Getting it back

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DanW
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:20 am

Getting it back

Post by DanW » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:57 am

Hello my name is Dan, I am 31 years old 5 foot 10 and 170 lbs. I started gymnastics when I was 2 and quit when I was 12. My strength peaking with a 10second iron cross hold, and about 8-10 steps hand walking. Looking back it seems silly that I thought I was weak at the time, but the next youngest in my class was 3 years older than me. I could blame bullies for why I quit, but really I just wanted more time to play outside since i was also playing soccer(didn't take up nearly as much time). Going into my teenage years I got introduced to the extreme sports, mostly BMX. At 15 I broke my right ankle, and it healed a little crooked since I thought the pain was bearable enough to still fuck around. When I was 17 I took a heavy chest first hit off a jump that tweeked my back a little. Remembering that my ankle broke because I got lost in a back flip l started training for impact. My thinking was, in a controlled setting I'd get used to the hit, and not flinch when I need to control the bend in a crash or fall. Believe it or not I ended up making a mistake as I progressed my chest first hits><. I chickened out halfway down from jumping over a fence onto packed dirt. I tried to roll onto my back but ended up blasting my right shoulder into the ground and It's hurt ever since. At 19 I popped something in my right knee missing the water on a 15-20 foot cliff jump. It wasn't very high, but it was the 5th attempt of the day and I also missed on 3 and 4. It has hurt on and off since. My early 20s were not great, long story short I got soft. Mid 20s I wanted to get back in shape so I started basic push/pull training. I also started blacksmithing as a hobby around the same time. I had just barely progressed to 1 arm chin up(3rep best) and handstand push up(8rep best) weighing 185-190 when I took 2 month off both for some crazy overtime at work. Coming back I did 2 straight days of heavy forge work, not thinking how much muscle I lost, and wound up with partial tears on both sides of my right elbow(medial side got it worse). At this point I had been compensating for the shoulder and knee for a while so I didn't think much of it. I never went back to training after the initial healing finished. Fast forward to 2 years ago, I started noticing substantial functional loss regardless of pain in my right arm. The decline from that position was pretty rapid. I ended up 154lb and severe pain at rest. I saw the pain coming, but I didn't understand how mentally taxing months of that would be. Finally went to a doc. 3month of PT later I could eat using my right arm without needing recovery after(if I was careful)

Now that mostly daily tasks don't have high risk, I have finally accepted my weak spots as starting points I must work harder off of and let go of what used to be. I have been pushing as hard as my joints let me for 3weeks and am making progress. I am working on box squats to strengthen my knee and ankle along with some mobility work for my ankle and hips. I am repping 1minute plank holds for my arms along with PT stretches/light bands.
Movement + load (especially pulling) is to hard for my arm right now. That being said, all my injuries are trending in the right direction and my core is waking up quickly. For the short term I want to stabilize my weak spots enough to start blacksmithing safely again / walking pain free would be nice. Not so short term I want a healthy handstand I can build off of.

I'm curious to hear how long I should stay at this level to keep the next progression safe. I really want to spend power and since its been a while I'm worried I'll rush this early stage.

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Vagabond
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Re: Getting it back

Post by Vagabond » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:21 pm

Hi Dan, and welcome onboard! As a fellow former gymnast, I have to say: damn, you really did beat up your body! I was super chicken as a gymnast, I have no doubt that if you had kept at it you would have been throwing some pretty epic moves. But yeah, for the bullying... Gymnastics can be really intense, and when you're the youngest (I also was the youngest in my group for a year, with a 3-4 years difference with the older guys), it's easy to get picked on by the older guys. Everyone feels a lot of pressure at the competitive level, and we all do what we can to cope with it, right?

Now, for the one million dollar question... It's really hard for anyone to figure it out, whether they are an experienced coach, a physical therapist or even yourself. I'd think that the only person who would know when you're ready for the next step is yourself. Wanna tell us more about what's wrong with your arm tho? What kind of tissue did the tears happen in? If it was ligament, that's pretty tough, but if it was tendon, it can fully heal. What I'd suggest doing at first would be very light bent arm push and pull exercises (like, you should be able to do 50 reps of it. That easy.), build up volume progressively, and see how your arm responds. I've used that in the past at a time when I injured my right shoulder and couldn't use it for nearly a year, and I had to keep track of how long it would take before the pain subsided between training sessions. At first, it took two weeks or so. Then, it would take 12-13 days, and so on, until I was able to do sets every day. Only when that didn't hurt did I start increasing the intensity again.

DanW
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:20 am

Re: Getting it back

Post by DanW » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:54 pm

Thank you for the reply. Gymnastics taught me to push myself, but I might have applied that wrong><. Like you said live and learn.

When I started PT I couldn't stop my forearm from bouncing away from my upper arm on the medial side while walking. The PT thought I had partials in most of the soft tissue shoulder - fingers, and graston scrapping made me look sun burnt for the first few weeks. Apparently I was the first person to enjoy scrapping, but my arm was panicking so it felt great to get straightened out when everything was trying to scatter. After 2 months I got an MRI since progress was slow. I'm that only showed moderate scarring(heaviest around the ulner nerve/nerve cavity) and a chronic partial in my rotator cuff.

I am glad you said 50 reps, I need to think way more solid down here(2 days ago 10 clean push ups put me into recovery). I'm practicing core centered balance and mobility every day as best I can. I'm trying to get to 5on 2off for strength but right now 2-3 days back to back is all I have. More or less I can get pain free at rest so I'll take it. So far I have been good at paying attention and if anything that isn't a muscle starts hurting more I stop for the day right then or at least switch to just legs/core.

DanW
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:20 am

Re: Getting it back

Post by DanW » Fri Apr 24, 2020 1:13 am

I should add this is phase 2. Before this I did 20 hours of balance beam(1.5inches wide 8feet long) in 5 days to pick up the arch on my right foot and setup my shoulder. I restricted breathing and breaks to force fatigue into my core. My knee couldn't handle turning so I just went forwards and backwards standing as tall and tight as I could bailing right side safe. At the time full group activation of my shoulder / chest still increased pain so this was my way to teach them to be friendly. My knee suffered since I needed to drive through its weak spot, but as of today I think I found the correct paths into my foot again. I know the power is there I just need to translate the language a little.

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Vagabond
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Re: Getting it back

Post by Vagabond » Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:34 pm

DanW wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:54 pm
I am glad you said 50 reps, I need to think way more solid down here(2 days ago 10 clean push ups put me into recovery).
On that one, I mean that it has to be scaled down. Say, 10 push-ups put you into recovery. Try longer sets with elevated hands. The effort might (and should be) be very mild, but it could bring blood to your arms, keep them under tension for a longer period of time, and just make them move a lot more.

DanW
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:20 am

Re: Getting it back

Post by DanW » Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:17 pm

I will try this. My elbow is scared to move still so would it be ok to go half down or would it be better to find a height that allows full ROM? I'm confused if stopping halfway down would feel good now but hurt me long term.

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Vagabond
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Re: Getting it back

Post by Vagabond » Sun Apr 26, 2020 3:56 pm

I think it would be better to go higher and use as full a range of motion as mechanically possible. Start way easier than you have to. You've got time to figure it out, and the last thing you want is to hurt yourself again/more. So play it ultra safe and just get your elbow moving in a setting that's really unlikely to hurt it at all.