“So I’ve started to get back into the swing of things, really trying to be regimented and have my routine that I work on everyday. But after doing it everyday for a month straight, my knee begins hurting whenever I do this. Now I don’t do too much because I’m resting my injury.”
Does the above scenario sound familiar to you? This is a scenario that often triggers someone like yourself to look towards hiring a fitness professional, so hopefully the following should be well engrained within your future trainer’s mindset before seeking him or her out.
Well, I’m here to say that with almost every non-impact and acute injury, there is almost always something that you can do to “keep moving” and train around an injury.
While it is beyond the scope of this article to attempt to go over (or gloss over) common injuries of someone like yourself beginning a new program on your own, there are common movement patterns that you can progress and regress in terms of difficulty in order to keep on moving!
In reality, what you’ll take away from this and the next article is the movement regressions that I find to be the most effective not only from a movement perspective, but also from a loading and efficacy point of view as well.
For starters, let me state the obvious that if you are indeed injured or are experiencing pain, do not continue to exercise, but rather seek further professional help.
1. Learn to regress the movement further if there is pain with any movement.
Dynamic Pattern : Regressed Pattern : Further Regressed Pattern
- Barbell Deadlift : Kettlebell Deadlift : Elevated Hip Thrust
Beginners to the barbell deadlift may find that technique is key in order to avoiding injuries and pain. Also, it may be just too clumsy to get into the correct position if there is a lack of spatial awareness or unusual limb discrepancy that needs to be accounted for as the athlete begins the hip hinge movement.
What the kettlebell allows the athlete to do is recreate the same hip hinge pattern, while also shortening the range due to the sumo-like stance that is required while doing a kettlebell deadlift. Logistically, this exercise automatically becomes easier to perform due to its shortened range of motion, along with a more ergonomic tool.
The secondary regression enables you to get into your hips because gravity is helping push against your hips, without ignoring any important movement patterns as well.
See HERE for an exercise variation that hinges from the hips.
- Barbell Back Squat : Kettlebell or Dumbbell Goblet Squat : Kettlebell (or Goblet) Box Squat
The barbell back squat may possibly be the clumsiest movement to teach straight out of the gates to a new client, due to several individual setup nuances that may take place not only from the lower body portion, but simultaneously at the shoulder blade level (where you create that “shelf” with which to park the barbell across your back), along with grip width. This isn’t to mention depth issues along with the accompanying forward lean that may prop up due to compensations up or down the line of the body.
Enter the Goblet Squat
So to alleviate the above (albeit temporarily until more feedback and/or one-on-one time is available), I find that utilizing the kettlebell goblet squat reigns supreme not only from a teaching point of view in regards to a bilateral movement, but also in order to create a training affect for the trainee.
The secondary regression will account for squat depth height automatically, as the lift is not complete without going from Point A, to Point B, and back up to Point A, as this is simply what box squatting (or squat to a box) entails.
- Reverse Lunges : DB Static Split Squat : Goblet Split Squat
If there is pain doing reverse lunges, and you still want to #getafterit, a static split squat can enable you to work a similar static pattern with less dynamic movement instead.
Further, as the exercise is REGRESSED, this will shift away from proper landing of the foot and the impact on the knees as it is seen within a forward lunge, and it switches to the more appropriate single leg pattern with posterior chain recruitment (read: the booty).
A secondary regression of the split squat is a goblet split squat, as the body may react favorably to reflexively via the anterior core (read: the six pack), which will help solidify the movement from a positional point of view.
Those are just a few examples of several different exercises that may be progressed along with their regressed counterparts.