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How to Adapt Training: Wrist and Elbow Injuries

When you feel the pain or discomfort, consult with your coach and a physiotherapist. While recovering, there is no excuse not to continue your with training – you can train your way around the injuries. The key is to know how to adapt the training.

Quitting is not an option, everyone knows that. Especially when there’s no need for it. But sometimes we do need a little rest, take a breath, recover and come back stronger.

After consulting a physiotherapist from our team CrossFit Runa, I decided to show some examples on how to adapt training and certain exercises while dealing with an injury.

This article was written to give you ideas on how to adapt your training when having pain or injury in the elbow/wrist area.

1. Toes to bar/knees to elbow without hand grip

Dynamic activation of core muscles, static activation of shoulders and latissimus dorsi. We try to stabilize/not use elbow and wrist.

Video: toes-to-bar with yellow bands

2. Clean, power clean, front squat

Dynamic activation of leg muscles and core/back, static activation of core and shoulder balance. We try not to include elbow and wrists – as less as possible. Grip and pull the bar with both hands, catch with one only. If not possible rather use other equipment like kettlebell.

3. One arm ring rows

Dynamic activation of trunk and arm muscles, static activation of abdominal muscles and lumbar area.

Put more focus on the core. The exercise is perfect for fitter and younger athletes for next two reasons: it needs high strength level to keep the balance and to avoid losing control and damage on the other arm.

4. Back squats and back lunges.

Dynamic activation of legs muscles, static activation of abdominals and shoulders. Again, we try not to include elbow and wrists.

5. Plank position and core training

Core muscle activation, static activation of spinal erectors, femoralis and shoulder stabilizers.

6. Handstand hold.

Activation muscles from shoulder girdle, deltoids and core.

7. Unilateral exercises: one side of the body

Thruster, snatch, snatch squat…with kettlebells.

I presented only a few examples on how you can scale an exercise to continue with you Crossfit training. Remember that adaptations are not always the best option for the athlete. Most often rest is the best option. Talk to your coach/physiotherapist how to treat and act upon the injury.

Notice that the best goal is to focus on technical movement, mobility, healthy and proper food habits and give priority to technique over weights. Leave your ego at the door.

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