A Cliff Notes Guide to Training Around Injury & Pregnancy

The following is a brief list of our recommendations to training around injury. These do not constitute professional medical advice, rather our experience with the human body and seeing what’s worked well for folks in the past.

Here is a guide to what the different “lights” mean.

  • Green Light – Most folks have no issue performing them.
  • Yellow Light – Some folks do not have issues, some do. It depends on the exactness of the injury and the phase of recovery. These will be trial and error. If something feels off in this category, immediately move on and try another option. 
  • Red Light – Most folks will worsen their injury by performing these. 

When Can I Return to the Gym After an Injury?
An athlete should only return to the gym after an initial healing phase where you can move relatively pain free in your daily life. If you hurt in your daily life, such as a limp, the ideal option is rest and recovery until the initial repair has occurred.

Is It Okay to Train Around An Injury?
In most cases, absolutely. There are many forms of movement we can modify for you to keep you productive and attending the gym. The only exception would be if you are in physical pain during the day from your injury. In this case, rest and recovery until healed and pain is subsided.

How Do I Know if a Suggested Movement Isn’t Right?
If it hurts, stop and alert your coach and we prescribe something else.

What If I Have a Chronic Injury?
So long as you are medically cleared to exercise, we can ultimately create movement and substitutions that work for you. It may take some trial and some error, and some patience on your end, but it is very doable.

Plantar Fasciitis

We want to avoid anything that creates plantar flexion, which is coming up on the toes and elevating the heel. This mainly includes running, jumping, lunging and when our legs are moving in high plank position. Athletes perform better on stable surface with their feet completely grounded.

Typically Avoid:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Lunging
  • High Plank Position with the feet moving

Typically Safe:

  • Everything else

Green Light:

  • Most Things

Yellow Light:

  • Light Lunging
  • Box Jumps
  • Broad Jumps
  • Squat Jumps
  • Lunge Jumps

Red Light:

  • Running
  • Lunging
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Plank Knees
  • Renegade Rows
  • Ab Movements in High Plank position where the athlete’s feet are “pumping” and landing. 

Common Modifications:

Running 

  1.  Rowing

Jumping → 

  1. Very Light Jumping – i.e. low impact squat jump
  2. MB Slams – this will still provide a power output
  3. Grounded Variation of the Movement – i.e. sub squats for squat jumps

Lunges → 

  1. Light, BW Lunges
  2. Squats, KB Swings, Deadlift – athlete preference based on goal and cycle of the week.

Mountain Climbers, etc. → 

  1. Flutter Kicks
  2. Any Supine Ab Movement  – with back on the floor.

Renegade Rows → 

  1. Barbell Rows, Lawnmower Rows, Ring Rows – athletes may mix up the variety of rowing substitutions.

Knee/Quad

Knees are tricky as injuries are different and require some trial and error. For some athletes, single leg training will be extremely detrimental. For others, it will not. A good rule of thumb is to avoid lunging, squatting, running, and jumping.

 

Typically Avoid:

  • Squatting
  • Lunging
  • Jumping

Typically Safe:

  • Hinging

Green Light:

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Deadlifts and RDLs
  • Bent Over Barbell Row

Yellow Light:

  • Light Body Weight Step-Ups
  • Light Back and Front Squats
  • Running

Red Light:

  • Lunging
  • Jumping
  • Explosive Overhead Lifting

Common Modifications:

Squats & Heavy Lunges 

  1. Light Squats – Goblet or Back Squat
  2. Deadlifts – start light
  3. RKB Swings
  4. RDL

DB Lunges 

  1. RKB Swings
  2. RDL

Jumping → 

  1. Grounded Variation of the Movement – i.e. sub squats for squat jumps

Split Jerks → 

  1. Push Jerks
  2. Strict Press

Snatches → 

  1. Catch in Power Position
  2. DB Muscle Snatch – they are lighter, more upper body oriented.

Hamstring

We want to avoid movements that focus on hp flexion (bending at the hips), but also, movements with knee flexion may be detrimental. This is a case-by-case basis. For hamstring injuries, the prescription will likely be a lot of upper body and core work.

Typically Avoid:

  • Hinging
  • Squatting
  • Jumping
  • Running
  • Explosive Movement

Green Light:

  • Upper Body Movement

Yellow Light:

  • Light Squats
  • Rowing
  • Running

Red Light:

  • Deadlifts
  • Heavy Squats
  • Bent Over Barbell Rows
  • KB Swings
  • Olympic Lifts
  • Running
  • Jumping

Common Modifications:

Deadlifts → 

  1. May attempt light Squat – Late in the healing phase, some light squats are usually okay.
  2. Bench Supported DB Row
  3. Pull-Ups
  4. Strict Overhead Press

Olympic Lift → 

  1. Strict Upper Body Movement – Strict Press
  2. Muscle Clean and Snatch – This depends on the stage of healing.

Running → 

  1. Rowing 
  2. Ab Movement

Groin

The groin is a tricky muscle to heal, and like the hamstring, is a bit of a case-by-case basis. There are a lot of surprising movements that stress the groin when it is required to contact and stabilize, like a renegade row.

Typically Avoid:

  • Lateral Movement
  • Heavy Squatting
  • Heavy Hinging
  • Jumping
  • Explosive Movement
  • Plank Position

Typically Safe:

  • Light Hinging

Green Light:

  • Strict Upper Body Movement
  • Loaded Holds
  • Ring Dips
  • Pull-Ups

Yellow Light:

  • Light RDLs
  • Light Squatting
  • Light Lunging
  • Push-Ups
  • Muscle Cleans & Snatches

Red Light:

  • Running
  • Lateral Lunging and Lateral Movement – aka Plyo Skaters
  • In Unilateral Movement in High Plank (bc the groin acts as a stabilizer, and will be irritated and worsened) – aka Renegade Rows, Mountain Climbers, etc. 
  • Planks
  • Olympic Lifts
  • Explosive Movements – ie Med Ball Slams
  • Jumping
  • Sumo Position 
  • Flutter Kicks

Common Modifications:

Running → 

  1. Rowing

Jumping → 

  1. Grounded Variation of the Movement – i.e. sub slow BW squats for squat jumps

Lateral Lunges and Movements → 

  1. Light forward version of the movement
  2. RDL

High Plank & Ab Movements → ie. Renegade Rows, Mountain Climbers, etc. 

  1. Lawnmower Rows
  2. Ring Rows
  3. Loaded Holds
  4. Sit-Ups

Olympic Lifts → 

  1. Strict Upper Body Movement – Strict Press
  2. Muscle Clean and Snatch – This depends on the stage of healing.

Squat → 

  1. Possible light Goblet Squatting
  2. RDLs 
  3. Sub Completely for Upper Body Strict Movement

Push-Ups → 

  1. Strict DB Press

Low Back

We want to avoid hinging and loading the spine, movements that create a jarring impact, and any powerful movements where the lower back is involved. We want to get athletes into a position of back support as best we can, and keep their lower backs from flexing and extending (neutral).

Typically Avoid:

  • Hinge Pattern – Anything that keeps us in a position where we are bent over and holding it.
  • Squat Pattern
  • Heavy Overhead
  • Erg Rowing
  • Plyometrics

Typically Safe:

  • Lunge Pattern
  • Supported or Bodyweight Rowing and Pressing

Green Light:

  • Bodyweight Lunges
  • Ring Rows
  • Kneeling Push-Ups

Yellow Light:

  • Bodyweight Step-Ups
  • DB Lunges
  • Front Squats
  • Kneeling Planks
  • Push-Ups & Pull-Ups
  • Bench Press (elevate the feet on a bench)
  • Kettlebell Swings (if the athlete is highly skilled) – This agitates some athletes, others can execute with no issue. 
  • Light Overhead Pressing
  • Light DB Rows w/ Hand Supported on Bench

Red Light:

  • Powerlifting
  • Weightlifting
  • Explosive Jumping
  • Sit-Ups, V-Ups and Ab Movements based on Hip Flexion
  • Bent Over Barbell Rows
  • Erg Rowing

Common Modifications:

Deadlifts & Back Squats → 

  1. BW Lunges – start with body weight and increase accordingly.
  2. DB Lunges 
  3. BW Step-Ups
  4. DB Step-Ups

Overhead Pressing → 

  1. Push-Ups
  2. DB Floor Press
  3. DB Strict Press
  4. Bench Press – ground the feet on the bench

Barbell Rows → 

  1. Ring Rows
  2. DB Rows w/ Support – placing a hand and knee on the bench
  3. Pull-Ups / Chin-Ups – try to perform in hollow position as bending the knees can create low back discomfort.

Cleans → 

  1. DB Curl & Press
  2. Ring Rows
  3. Renegade Rows
  4. Light Muscle Cleans

Rowing on the Erg 

  1. Running

Plyometrics → 

  1. Banded Moster Walks
  2. Light Squat Jumps
  3. Body Weight Squats 

Ab Movements 

  1. Dead Bugs
  2. Reverse Crunches
  3. Kneeling Plank
  4. Plank & Side Planks
  5. Renegade Rows

Back Loaded → ie. Back Squat, Back Loaded Lunges

  1. Front Rack Loaded

Some thoughts for athletes with chronic low back injuries like disc herniation:

  • Very closely and conservatively follow the modifications above. Once pain subsides and movement improves, athletes will likely be able to tolerate:
  • Front squats due to the upright nature of the movement.
  • Relatively heavy lunging.
  • Jumping normally.
  • All major lifts in the range of 75% or below.

Shoulder

The theme of shoulder injuries will be subbing pressing for pulling, in the form of rowing. Rowing is not a movement pattern we can typically over perform. The athlete should not perform any overhead work whatsoever, including pull-ups.

Typically Avoid:

  • Overhead Pressing & Pulling
  • Pressing

Typically Safe:

  • Row Movements
  • Holds & Carries

Green Light:

  • Light Holds & Carries
  • Light Deadlifts
  • Light Rows of All Kinds (except Renegade Rows)
  • Ring Rows
  • RKB Swings

Yellow Light:

  • Going heavier in all Green Light movements.

Red Light:

  • Renegade Rows – The press into the floor with opposite shoulder can be painful.
  • Ring Dips
  • Jerks
  • Snatches
  • Overhead Pressing
  • Push-Ups
  • Pull-Ups
  • Bench Press
  • Overhead KB Swings
  • MB Slams

Common Modifications:

Renegade Rows 

  1. Ring Rows
  2. Lawnmower Rows
  3. DB Rows on Bench 
  4. Bent Over Barbell Rows 
  5. RKB Swings

Overhead Pressing → 

  1. Loaded Holds and Carries
  2. Ring Rows
  3. Lawnmower Rows
  4. DB Rows on Bench 
  5. Bent Over Barbell Rows 
  6. RKB Swings

Ring Dips → 

  1. Ring Rows
  2. Loaded Holds and Carries

Olympic Lifts 

  1. Loaded Holds and Carries
  2. Ring Rows
  3. Lawnmower Rows
  4. DB Rows on Bench 
  5. Bent Over Barbell Rows 
  6. Heavy RKB Swings – a good sub for strength tiers

Push-Ups → 

  1. Standing Tricep Kickbacks
  2. Ring Rows

Pull-Ups 

  1. Supine Rows
  2. Ring Rows

Bench Press 

  1. Loaded Holds and Carries
  2. Ring Rows
  3. Lawnmower Rows
  4. DB Rows on Bench 
  5. Bent Over Barbell Rows 
  6. Heavy RKB Swings – a good sub for strength tiers

OH KB Swings → 

  1. RKB Swings

MB Slams → 

  1. Squat Jump Holding MB
  2. Box Jumps
  3. Any Plyometric Jump

Elbow

We want to avoid most things that flex and extend the elbow. Raises at the shoulder are typically okay. In most cases, the elbow requires rest.

Typically Avoid:

  • Pressing
  • Pulling
  • Rowing
  • Most Upper Body Movement

Typically Safe:

  • Straight Arm Raises
  • Swings
  • Most Any Lower Body Movement

Green Light:

  • Front and Side Raises
  • KB Swings
  • Goblet Squats – a good sub for upper body since the arms get work isometrically. 
  • Loaded Holds & Carries

Yellow Light:

  • Snatches
  • Pull-Ups
  • Push-Ups
  • DB Press
  • DB Row & Renegade Row
  • Ring Rows
  • Bent Over Barbell Row
  • MB Slams

Red Light:

  • Heavy Pressing and Pulling

Common Modifications:

Anything from the Green Light Section for any movement that cannot be performed.

Wrist

We want to avoid movements where the wrist is extended (the opposite of flexing your forearm). This will typically mean everything in high plank position, and any type of barbell Olympic lifts.

Typically Avoid:

  • High Plank
  • Front Rack

Typically Safe:

  • DB Movements

Green Light:

Typically, if we can put the wrist neutral by grabbing dumbbells, we are okay. This includes:

  • Push-Ups holding DBs
  • DB Pressing
  • DB Snatching
  • Ring Dips
  • Pull-Ups
  • All Standing DB Row variations
  • Barbell Rows

Yellow Light:

  • Going heavy in the Green Light Movements
  • Renegade Rows

Red Light:

  • Front Rack
  • Cleans
  • Snatches
  • Jerks & Overhead Barbell Pressing
  • Push-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Anything in High Plank if the athlete isn’t grabbing onto dumbbells.

Common Modifications:

  • Olympic Lifts → Strict DB version of the lift
  • Push-Ups → Holding DBs to keep wrist neutral, DB Strict Press, Ring Dips
  • Renegade Rows → Ring Rows, Lawnmower Rows, Barbell Rows
  • Burpees → Squat Jumps
  • Front Squats → Cross-arm grip

Pregnancy

Please refer to the article written by pregnant women who have trained at our gym. The ideal training will largely depend on the trimester. As women grow during their pregnancy, they will be less and less able to perform any movements on their back. We also want to remove all jumping, plyometrics and heavy overhead lifts. Aside from that, pregnant women can train just as non-pregnant women.

We want to avoid movements where the wrist is extended (the opposite of flexing your forearm). This will typically mean everything in high plank position, and any type of barbell Olympic lifts.

Typically Avoid:

  • Jumping
  • Barbell Lifting Beyond 75%
  • From 2nd Trimester On – Anything that places pregnant athletes on their back.

Typically Safe:

  • Anything else

Green Light:

  • Most everything

Yellow Light:

  • Heavy Lifting – as the pregnancy moves further along, reduce the percentage. 

Red Light:

  • Box Jumps
  • Barbell Snatching – Bar needs to move straight and can’t with a pregnant belly. The risk reward for an altered bar path is not there. 
  • Heavy Overhead Lifting
  • Burpees
  • Running – 3rd Trimester
  • Rotation – Rotated MB Slams, Russian Twists and Rotational Ropes Movements

Common Modifications:

  • Box Jumps → Any lower body movement where the feet don’t leave the ground, perhaps some low impact squat jumps
  • Barbell Snatching → DB Snatching
  • Heavy Overhead Lifting → 75% and below
  • Burpees → MB Slams
  • 3rd Trimester Running → Possible rowing

Please feel free to email our staff with any questions, and if we do not know how to best answer it we will try our best to refer you out somewhere.

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