OH SHIT! You've been sentenced to X number weeks in a boot for a fracture, break, sprain, etc. in your foot or ankle. You doc says no weight-bearing on either foot. Have no fear...we'll link up your "X" patterns and have you hunting gold-standard badassery in spite of your single-leg status. Here are 12 ways to get jacked while you're jacked up.
At FUEL, we focus on 4 main categories of movement: Pushing, pulling , hinging & squatting. Squatting and hinging are admittedly tough without using your feet & legs, so I'm replacing them with "core" and "anti-rotation" so that you can mix/match to get a well-rounded workout. Choose one movement from each category, bust out a few reps and let us know how it goes!
All injuries/bodies are unique! Be sure to run this by your doctor to see if it's ARRRRRRpropriate for your specific situation, and if you've never worked with kettlebells (or are rusty), find a coach to walk you through proper technique before trying this on your own.
PUSH / PRESS Movements
1. Keeling Press
This can be done with a kettlebell or dumbell. The feet rest on a foam roller and knees are padded with a yoga mat. In the racked position (bell down by the shoulder), keep the abs and glutes locked the ef down...and then lock them down even harder. Press overhead to a straight elbow. Go lighter than you're used to pressing, as it gets challenging without your base. This can be progressed to a bottoms up kettlebell, med ball, glass of wine during your Netflix marathon, etc.
2. Straddle Press
This one also can be done with dumbells or kettlebells. The most important thing about this position is a neutral spine. If the hammies are tight, sit up on something so that you can get REALLY tall. Press away!
Hello foam roller under the feet! Make sure that ass you complete your push-ups, the fulcrum of the movement is the knees, not the hips. You're going to want to bend at the hips, butt keep the body in one strong line. This will guarantee bootyful push-ups. See what I did there?!? USE YOUR GLUTES!
4. Kettlebell Plank Pull
This is one of my favorite ways to get in a horizontal pull when you're not able to do Aussie pull-ups or rows. Begin in your push-up stance with your feet on a foam roller and a kettlebell directly behind one wrist. Reach over with the opposite hand and pull the bell into a row before setting it on the ground. You're now set up for the other side. Resist any movement in the hips or back–keep your abs and glutes fireing to maintain a plank.
5. Hanging Knee/Leg Raise
Not being able to use your feet is a great excuse to get in some flight! It's time to work on your pull-ups or hanging skills! Notice I put a bar on the rack so that I didn't have to climb or jump to the tall bars (HINT: Always pull toward the rack). Keep your shoulders packed while you hang. Lift your knees into your chest. To progress, reach one or both legs straight out in front of you.
6. Kettlebell Leg Lift
When I started working with bells, this quickly became one of my go-to movements. Keep your low back pressed onto the floor HARD the whole time. That's way more important than how far down your legs go.
At the top, lift your feet straight up to the ceiling so that your tailbone lifts off the floor. Slowly lower the feet toward the floor and stop as soon as you feel the back move at all.
7. Supine Kettlebell Lower
This movement SAVED my press when I shouldn't find my abs (Thanks, Ridge!) It's a doozy for the front of the body!
This is a bit of a confusing one and the ONLY time I would ever instruct you to hold a bell like this. Hook it in the thumbs with the palms facing AWAY from you (otherwise you risk taking a bell to the teeth). Grab a spotter until you're super comfy with this one.
Lie on your back and press the low back down to the ground. Start with the arms straight up to the ceiling. Slowly lower the bell overhead while keeping the low back pushed down. If you feel even a tiny lift in the back, you've gone too far. Return to straight overhead and repeat.
8. N-Sit & L-Sit
Grab a pair of chairs, paralettes, etc. and lift your legs off the ground. This can be really challenging in a boot, as you have extra weight to deal with. Keep the chest open and lift one foot off the ground at a time.
If both feet up works for you, you can play with straightening a leg or two. Hold for several breaths.
9. Dragon Flag
In my search for a non-weight-bearing hip hinge, I was reminded of my favorite calisthenics movement...the dragon flag. I personally think time in a boot is a great reason to focus on learning something really badass that might not creep into your normal routine.
USE A SPOTTER! Spotters hold the bells steady and make sure you don't bump your noggin. You can also use poles and other implements, but I find this is easiest.
First, lie on your back–your head should be several inches away from the bells. Grip the bells like there's no tomorrow and squeeze your elbows together. Bring your knees into the chest, squeeze your heels to your ass, and lift your hips a few inches to a foot off the ground (note: this is NOT a shoulderstand...the goal is FORWARD, not UP). If that's feeling good, you can play with reaching a leg or both forward.
For help with this one, search for a Progressive Calisthenics coach in your area!
10. Bird Dog
Start on all 4s with the knees under the hips and wrists under shoulders. Use a foam roller under the feet. Lift the opposite hand and leg and hold for a breath or two. Keep the lower ribs lifted and press the heel straight back like you are donkey kicking the wall behind you. Bring your elbow and knee in to touch without changing the shape of your spine. Reach out again and then switch sides.
For some helpful tips on the bird dog and a few other movements, check out Anna's post about moving past back pain.
11. Baby Rock
It seems wimpy but after a few rounds, this little guy packs a mean punch. Start in the shape I'm in in the photo. Get as tall as possible from the floor up. Try your damnedest to punch the ceiling and bring your knees in close. Then super slow motion lower onto your back and come up to the other side.
12. Pallof Press
Grab a stretchy band and a doorknob, rack, friend, etc. The feet can rest on a foam roller (Yes, that one again!). The knees & shoulders are in line with the attachment point of the band. Hold the ends of the band at the chest with arms bent (you should feel just a little resistance here). Then, press the band straight out in front of you while maintaining a rigid core. Resist the urge to twist.
I hope your enjoy your workout! If you have any questions about training while injured, in person or from a distance, feel free to reach out! If your doc has any questions, they can call me too! - Tess