    • #3
      what options do you have for swimming, and can you get a coach to help you? done right, workouts in a pool are great, but you don't want to risk bad form and re-injury. a swim coach (maybe at a ymca or something, or ask around to hire a former athlete) could give you pointers and watch your stroke.
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      • #4
        As others have mentioned, I would definitely look into swimming. It's great as cardio but you'll find you will also build up a decent strength base simply by moving all that water around. Bike riding/spinning would also be great for cardio and building up your legs.

        Upper body strength can be tough with an injured shoulder. Maybe you could do pull ups? Those don't rotate the shoulder too much and will give you nice biceps/lats. If not, I'd really just wait for the injuries to heal rather than trying to rush into something and hurting yourself even worse!

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        • #5


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          • #6
            I forgot to mention that I do have physical therapy for my shoulder for about 2 hours 3 times a week.

            I cant row, unless there's a way to do a one arm row (i think i just made that up). Ill talk to my PT today about adding wall pushups and the possiblity of swimming. I used to be an avid ocean swimming before college, wouldn't mind doing that again.

            I have a set of resistance bands that I use outside of physical therapy to help speed my reovery, but I think the exercises I have are more for gaining back range of motion.
            I might just need to stick with the squats until my shoulder can handle more than a couple pounds of weight.

            Also, I have thought about using the bike at the gym. Can't really do a regular bike because of the stress it would put on my shoulder, but what ar eyour thoughts on using a gym bike for some cardio?

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            • #7
              Ask your PT. I popped 3 discs in my lumbar spine about 10 years ago....had a hard time recovering until I moved to a farm and the daily work just gradually increased my fitness. Use light weights and range of motion exercises---don't underestimate the amount of fitness you can get from 3-5 lb weights and multiple repetitions---20-30 in a set, 2-3 sets. you have to build up that basic muscle fiber before you can start to go further.

              This is one time I'd recommend using machines: The nautilus and clones have a built in safeguard against exceeding range of motion, and in your case, or in any rank beginner's case, it can be useful for a while until you have a basic level of strength.

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              • #8
                I'm a PT, and the first things I though of are wall pushups (depends on what's wrong with your shoulder). Animal walks - bear/Grok walk, crab walk (this will really work on your shoulder ROM, may be too intense), inchworms, planks - there must be a plank progression here somewhere. If you can do planks, you can do mountain climbers, burpees.

                We made some slosh tubes for our house and if you make a small version, just holding that will give your upper body a workout (I can barely bench press our 6 ft slosh tube)

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                • #9
                  Talked to my pt today, she is going to give me some more back exercises I can do without hurting my shoulder (had to stop them initially after shoulder surgery). I also started wall push ups, 1 set of 10 with palms straight up and down, 1 set of 10 with hands at 45 degree angle. Not real sure what the difference is, but i do what im told.

                  I can't do planks yet, tried briefly last week (without dr permission) and had too much pain. Pretty sure that was my shoulders way of telling me "not yet".

                  I've heard of bear walks and crab walks and know I cant do those yet, but what are inchworms?

                  Just to give you an idea of where i'm at recovery wise. I'm three months out of surgery, with another estimateed 4 months of recovery/therapy left before my dr says ill be back to "normal". My back had been doing great until I began transitioning back into a active lifestyle, but ive been told thats very normal and I need to work on strengthening it.

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                  • #10
                    I had a herniated disc that they said needed operated on in high school. Saw a chiropractor, avoided surgery....got back to wrestling and lifting with the help of his advice and recommendations. So yes, I say see a chiropractor. Healed fractures can still be checked out by them as it can effect the overall bio-mechanics of your spine.

                    On another note you may check out this guys stuff. Its about making exercise easier on the joints and support structures to avoid injuries in strength training.....Bill DeSimone | Congruent Exercise | Full Length HD - YouTube
                    Last edited by Neckhammer; 04-20-2012, 05:46 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                      I had a herniated disc that they said needed operated on in high school. Saw a chiropractor, avoided surgery....got back to wrestling and lifting with the help of his advice and recommendations. So yes, I say see a chiropractor. Healed fractures can still be checked out by them as it can effect the overall bio-mechanics of your spine.

                      On another note you may check out this guys stuff. Its about making exercise easier on the joints and support structures to avoid injuries in strength training.....Bill DeSimone | Congruent Exercise | Full Length HD - YouTube
                      Any tips on how to tell a good chiropractor from a bad one? I herniated a disc a few weeks ago and still have some leg numbness. I'm doing traditional PT at the moment, but it doesn't seem to be helping a whole lot, so I'm willing to give chiropractic a shot.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by yodiewan View Post
                        Any tips on how to tell a good chiropractor from a bad one? I herniated a disc a few weeks ago and still have some leg numbness. I'm doing traditional PT at the moment, but it doesn't seem to be helping a whole lot, so I'm willing to give chiropractic a shot.
                        Well, I would approach it the same way you would approach any health care provider. Ask around for who people recommend. Look em up online. Check out their web site if they have one to get a feel for em. You can even check up with the state board to make sure they have no actions against them. I have been to several throughout my life. Some were better than others, but none of em were "bad". Its just seems the bad in any profession tend to get all the attention . Good luck!

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