T Nation

Fat Loss Without Lifting


First off, I want to lift. Badly. I cannot due to torn cartilage in my wrist from back in June. I am going to yet another doctor on Tuesday, where I will probably get an mri, though im fairly sure its a tfcc tear, how severe i don't know. Thats beside the point though.

What I want to do since i know i will be out of lifting for a while (even though i've been out for the most part except for legs since June) is be productive. I am not lean, but im not fat (estimate around 18% bf, im 6 ft 2, 200 lbs now). I want to become lean while i cannot lift so that when i come back to lifting, I will be fairly lean though weak as hell. Yeah i know i'll be pretty thin, but i'd rather be thin then skinny fat.

I don't know what to do though since I can't lift. Like how many times a week would be a good time to do cardio? Normally I would just lift, do maybe 2-3 days of cardio and let my eating take care of me. Without lifting though i don't know what a good plan of action would be. I plan on still lifting legs once every 4 or 5 days, then i honestly don't know about cardio. Just go running for 20 or so minutes 3-4 times a week? Advice?

Tore wrist cartilage, can't lift upper body/hold weights
Want to lose fat while unable to lift
Want advice for how to lose weight without lifting
Want advice for if this is even a good idea to lose weight without lifting


Go on a diet and run 4 or 5 days a week. Work up to 4 or 5 miles at a clip. You'll drop weight/fat quickly. When you come back to lifting, drop or dramaticaly reduce the cardio. Muscle will come back quickly.


You have legs, still, right? Sounds like a great time to bring up your lagging legs with a specialization routine for a couple months.

You have access to a lateral raise machine?

Pec Dec?


Sure, maybe it's not heavy weights you can grip, but it's still resistance.

There's no excuse not to lift something having just 1 bad wrist.


Biceps - If you have a preacher curl machine you can shorten the handle and place the bar across your forearm (instead of gripping with your wrist) - if you're 6'2" you should have long enough limbs

Lats - Do that pulldown CT used with Alex - hook up two abs straps at the pulldown station (removing the bar) and hook the straps under your elbows, and pull down. Some pullover machines would work too (no grip required)

Legs/abs are easy


I agree with steely.

You should do what makes you happy.

But...I did what you are going to do now aged 17, after i fucked up my shoulder soon after training for the first time. I wouldn't recommend it.

If I were in your shoes (I know i'm not, but..) I would prioritise back squats/leg press/ whatever you can do for legs. You could get very strong at that with a few months of lifting several times per week.
Ab training is also a must.

Actually, i'll start a list of what you COULD do:
Back Squats, leg press, ab crunches, reverse crunches, hanging leg raises, good mornings, zercher squats,

Potentially also you could fasten cables to your forearms, and do all sort of tricep pressdown/bicep curl/pec flye/reverse flye stuff.

Is the injured wrist your dominant/stronger arm? If so, you could increase symmetry by: 1 arm db press, 1 arm db curl, 1 arm tricep work (pullovers, pressdowns) lateral raises etc: all for the uninjured side. I remember reading that your untrained side received some strength gains due to training the uninjured side (this is neurally-based) though not done that myself so it's just theory.

Tensing muscles (aka posing) would be a good idea to create strong mind-muscle links (vital) for when you later return to training)

You could also sprint (recommend intermittent sprinting over lond steady state cardio if you have to take time off training).

Hope this helps you out


I had a SLAP lesion on my shoulder and had open surgery that put me out for a good 2 months (and even then I couldn't return to normal lifting I had to use the pink DBs).

What I did was blast my legs, usually 3 days a week. They exploded (granted they were pretty weak). Also, I did SS cardio almost every day, and worked up to 45 min/day probably 5 - 6 days/week. I also did the lower back machine... forget what it's called.

HAD my dominant shoulder been injured, you better bet you fucking titties I would have blasted my non-dominant arm in every upper body exercise. Problem is, it was my non-dominant arm and I didn't want that arm to get even weaker compared to my other arm.

When I finally got back in the gym, my legs were super strong, I was pretty lean (~9 - 10%) albeit very twiggish in my upper body. When I started back in the gym I literally added 10 lbs/session to all of my upper body movements. Shit, it sure is fun seeing changes on a day to day basis.

So just keep this in mind: if it's your dominant arm that is injured, continue to work out your weak side. Ya, you might look like a freak, but in the end your strength will be a lot more even (this is all assuming that you have one side that is stronger than the other, like I did for a very long time - still do a little).

Good luck!


Second half of the video there are several exercises you could do without using your wrists.

You can still lift, just your upper body work will have to be well planned and you will have to do unusual exercises, lower body you can still hit hard and heavy.

Other than that just diet and cardio like any normal person trying to get lean would. No one is going to sit here and write out everything you have to do, read some articles, some books and figure it out.


This video makes me feel like a complete sissy for every workout I've ever missed.


Thanks for the replies. I don't know that i am interested in doing only left arm lifting, since right now my left arm is stronger then my right (due to having this injury for 5 months already, it is my right/dominant hand that has this tear. sure messes with my head having my strong arm become my left arm) from doing some left arm only lifting for a while.

I know that i should still lift lower body and definitely plan on it. I will have to think for a minute about how to set up a routine now using only machines and lifts that allow for lifting without my wrist, but yeah it can be done though i doubt I can find enough exercises to warrant 6 days a week in the gym still. I still plan on using this time to lower my bf%, just because it seems like a good time since i can't do many of the staple lifts i use.


sprints: 40yds to 400m


Hey man I know we have all said a load of information and know you may be like 'shit... where do I start?'

However, the most important thing is you make a plan, with the end goal in mind (ie the date docs say you should be able to reintegrate your currently-injured wrist into load-bearing). Do this soon, and then be done with it.

Then stick to the goal, no changes and messing around during. I say this because you are probably a bit confused/frustrated with the injury, so you shouldn't second guess yourself at this time.

So I would suggest looking up some squat specialisation stuff etc, plan what you do (include planned progression in there) then focus on doing. Because I know when I got injured and followed docs advice to 'rest, don't lift' I just didn't lift for close to a year and that was shit. I was thinking 'all or nothing' (I was an idiot, still am). It's far more empowering to become an expert at whatever you CAN do. That guy whose arm stops below the humerus is getting into the gym and getting it done, we should all be grateful for our capabilities.

Good luck and have fun


Oh yes and mustr be said that while you can lose fat with running, lifting weights will make your body keep muscle while you cut








His legs blow mine away. I feel worthless now.