T Nation

Crazy for Not Taking a Break?


40 year old lifter here, back in the gym for about two years now, after 10 years or so away. Lifted from early teens to late 20s. Training has been going well for the past two years (some setbacks, mostly from wanting too much too soon and forgetting that I'm not 25 anymore), and it's great to be back.

But now my left arm is definitely out of commission for some time. Ruptured bicep, broken bone in wrist, a finger joint severely damaged.

Yet I can't keep out of the gym.

Leg presses (putting on all those 45s/20kgs with one hand on the 45 degree one...), reverse hypers, maybe leg curls if the mood strikes.

Machine pullovers, machine laterals, shrugs in the calf raise... you know, "other alternatives".

I do some curls and tri ext. with the right arm. I've even been doing OH press, rows and BP with one arm only. In some ways this seems like the logical course of action, but at the same time it just seems too obsessive...

I've about doubled my cardio, mostly for health, fat loss is basically a nice side effect.

I'm sure many of you have been in similar situations. What did you do? Realize that there's more to life and stay the hell out of the gym until you properly healed up? Take up bird watching?

Or did you just keep on doing what you could in the gym?

I'm good at workarounds, I've done it many times before, and I can get past this as well. I don't really WANT to stay away. Yet there's this 'voice' telling that this is madness, and that I need to back off for a while.

Am I making any sense?


If it's holding back your recovery then maybe a rest would be wise. If it's not causing problems and you're enjoying it, then I'd carry on.

I started back lifting 11 days after having my appendix out and bench pressed with my hand in a half plaster cast after having a plate put in. Probably not sensible, but it didn't do me any harm. Although I did open up the stitches in my hand. I definitely train around things, but I am addicted.

Good luck with what you choose.


Welcome, Carl. Sounds like you're obsessed, compulsive, frustrated, fixated, a classic OCD syndrome. In short, you'll fit in perfectly with the rest of us!


home sweet home


Thanks guys. Yeah, somehow I doubt I'll be able to keep away from the gym.


I seperated my left AC joint pretty badly a few years back and i did a ton of unilateral movements with my right arm during my recovery. as i got closer to 100% and started to use my left side more and more i felt like my left side was "catching up" surprisingly fast to the strength gains i made doing all that unilateral work with my right side. I think this helped speed up my recovery more than anything. I don't think itd be a bad idea to go hard on that right side for the time being.


taking a what?


Show me a lifter with no "obsession" (a trait formerly known as "drive" and "discipline," before we started assigning every human behavior some psychiatric name), and I'll show you a lifter who'll never approach his or her potential. Your desire to train around an injury is one of the things that's right about you, not something wrong with you. Laying around on the couch for weeks shortens your life - the time just comes out of the middle. Do what you love, train smart, and get well soon.


yeah, drive and discipline...

i read something somewhere (sorry, that is something i say a lot) about how people often make breakthroughs training around injury. it is a time where you can really focus on stuff you wouldn't normally focus on that will end up being really profitable in the longer run.

how is your squat? you could do air squats. not sure about what you could do with weighting them... can you hold your arms out in front of you like a zombie? you could balance the bar on your delts and train front squats. one armed deadlifts. hell... i always thought it would be kinda cool to be able to do this:


Increased blood floor aids healing. So being active won't work against you unless you're just doing too much or using your arm in ways that will impair healing. Doesn't sound like that to me. I believe that training is a healthy obsession.


~~~ drive discipline !



train til it hurts or ipairs recoevry

wait Farmer Brett just said that.

I think faster people train or move again the faster they heal
take that with a grain of salt be sensible

and welcome aboard


All of the above = what I need to hear. I don't think it will interfere with my recovery, most likely the opposite unless I do something careless/stupid.

Setting up stuff, hauling plates etc with basically one functional arm can be a drag, much more so than actually doing unilateral movements.

Thanks for the input. I'll work on what I can do, including unilateral work. I've done that before (although for shorter periods than I may be looking at here - we'll see), and agree that the injured side seems to catch up faster once you can start working it again.