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I have a long-standing (no pun intended) injury which gets worse when doing any kind of leg exercise that puts strain on the groin area. For example sit-ups, press-ups and plank exercises all cause pain in that area.

I will hopefully be having surgery soon to fix the problem now that it's been diagnosed.

However, I want to exercise without putting strain on this area of the body and would like some opinions on any exercises that will help keep me in shape during this period. I'd like to work the ab area, and I need to get some cardio exercise (my weight is going up horribly during this fallow period).

What experience do people have of keeping things going while recovering from injury?

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4 Answers

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First, the standard disclaimer when it comes to medical issues... I am not a doctor and you should talk to your doctor before doing exercise with an injury.

Some of this is going to depend on the exact location and nature of the injury. The problem with injuries in the groin (especially upper groin) and abdominal area is that it's your core muscles. That means that almost any strenuous exercise is going to have the possibility of hurting or re-injuring because people tend to tighten that area when they strain other muscles. Even if you could immobilize the area, you might still tense the muscles. Given that, I would stay away from any heavy lifting, even upper body.

Si Philip's suggestion of using a hand cycle is excellent since it could be low stress and if you're seated properly shouldn't put any stress on the groin area.

I might also try a modified crunch that's even shorter than a regular crunch. When you do a sit-up from your back, the initial part of the motion uses your psoas muscles (which connect in at the groin area) rather extensively. As your body rises up you start to engage the abdominal muscles more and the psoas muscles less. If you started up near the top and just did short motions you might be able to almost completely eliminate the psoas muscles from the picture. I haven't tried this and again, I'm not a doctor, so you need to be extremely careful if you want to go this route. If you feel any groin pain AT ALL, stop immediately. If you have access to an ab machine (the kind that you can sit up in) and you can rig it to allow for the shorter motion at the end of the spectrum then that might work even better as you can get into position more easily without using the groin (with a crunch you still need to sit up for the first one). Just use very little or no weight to start.

The MOST IMPORTANT piece of advice though is this: being out of commission for some amount of time may stink, but it's much worse if you end up re-injuring the muscle and causing an even longer time injured. If you need to completely take time away from working out then do that and spend the time concentrating on other areas - improved diet, better sleep habits, mental health, etc. If you push things too soon it ends up being counterproductive because instead of the small improvement in health from one or two extra workouts you could end up causing a long, extended time injured, so it's just not worth the risk.

Good luck!

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If you attend a gym am sure there will be qualified personal trainers that will be able to point you in the right direction. Before doing this it would be worth making sure it's ok with your doctor.

I would imagine your personal trainer will give you sitting down upper body exercises with the possibility of some resistance training. As for cardio, if you have access to a hand cycle then you can burn calories without effecting your lower body.

I know not being able to exercise can be frustrating, just stick in there. Problem has been diagnosed and soon you will be fighting fit. Eat healthy and always keep in mind, light at then end of the tunnel. :)

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Simple answer: if it hurts, don't do it. Pain is the body's way of telling us that something is wrong. The absolute worst thing you can do to yourself is ignore the pain and keep going. Just eat healthy, exercise what you can, and once your problem is resolved and you are through the proper recovery, then go back slowly into your routine. The single best thing you can do for yourself when you have an injury is just let your body rest.

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I tend to do front crawl or breast stoke with a float between my legs! Works your upper body well and is a good cardio workout!

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