I injured my right ankle a couple weeks ago and I had to put a stop to all my running and cycling. I'd like to keep exercising, but I have limited options. I can stand on my right leg, but no squats or anything. Here's what's available:

  • I own a dumbbell, that, depending on the weights on it, can be 1, 6, or 8 kilos. I have used it lightly for kettlebell-like swings and some dumbbell rolls.
  • There is a pool nearby that I could frequent.
  • There is a gym close by, but I'd rather work out at home between things.
  • I have a metallic jump rope, but that I'd have to skip on my leg only. Jumping on my right leg is out of question.

My main goals are to improve my endurance for sports and to shave off some upper body fat, get a little leaner. Also my thigh fat could use a little trimming. (I'm 178 cm/81 kg, that is 5'10"/179 lbs)

Edit: To limit confusion - this is not about diets. I have vastly improved my eating habits over the past few months, this is solely about fitness. Also, this is a very short-term thing. My ankle should be fine rather soon, it's not like I can't even walk. I just wanted to fill the void as I stay home, staring at my road bike. The advice about sports that Shauna gives is not relevant to my case as I cannot practice the sports I want to... because of my ankle. Sorry if I did not make myself clear in the first place.

1 Answer 1


The best thing for you to do right now is recover.

Your body is already working overtime to repair your damaged ankle. You don't need to be taxing it further by trying to exercise and risking injuring it more, particularly with the options you've listed.

Want to exercise, anyway? Do rehabilitation work, if you can, and ideally under the supervision of a physical therapist. That's your job right now.

I cannot stress this part enough. Even though it doesn't feel like it, your body is already doing a lot of work repairing. Think about it this way - if you do advanced training for something (let's say weightlifting), one of the big things trainers stress is rest days, not? Most programs are 3-4 days per week. This is to provide the opportunity for the body to rest and repair itself. Likewise, getting enough sleep is of utmost importance. Why? Because during these rest times, your body is actually doing things, and it needs the resources to do them. If you divert them to other things, then your depriving your body of those resources, and risk setting yourself back even further.

Abs are revealed in the kitchen.

You want to shed fat? Then turn to your diet. No amount of exercise will trim the fat off your body if your diet is crap.

  1. Eat at a deficit. You can't lose weight if you're eating too much, plain and simple. So figure out how much your body needs in your current recovery state, and eat slightly less (given the needs of your body to repair itself and the relatively little fat you have to lose, I'd recommend 250 calories per day under TDEE, which is .5lb/week loss). A calorie tracking website, such as MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople will help you make sure you're in your goal calorie range.

  2. Nourish your body. While it's technically possible to lose weight eating nothing but Twinkies, doing so doesn't do your body any favors. Your body needs specific nutrients to repair itself, both now and when you're fully healthy. The general rule of thumb is 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass (which, for your height, will come out to probably around 110-120g), this number allows your body to spare lean tissue when trying to find a non-food fuel source (in other words - it turns to the fat deposits instead of your muscles). Your carb and fat numbers will depend on the type of diet that works best for you, just keep in mind that they're both pretty much purely fuel, and that the body will choose carbs over fat when both are present. Play with it and see what works best for you.

    • Regardless of what you choose for your carb and fat ratios, you should get all of your nutrients from nutritious, whole-food sources - meats, healthy fats and oils (olive, coconut, avocado, etc), fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts/seeds, dairy (assuming no allergies, here). These things provide tons of micronutrients needed not only for your body to repair itself, but also to fuel your body when in healthy condition. Glucosamine and chondroitin are abundant in bone broth and can help your body repair your ankle (they support joint health), and of course calcium and Vitamin D (get it best from the sun) will support repairing any bone damage.

When you're healthy, train for the sport(s) you want to play.

While there is sometimes some crossover, your ability to run 30 miles will have little to no bearing on your endurance on the hockey rink or in the boxing cage.

You want more endurance for sports? Which sport? Pick one or two you want to train in, then train in them. The training for hockey is going to be worlds different than the training for tennis. You use different muscle groups in different ways.

That said, as I mentioned, there is some crossover - general functional strength and flexibility will help you pretty much everywhere. Things like kettlebell strength training, Yoga, body weight strength training, and barbell strength training, can help you in most sports (though the specifics may vary).

You can't spot reduce fat.

The above information should be enough for you to trim off the excess fat, barring any medical issues. However, even when you're back at peak condition, you may not get the results you're looking for. This is because the fat's going to come off where your body says it's going to come off. That means that it may suck dry the fat deposits in your neck and arms before it even considers your chest, waist, and thighs. There's nothing you can do to change that. Just keep working on the other points (eating healthy, training in and playing your chosen sport) and the weight will come off in due time.

  • I was thinking about adding and answer that talks about rehabbing and training around the ankle, but with the types of things the OP has access to, this is probably the best answer for them. Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 17:59
  • Thanks, Shauna, for the exhaustive answer. The thing is, as I stress in the edit in the original question, my main goal is fitness, I have already put a lot of thought and effort into my diet. This is purely to help get through these days of boredom as my leg is not 100% functional.
    – Ondrej
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 18:19
  • 1
    @Ondrej - That's where my first section comes in - do rehab work, but otherwise your body is doing enough by repairing the injury. That leaves you with occupying your mind.
    – Shauna
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 19:59

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