Minor sports injuries happen to all of us–whether it’s while doing CrossFit, working out with an old injury that CrossFit reignited, or due to a random act of clumsiness that you’re embarrassed to admit.
As Crossfitters, our first thought is likely: How am I going to work out now??
Fortunately, most movements can be easily modified–even a lower body injury. While it may seem that a sprained foot or ankle, or a bum knee is a dealbreaker, it doesn’t have to completely take you out of the gym. It may take some patience and experimentation, under the supervision of your Coach, but it can be done. I recently sprained my ankle (not at CrossFit– mine is an example of the “embarrassed to admit” scenario.) I wasn’t told to completely stop working out, just to rest my injured body part for 4-6 weeks. In my mind the rest of my body was perfectly fine and ready to work. I took my own advice and after some trial and error, was able to find a number of movements to modify or replace in the WOD that kept me moving with the rest of the class:
Hip Thrusters. These are so underrated. This is a great modification for kettlebell swings or box jumps. It keeps your lower body moving and helps increase glute strength.
Banded Leg Movements. These may seem insignificant to what others are doing, but with the correct resistant band and high reps, your inner/outer thighs and glutes will be burning! Experiment with band positioning on a rack to find the movement that works best for you.
Wall Balls-minus the squat. It’s that simple. A standing wall ball may not burn your quads, but your upper body will get a great workout!
Rowing. It may feel awkward, but it’s a great way to get a good sweat in when running and jumping aren’t an option. Rest your injured foot/leg on top of the foot cage, while your healthy leg is positioned as normal. You may fatigue faster only using one leg, but at least you’re still in the game.
Some people may be worried about only working on one side of their bodies while the other is resting. I felt the same way until I heard and read about “cross-education.” Look it up! Studies have shown that “cross-education,” working one side of your body, will help decrease strength loss and speed up recovery. So don’t worry about having one huge quad, or calf over the other–it may be stronger but the injured one will be sure to catch up.
Listen to your body but also don’t be afraid to test it. Experiment with your Coach’s assistance, think outside of the box and as always, use pain as your guide. Take advantage of the down time to focus on technique and form and you’ll be back before you know it. What are your experiences with modifying?