T Nation

Training the Injured

So a buddy of mine asked me to develop a training program for him. BUT he’s got YEARS of injuries to him.

-mid 40s (early 50s?)
-Very overweight
-Years of athletic training and weight training…great base
-Horrible knees (no bending)
-Bad lower back (no bending that way)
-Bad right elbow (doesn’t want to bend more than 90 degrees)
-Knows his body well (will tell me if something doesn’t work or will hurt later)

Soooo, I’m looking for workouts and/or exercises.

This week, he did

2x15 about 60sec rest (timed)

1a “half” bench (low weights)
1b 1arm DB rows

2a Front and lat raise
2b crunches

3a incline db curl
3b tri pushbacks (or whatever they are called, he said he couldn’t do anything else)

4a Shrugs
4b pullovers

We ended with pushups (he went halfway down…used a box for distance so he didn’t go to far. and chest-supported (incline bench) rows. He did 20 reps pushups, 20reps rows, no rest until he got 100 reps on both. I was trying for a “cardio/fat booster” thing

Sooo, basically I’m typing to get ideas for what we could do. I’m especially worried about getting the heartrate going and doing anything for “strenght” with all his injuries (maybe only low weights). Now it’s not so bad cuz he’s so out of shape, but I can tell that won’t last.

Any ideas for exercises? Any upper-body cardio training? Thanks in advance for all the help.

I think you’re going in the right direction with high reps/low weights. I hate typing this, but you might outta look at doing some machine stuff. other thing is to push the ROM of all the “bad” joints with really light weight and he might feel a little better over time. If you have access to a pool, water running would be great. Hot tub and ice baths might be something to consider too.

I’d suggest a lot of dumbells for upper body with high-15 to 20 reps- to get back into it.DBs find there own groove and enable more pain free muscle stimulation. If he goes slow he’ll be surprised how much better his joints will feel in 3 to 6 months. DB bench or inclines, overhead DB press, any of these with palms facing each other will be ok. Pulldowns with a shovel handle i.e. palms facing each other should also be possible. Give squats a try as well using high reps and proper shins perpendicular to the floor form and they are possible too. If he checks his ego and is patient he’ll do fine.

Thanks guys. DO you have any ideas for “fat burners?”

He’s REALLY hesitant about anything to do with the lower body. Right now, I’m just going to focus on flexibility. As the weeks go on, I might ask him to try bw squats and see how they feel. I’m not a PT or anything, so if the guy tells me “I can’t” I’m just going to listen and work around it. I think a bit of weight loss might help with the knees.

GREAT tip on palms facing each other. I hadn’t thought of that.

Thanks again.

I’m going to try to think through this next workout “outloud” on this forum. Let me know what you think.

He told me to “Make me puke” on this next workout. So I think complexes are about what he’s thinking about. I’ll probably have a rest between them, cuz he’s really out of shape.

DB complex “A”

  1. Bench (limited ROM) x15
  2. BO 1-arm rows x15
  3. Shrugs x30
  4. Lat raises x10
  5. Db Curl (l. ROM) x10
  6. DB tri-kickback x10 (will lower weight if necessary…worried about elbow)

I’ll try to do 3 sets with 60 sec between. If he’s looking strong, I’ll take the rest out…if weak, I’ll bump it to 90 seconds.

DB complex “B” (easier)

  1. DB flies x15
  2. Crunches x30
  3. Pullovers x15
  4. Hammer curls x15
  5. Leg-lifts x30
  6. Supermans (lower back) x45 seconds

I doubt there will be anything left in his tank, but if there is we’ll end with 5 min hitting the bag (light/aerobic).

Please let me know if you see anything glaring that I’m missing OR if there is anything that could be improved. If this works, it’ll probably become a “core” workout for awhile.

Thanks again.