COMMON MISTAKES IN GYM ASSISTED RECOVERY
There are ten common mistakes made when using a gymnasium to assist in post surgical rehabilitation from a tibial plateau fracture.
1) Not warming up properly before beginning exercises. When arriving at the gym a routine of stretching or walking on the X trainer or time on the bike should be undertaken to warm and stretch muscles and tendons. There is never a circumstance where you should go straight onto the machines such as less press, leg curls or leg extensions when cold.
2) Using weights that are too heavy. This can lead to sheer fractures and strains to tendons and ligaments
3) Doing too many repetitions. This can also lead to fatigue and injury
4) Using machines in the wrong way or doing exercises using poor posture. The latter can cause back problems in particular.
5) Simultaneously increasing the weight and the number of repetitions in a graduated exercise program. Repetition should be increased or weight increased but never should weight and repetitions be increased at the same time.
6) Doing multiples of the same exercises consecutively rather than rotating through a series of different exercises e.g. it’s better to do a couple of sets of leg press, then some leg curls, then extensions then come back for some more leg presses. This prevents excessive fatigue in the muscles and helps prevent injury. It also allows more exercise time and more repetitions as the muscles do not become exhausted so quickly
7) Favouring your good leg while doing exercises or machines. This is very common and I certainly did it in the early stages. For example when squatting I would marginally shift my hips to the left, putting more weight on my good leg when standing up. Ditto lunges and even on the bike. I had to consciously avoid peddling the bike with one leg only. This is understandable as your brain is trying to protect the site of the injury. Mustn’t do it though. All sorts of problems with hips and lower back will result.
8) Not doing exercises regularly enough. Erratic exercise is almost as bad as no exercise at all. As soon as regular exercise is halted, even for a short period of time, the muscle condition goes backwards and an injury is likely if, for example, a patient uses the same weight/repetition regime that they were using a month ago. If you have a long break you really have to go back and start again.
9) Avoiding pain. If yo are going to recover you will have to confront some pain. It’s inevitable. You have had a broken leg and surgery and to fully rehabilitate you will have to stress the muscles, tendons and ligaments. This hurts (take it from one who knows!) If you avoid certain machines or exercises, just because it hurts, then you will never get anywhere. The key is to do exercises until it hurts a bit (maybe 4/10). If it hurts a lot (say 7/10) you should stop immediately. This is where a good personal trainer is gold. They can guide you as to how much pain is valuable. Too much pain and you risk injury. Too little and you are wasting your time.
10) Staring at pretty girls in the gym. I do this all the time and it’s a significant impediment to recovery. Being distracted by pretty girls has all sorts of unfortunate consequences such as stumbling backwards off a walking machine, falling off the Jacobs ladder, dropping a kettle bell on your foot or toppling over backwards doing squats. In a worse case scenario, the police may be called, you may be ejected forcibly from the gym and told never to return. This will be a setback to your rehabilitation and severely dent your pride. Moreover, it will make you sad when you go home on Saturday night after a gym session and spend it by yourself watching Rugby League. You are in the gym to exercise and rehabilitate. Don’t look at the pretty girls. Concentrate.