Viewing entries tagged
injury prevention

HOW TO TRAIN WHEN YOU HAVE AN UPPER BACK INJURY FOR THE CROSSFIT, F45 AND HIIT ATHLETE

If you are a cross fitter, f45…er, boxer or just love that type of high intensity training and you have an injury then this post is for you.

At align we know that getting back to exercise is likely your number 1 priority!

Please watch our video or read the transcript below the video to get our tips on getting you back on track as soon as possible and learn how to maintain your gains despite injury.

As we said in our last posts on back pain and neck pain, taking time out of training is boring and can seriously impact on the gains that you have made.

When you have put the time and effort into your training to a level where you are really enjoying your high intensity exercise, taking time out for recovery can be tedious but can also hold you up on your way to achieving your goals.

The reality is, the better you allow your body to heal, the quicker you can be back to 100% and the less likely you are to have recurring injury, and the rehab is going to take some effort on your part, so what CAN you do to get back into it at full speed?

The first thing to work on is recognising that just like gains you have made, THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS in healing your injury.

It is important to know what you CAN do to stay moving and enjoy your HIIT training without setting yourself back.

In the video below, Martin outlines some of our possible recommendations for managing upper back injury while still keeping up your training.

As always, if you have any concerns, upper back issues, be they old or new, or just want to get the most out of your training, we are here for you so don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Hi, I'm Martin here from Align Chiropractic and today's video what I’m going to talk about is a really common thing that we see in our practice which is: people who love doing high-intensity exercise. 

We're talking people who do CrossFit, people who do f45, and all the other versions of HIIT like boxing those type of things where the whole idea of it, is that it's something that people love doing and they want to do it regularly and obviously, it's something that you're doing at a high level of intensity so does create some pretty specific demands on your body.

Sometimes people have an injury and then they've got this sort of challenge where, they want to keep training, they don’t want to lose the gains in fitness that they've created but they’re also managing an injury and our experience is that there's a lot of things you can do where you can keep getting a lot of that metabolic effect, you can keep losing weight, can keep your cardiovascular fitness and you can keep a lot of your muscle mass by keeping training while you're having the injury addressed through chiropractic care. 

So one of the areas that we commonly see are people who have an injury in the upper back, so it might be that the vertebrae are jammed up there, which is a really common thing we see, can be a problem with the way rib is joined onto the vertebrae, can be a problem with the muscles in the area, there's a bunch of different things, a bunch of different types of injuries that you could have there but the common thing is that it makes a lot of high intensity movements uncomfortable and can actually be exacerbating the injury by doing certain movements. 

So there are things that we suggest you don't do to manage these injuries. Firstly you’re not doing things where it's really high highly dynamic, so burpees can be really uncomfortable, box jumps can be really uncomfortable, anything with jarring can be uncomfortable as well as things where you’re demanding a lot of range of motion from your upper back that you don't necessarily have. 

Within a CrossFit context, kipping pull-ups, within F45, battle ropes and those sort of things where there's a lot of movements for in that area that isn't moving properly it can create a demand that your body's not able to correct. 

The sequence that we look at is that early on if you've got an injury and we're actively trying to get things back on track we’re going to get a shift focus to doing a lot of the lower body exercise because you can work your lower body without having that impact on your upper body. 

For most people, air squats are completely comfortable and lunges are really good and that’s because of that single leg aspect to it it's a really good opportunity to develop that sort of balance and stability in your lower body when you're taking the load off your upper body. 


As far as not losing all your upper body strength, often what most people notice is while overhead stuff, pushing overhead and pulling overhead can be really uncomfortable, often reducing the load and going horizontally so we’re talking things like really slow controlled push-ups or a dumbbell press chest press or even a barbell chest press can be okay as long as you’re super conscious of your posture. 

We’re making sure that a head is staying over our shoulder because often the reason that people end up with these mid-back injuries is that it's not from the exercise it's from too long spending time at the computer in this crappy posture. 

Therefore, if you're wanting to maintain some upper body stuff we're going to do some horizontal pushing and we might do some horizontal pulling as well. 

In doing those actions, we’re going to work on pulling our shoulder blades back by doing actions like a ring row, where you’re lying down when you're pulling back towards yourself or you doing them with a machine, some sort of rowing exercise. So rowing is good and also push-ups can be good.  

The next level up from there let's say we've got some improvement but things aren’t 100% in terms of function and we're not out of the woods yet but once we've got some improvement and movement in that area, and we're starting to change in overall posture, we can start reintroducing some things. 

So what we might do in the early phase, while we've taken out jarring activities like box jumps out, we might get back into doing a step up or we might go back to doing some pull-ups.

Pull ups are where we are going overhead and doing a pulling movement, but rather than doing a more dynamic movement, like kipping pull-ups, we will make it a little less dynamic and only do strict pull-ups - even if that means that we are applying a band.

Another option that we could look at is some overhead pressing movement with a dumbbell but we're not going to have the dynamic ones where we're using momentum and that faster cadence that we might normally use in high intensity training. So we are just going to slow things down focus on very slow movements that are a little bit easier to stabilise through that area. 

The bottom line with this video is that - yes you love your training and yes it's inconvenient to have an injury but for most people they can maintain the momentum, they can maintain their gain, if they just tweak a little bit what they do, shift focus to the lower body, shift focus to slow controlled movements, cut out the overhead work initially and keep going when you training when you’re managing an injury. 

I hope you found the video interesting leave a comment if you've found it valuable, and we hope to catch you soon.


How to train when you have a low back injury for the Crossfit, F45 and HIIT athlete.

For all you CrossFitters, F45 junkies and HIIT people, we hear you: injuries are boring and no matter what, you need to be back training like…yesterday.

Taking time out of training is boring normally, but when you have become used to (read as “addicted to”) getting the most out of your body, training with intensity and seeing the huge improvements in your health and performance that style of training brings, injuries take on an altogether more frustrating element.

The reality is, the better you allow your body to heal, the quicker you can be back to 100% and the less likely you are to have recurring injury, and the rehab is going to take some effort on your part…but surely as a HIIT training person, you aren’t afraid of a little hard work are you?

The first thing to work on is recognising that just like gains in training, THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS.

Sadly we cannot immediately heal injuries without letting your tissues repair themselves, but you CAN work smarter to reinforce healing, strengthen what you can strengthen, and make sure that you’re healing things properly to minimise risk of recurrence.

In the video below, Martin outlines some of our possible recommendations for managing back pain while still keeping up your training.

For those of you who miss the old school romance of reading, the video is transcribed below!

As always, if you have any concerns, low back issues (old or new) or just want to get the most out of your training, we are here for you so don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Hi, Martin here from Align Chiropractic and in today's video what I wanted to talk about is a question that we really commonly get asked in our practice from people who are involved in high intensity training. 

So commonly people who do CrossFit, people who do f45, people who are at the gym they're doing resistance training but they're ramping up the number of repetitions, a lot of research shows that it's a great way of getting fit, and it's something that people really love and enjoy doing. 

So what we're really about in terms of taking care of people who into those types of training, is giving them what they really value, which is that they want to keep training, even if they happen to get an injury. 

A really common situation that we have with these people is they’ve come to see us because they’ve got a lower back injury, they're getting some low back pain and they want to know;

“what can I keep doing because I don't want to stop everything, and in particular, what can I do that is lower body oriented?"

“Obviously there's lots of things that I can do in my upper body but I still don't want to lose everything that I gained in terms of strength and conditioning through my legs hips etc” 

The clinical process that we work on with people is we use the acronym ‘M.A.B.S’ in terms of what we prioritise. 

That is, we want to make sure we get proper Movement back into joints before we are concerned about Alignment, as you can’t really change alignment until you have proper movement. 

Again before we deal with Balance, we need to have proper

movement and alignment and before we can even really think about Stability, we need to address those other issues. 

So while a lot of people want to talk about stability as something that they want to have, the key to effectively building stability is actually to prioritise movement first. 

Same thing in terms of exercising your lower body. 

When you've got a lower back that's painful that's not working well and the joints aren't moving the way they should, we want to reduce particular movements.

The number one moment that we get people to reduce when they having issues and they do any form of training is lower back flexion. 

Flexion is when you are tipping forward, like would happen if you are doing a deadlift, you were doing a kettlebell swing, you were doing any sort of squat variation, they involve some form of low back flexion, so we want to reduce that or take that out altogether. 

So, when you’re talking to your trainer, the type of exercises that we suggest that you DO do, that you CAN include for most people who are having low back issues are lunge variations. 

Your trainer will have a bunch of different ones; front lunges, rear lunges, weighted lunges, front rack lunges, there's endless variations there.

Also, step ups, where you're stepping up onto a plyometric box, so they're the

two that allow you to have a really good workout, both get your heart rate up as well as improve your strength, but in a way that keeps your lower back nice and neutral and not introduce that low back flexion. 

So, then when people get further down the process of recovery from an injury, that's where we start to reintroduce some flexion movements, but again we're going to prioritise movement before we start adding load. 

We’re going to start people back doing something like an air squat, before they’re going to start doing a heavy back squat.

And certainly, probably the last exercise that we tend to add back in for people who have lower back issues are deadlifts, when you're picking things up off the ground, because that's the movement we have the most low back flexion.  

I hope this tip has been useful, if you're having troubles with your back but you want to keep training, make sure to give us a call and we'll be able to help you hit your goals both in training as well as get back on track doing the things that you love to do.