Max Strength and Core Routine with wrist injury | Uphill Athlete

Max Strength and Core Routine with wrist injury

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  • #5180

    Currently on Week 7 of the Max Strength phase and I have all the symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome. I’ve been advised by my doctor not to do any strength training involving my hands/wrists. This rules out much of my core routine (e.g. hanging leg raise, three point/two point, side-plank, strict sit-up holding weights, jackknife with ball, kayaker), all of my leg strength (squats, deadlifts and weighted box steps) routine and most of the upper body exercises I was doing in the rests between sets of leg strength exercises (pull-ups, incline pull-ups, dips, back extension with weights).

    I can continue to do aerobic work (running, hiking, stair climbs) and I’m doing so, but the question is how to maintain as much leg and core strength as is possible. Having worked so hard, I’d hate to throw it away.

    There are some exercises I can do that don’t involve my wrists, e.g. leg press. Am I right in thinking that it’s best to do these, even though they’re sub-optimal (i.e. machines rather than free weights)?

    No idea when my wrists will heal and what that will entail – currently on strong anti-inflammatory drugs and wearing wrist braces. I can only hope those help but the worst case scenario involves surgery.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #5211

    Training with an injury is always a challenge. Keep in mind the main tenet here: Fitness has to stand upon a base of health. Your focus must be on getting your wrists healthy. Training will be compromised but doesn’t have to cease. Hill sprints will be a good way to keep legs strength and probably have better transfer to mountain sports than machines in a gym. But you can mix in some strength machines like leg press for sure. You’ll have to be creative and understand that you have to compromise. You can’t go on the way you have or you won’t heal. Being able to run/hike etc will help you keep base fitness and just changing the strength routine to stuff you can do without your wrists is not a huge compromise. We regularly see much more impactful injuries that we can work around so I suspect your come out fine provided your wrists heal.

    Good luck,

    Mariner_9 on #5214

    Scott, thanks for your reply, much appreciated. Hill sprints are a good idea and I have access to fire escape stairs in a high-rise to do those.

    Colin Simon on #5216

    Why not do pistol squats, and focus on the wall-facing squats? For the core you can include the “hollow hold” progression which doesn’t use your wrists at all.

    Mariner_9 on #5223

    Colin, thanks for the suggestions.

    I used to do pistol squats with Bulgarian Bags. I could probably get away with doing these again as long as I’m careful with how I put the bag on my shoulders.

    re: wall squats – do you do these with a weight vest? I was using them to help warm up for normal squats as I have tight hips and I found they helped me a lot in loosening up my hips. Definitely open to doing them as a standalone exercise, I just need more resistance.

    I wasn’t aware of the ‘hollow hold’ so thanks for highlighting that.

    Mariner_9 on #6047

    Update: after having seen three physicians, one physio and two upper limb specialists, still no diagnosis. Neurological issues (carpal/cubital tunnel syndrome) were ruled out by the upper limb specialists. One physician suggested tenosynivitis; I have a referral to a physiatrist which should provide more info – but I have a long wait for the appointment, which is in early November.

    With some imagination, I managed to keep going with the max and core strength. I mostly switched to machines for leg strength* (leg press, leg raise, leg extension, adductor, abductor) which is far from ideal but does at least mean no use of the upper body for the training. For core, I’ve had to adapt the routine: I rest on my elbows rather than my hands for 3-point/2-point, ditto for the hanging leg raises (now hanging chair raises!), I don’t do the crossover for jackknife with ball, I added plank with weights and do 2 sets of 5 exercises rather than 1 set of each of 10 exercises.

    *unfortunately I don’t have access to Bulgarian Bags for doing wall squats with weights, and I have some inflammation in my (right) ankle, probably from too much running, which impedes pistol squats, at least for now.

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