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Lower Body Workout? Left Arm Nerve Injury, Can't Hold Weight Over 5lbs

Long-time lurker, equal-time admirer of everything T-Nation. I made sure to read the Wiki and won’t ask for advice around my injury/ pain. I’ll just get directly to the point, I recently had Long thoracic nerve decompression for a whiplash injury (we think) to the Brachial Plexus. I greatly miss lifting the upper body and living pain-free but keep my head up every day. I’m a ex collegiate athlete (ice hockey). Currently 5’10 146lbs.

I cannot hold or bear (no squat bar!) a weight beyond 5lbs in my left hand for at least six months. My current split has been about 5 days of:

3- HIIT (assault bike, no arms/ sprinting/ uphill sprinting) 2 - leg machines (slant press, leg press, glute activation) 7 - 15,000 steps-a-day, minimum.

Any suggestions of a program/ split/ resource I can use? THANK you so much.

For those interested my current diet is dairy & gluten free with a Macro split of 2215 calories consisting of 200grams of carbs, 83 grams of fat, 167 grams protein. Since the accident my testosterone has been quite low and I’m on 100mg of testosterone cypionate to combat that with the low libido that I’m experiencing (there’s a chance my whiplash accident really messed with my hormones, prior to this I had no issue with either libido or hormone levels).

In case anyone wants to nerd out on my injury and what’s going on (I’ve suffered now for 1.5 years of daily chronic shoulder blade burning pain that is worst from 12-7pm).

You might try belt squats.

I’m a year and some weeks beyond rotator cuff surgery on my right side, so I’ve dealt with the same thing.

Adding belt squats as someone suggested is a good move. Look online for how to rig. Lots of options there based on what your gym has available.

Before my surgery, I read an article touting one-armed workouts as a way to combat atrophy and stay active, and it was the only thing that kept me sane. Not only that, doc was amazed at muscle recovery rate. Read up on ‘cross education’ – the body’s ability to balance itself and maintain strength by training only one side.

I strapped my right arm down to eliminate its involuntary involvement and got after it with the same splits as before my surgery.

Do a little research and DO WHAT YOU CAN. Push those boundaries without jeopardizing your recovery and it’ll definitely increase your quality of life. I wasn’t gonna sit around and watch my muscles evaporate, and they didn’t because the human body is amazing.