September 07, 2010
ACL surgery, slipped disc, broken arm, or knee injuries don't have to stop you from working out. Here are some tips, moves and machines that can help you stay in shape while you heal. (I normally stay away from most of the stabilizing and isolating machines at the gym because you usually sit and only work one muscle group instead of multitasking your moves for arms, legs and ab work. However, if you're injured machines at the gym can be your best friend.) Cardio with a lower body injury:
If you've got a lower body injury (or are pregnant) and want a safe cardio exercise, try the arm spinner. There are many names for it including the "arm wheel" and "upper body ergometer." This looks like a padded seat with a back, with a bike wheel at shoulder level. The "pedals" are actually handles. You can sit and spin in an easy resistance and go fast for intense cardio, or add resistance to get your toning and cardio at once. There's also the seated cross-trainers that look like half of a Nordic Track. You sit to stabilize your lower body, and use pulleys to twist at your middle and pull the arms with resistance. Toning with lower body injury:
Seated upper body workout machines are ideal if you're a beginner or in rehab, otherwise I prefer to have healthy clients workout out while standing, lunging, balancing on one leg, standing on a BoSu ball or seated on a stability ball. The good thing about seated machines is that they isolate the area you're working, leaving the rest of your body at rest. A good circuit is a shoulder press, upper back seated pulley, assisted chin-ups, reclined chest press, lat pull down machine, seated barbell bicep curls and a triceps barbell overhead French press. You can also invest in tubing for about $10 and find exercises online, including hooking tubing to a door or chair and increasing resistance by color-coded tubes. Cardio and toning with an upper body injury:
Of course with an arm or shoulder problem, you use the treadmill, the elliptical, the stair stepper or a stationary bike. Other options for toning without jarring and painful movements can include the leg press for quads and glutes, the hamstring curl, and seated inner and outer thigh (abductors and adductor) machines. Don't forget to do calf raises with a machine or freestyle. Standing squats and lunges may be OK as long as you are not in pain, and be sure to use a wall or something stable to hold onto. Core work with a lower body injury:
If you just have an issue with putting weight on your leg, use a chair. You can hang from the seat and use your elbows to stabilize yourself. Lift the knees or leg with your abdominals without having to hook your feet under anything. Another great machine is the ab trainer where your head and hands rest in the machine so that only your core works. Legs can be on he floor or braced on the machine depending on the size and style. Additionally, if you have an upper body injury you still may be able to do crunches by simply folding the arms across the chest and crunching on the floor or hooking legs under an incline bench. Warm-up and stretch:
A good way to avoid further injury is to warm up for 5 minutes before a workout. Warm-ups include easy, slow cardio with no incline or resistance on the machines listed above, or rhythmic limbering -- mimicking the toning moves you're going to do later, but without weights and with music. Stretch each muscle group you worked for 20-30 seconds after your workout. Resources:
Ask your gym sales rep, manager or personal trainer for recommendations or machines specific to your location, or use the tubing and free weights at home to isolate areas safely. Moves from my multitasking fitness DVDs can also be broken down so you perform just the arms or just the legs parts of the routine. Physical therapists are also great resources. They'll typically nurse your injury back to health but they can also give tips on keeping your healthy muscles toned without damaging the area you are taking care of. Always consult your doctor before starting a workout routine, whether you're injured or not.
The gym can still be your playground to keep you sane, happy and healthy while you heal.Fitness - fit it in.
NikkiNikkiFitness, Nicole Glor, is an AFAA certified NYC personal trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan and Nicole Glor, NikkiFitness is a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, DVD creator and fitness columnist for Military.com. Her workouts focus on multitasking toning and cardio intervals to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. She has 4 DVDs on Amazon including the new Fit Travel Workout DVD, Booty Camp, Military Wife Workout and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout. Newly released: Baby Bootie Camp DVD. Coming soon: Hard Core Abs. Get her newsletters, music playlists, video demos and DVDs at www.nikkifitness.com