T Nation

Program to Workout Around Injuries

Hey there, i’m a new member and long time reader looking for some advice and direction. After reading the two “must read for beginners” articles and meandering about the site my interest for starting a program is at a peak. Here is what I am working with:

Weight: 200 lbs
Height: 6’1
Body fat (from pinch test several months back): ~22-24%

I feel i fit the skinny-fat profile quite accurately :\

Physical obstacles: Compressed my spine a while back in a big bike wreck (have a movie of it on youtube if anyone is interested), injured right rotator cuff, had Osgood-Schlatter’s disease (knees still not great).

What I want: Advice on a beginners training program with which I may safely make gains while working around my injuries. I have a great desire to get in shape. I am not happy with my body as it is right now and am ready to make change. I also love being active although I cannot really participate in the sports I used to due to injury and commitment to school.

I have access to my university gym.

Any input will be greatly appreciated. Point me in the right direction!

You need to talk to a physical therapist.

Been through the physio thing. These injuries occured several years back. I can carry out moderate physical activity, I want to carefully strengthen these areas, not baby them or avoid training them :smiley:

Here is the vid of that crash btw, its fairly entertaining. Occurs at the end of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFl1C6lXcwI

So did the PT give you any advice? Your lower back is normally strengthened with deadlifts and back extensions or their variations. Did he say you can do these?

Until you have your back strong you should stay away from squats and olympic lifts.

Most beginner programs involve squats so it’s hard to make a recommendation.

If I were you, I would go to exrx.net and look for isolation exercises that work each part of the body. Once you are certain of what you can do without compromising your injuries, start looking at compound exercises that work larger areas of the body. Eventually you will be able to work up to the full body exercises that give you the biggest bang for your buck.

The trouble is that the back is the center of your body. Until you have that stable, you have to stay away from the big exercises.


I was told squats are ok but not to start very heavy and of course learn how to do them with great form. I was thinking it might be a good idea to focus on building my abs for a few months before I start with things involving my back anything close to my 1rm. that way i could spend a lot of time working on form and still get some benefit from the exercise. comments on that?

You need a solid core. Abs and lower back and also twisting movements. Start doing some light weight squats right away. Overhead squats starting with a broomstick help you learn the correct back position. Front squats are also helpful. Do those first and then back squats.

Don’t expect leg press to be back friendly because they’re not. While you are strengthening your core and learning to squat, work on deadlift variations for the hamstrings and lunge variations and step ups for the quads.

Awesome, thanks! While I realize the biggest thing for me right now is getting my diet on track and getting my ass into the gym, is there any specific program I should begin with?

According to NROL (New Rules of Lifting) the safest way to do a Leg Press is one legged, with one leg on the ground. Once you lose the arch you have gone too low.

Secondly, it states that it builds non functional strength. I realize that not everyones goal is applied strength but if I am going to spend the time then I want it.