Squatting on a twisted ankle.
Wow! I’ve just had the world’s most hectic weekend. On Saturday a huge bunch of us from Dave’s Gym made our annual pilgrimage north too goggle at all things muscle related at the excellent Bodypower Show in Birmingham. Then on Sunday one of my sons was in a rugby tournament and as one of the coaches I spent the whole day running after hyperactive 7 year olds. It was at some point while hurtling across Barry RFC’s field of dreams that I turned my delicate ankles and went down like a felled rhino. This caused much hilarity amongst the unsympathetic demon-spawn who all pointed at the funny fat man with tears in his eyes.
All of which is going to make today’s leg session quite interesting.
Training with injuries is a knotty issue. Obviously you don’t want to aggravate or make the injury worse but doing nothing until it gets better is not an option. In most cases I believe that training around an injury is the best thing to do. A little bit of light movement and resistance through the affected area will increase the blood flow, which can help speed up healing and increase mobility.
However, and it’s a big however, you have to tread with caution. Don’t just charge ahead and do some heavy insane shit just because I implied it may help you. You need to learn to listen to your body and apply a little common sense.
Today was a squat day and I didn’t really fancy my normal heavy, explosive leg training as my ankle may have shattered into shards of bone fragment. Instead I thought I’d spend some time in training the worst part of my, and most peoples, squat – the reversal. The reversal is the point where you stop going down and start coming back up. There are all sorts of forces opperating on the body at that point of a squat. Eccentric becomes concentric, stretch becomes contract, working with gravity becomes battling against it. I thought that I would do pause squats as my main exercise, which would mash my legs but not stress my ankle too much.
To do pause squats you need to do is set up a squat rack with the safety bars in place. It doesn’t matter at what height you put the safety bars at, I think it’s worth changing the height every few sets. You then perform the squat in your usual manner but when the bar on your shoulders makes contact with the safety bars try to stay in that position for 3-5 seconds. Being “stuck” in the bottom position requires a lot of power to get out of and you need to be able to apply it very quickly. When I’m in the bottom position I allow my legs to relax but keep maximum tension going through the upper and lower back.
I did about 15 sets in total at various heights, reps and weights. The plan was to do some accessory work for the hamstrings afterwards but these pause squats completely finished me off, set my legs on fire and left me in a state of near collapse. Yay.