Considerations for Reintroducing Exercise After Injury or Postpartum
When you begin to reintroduce movements that had been removed from your routine for awhile, whether that was because of an injury or having a baby, figuring out when to start transitioning back to “normal” can be tough. Here are the top 3 things I look at to decide what to do in a workout.
The first factor I look at is volume of the previously bothersome movement. This can be volume for the week or for the day. Take adding jump rope back in to your routine as an example. Let's say you have worked on jump rope in isolation, and you know you can do sets of 15-20 without leaking. If a workout is a short duration piece, with lower rep ranges or the liklihood that you will accumulate multiple sets of the jump rope is low, you will potentially be able to do the workout with no issues! However, if the workout is a long aerobic piece with smaller sets of jump rope mixed in with other movements for 20 minutes, this may not be the workout to add jump rope back in, or you may need to scale back the number, otherwise you may accumulate too much overall volume as you continuously add in rounds. Likewise, if you spent 30 minutes working on jump rope the day before, and today want to jumprope in the long workout, the total volume within a short period may be too much for your muscles, as they are still recovering from the previous day.
Exercise groupings also play a factor. If you are recovering from an elbow injury that affects your grip strength, and the workout has heavy deadlifts, double unders, and gymnastics work hanging from the bar, it may be a workout to change up a bit. While you may have been able to do those exercises individually with no problems, when you add all three grip heavy exercises together and repeat them under fatigue, it will be a totally different stimulus! In this scenario, scaling weight for the deadlifts or changing bar work for a core challenging exercise off the bar may be a better route when first getting back into the swing of things. Another example I like to use for this is a workout with running and double unders. While you may be able to run without symptoms, and you may be able to do double unders just fine, when we add that cumulative load and repetitive stress on the pelvic floor, you may notice symptoms because the overall demand is too great for tissue capacity at that time.
The final consideration I look at is movement variation-is there a way to get a similar stimulus, with less demand on tissues when we take the previous two factors in to consideration. For example, if you are rehabbing from a back injury, and things have been feeling better to the extent that you are able to reach to your knees, but pulling from the ground is still out of the question, it would be more advantageous to your overall workout to swap cleans from the ground out for a hang clean, rather than nixing cleans all together. That way, you can continue to work the movement and technique from that position, and do your rehab exercises outside of the workout that will eventually lead to you pulling from the floor again!
Returning to working out postpartum or after an injury can be daunting-but it doesn't have to be! If you need guidance, book a session with Disrupt today and let's get you moving well!