Starting Strength as a way of regaining strength after elbow injury Starting Strength as a way of regaining strength after elbow injury

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Thread: Starting Strength as a way of regaining strength after elbow injury

  1. #1
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    Default Starting Strength as a way of regaining strength after elbow injury

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    I was sent over here by one of the nice fellows on the SS subreddit to bring my case to the people who know this program best.
    To cut a long story short, in April this year I was hit by a bus and this caused a displacement olecranon fracture (broken elbow). I am now completely healed but the orthopaedic recommended I keep the metal plate in to reinforce the joint. However he and my physio agreed I could begin working out using weights again from September.

    However during my recovery, I have lost a lot of my strength, particularly in the upper body. I plan on using SS as a way to build it back up in a more controlled way than how I previously worked out. My logic is a barbel is more stable and controllable than kettlebells. My lack of strength, which came from a poor lifestyle before the injury and now an even greater loss has had a huge negative impact on my mental health, especially growing up playing Rugby in highschool.

    Anyway, what advice can you give me towards maybe adapting the program to be slightly easier on the elbow joint especially when it doesn't go completely straight anymore? I'm working on this, it's a slow process but despite the fact I'll never be able to lock the joint out, I may be able to get it pretty straight. Right now, I have a loss of about 5-10° from full extension.

    Will this program be a good fit for me in my situation? Will I have to make modifications to the program?

    I greatly appreciate any responses

  2. #2
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    OP, I'm really sorry to hear about the circumstances leading to this question being asked. This is a terrible set of circumstances leading you here. For one, I applaud you for even finding your way here and taking it upon yourself to figure out a way ahead.

    I can't really answer your questions, as asked, as I am not able to provide you with medical advice over the internet. What I can say is this: in 2016, I had a Right Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction with anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve, and a osteophyte excision from the olecranon process. I had lost about 5 degrees of extension prior to the surgery, but I came of out surgery lacking about 20+ degrees of extension. As a Physical Therapist, and the only PT at my location at the time with the know-how to rehab a Tommy John Surgery patient, I was left to rehab myself. I used absolutely nothing but the starting strength novice linear progression to rehab myself. I currently lack about 10 degrees of extension, and I am not likely to achieve full extension ever. Tightness in surgically treated elbows is pandemic.

    I started rehab shortly after the surgery, and within 12 weeks of surgery, I was back to bench pressing over 300 which was higher than my pre-surgical PR. I had surgery three years ago, and my personal best is now 385 at a bodyweight of 172. I have really done nothing but barbell training since the surgery and I am stronger than I ever have been before. I have absolutely zero pain in my elbow. And.....this is not the typical prognosis for someone with this surgery. The typical TJS patient is a dice roll on whether they return or not. I am an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist Physical Therapist. That is what I do for a living, and when I had to treat myself, I used the SS NLP, without any modifications, and I am where I am today because of it.

  3. #3
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    Thank you very much for your inspiring reply.

    You have answered my question with your own experiences. My Physio recommended I don't do high intensity workouts like kettlebells so I came to SS to be able to build myself back up.

    For your possible interest, I came out of surgery with 15° movement from the right angle and through a short month of physio and continuing by myself after discharge, I am able to fully flex my arm and have about 10° of work left to do on extension.

    I am very grateful for you sharing your experience with me and I will take this into account when following my own journey

  4. #4
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    My surgeon specifically stated to me that I would never be able to bench 225 again. My response was simply, "If I'm not mistaken, you have not performed surgery on anyone like me yet". My mentality is simply this: I'm the author of my own story, and if someone tells me I couldn't / shouldn't do something when I want to do it, I'll politely thank them for their time and proceed to do whatever the hell I want to do.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Morris View Post
    My surgeon specifically stated to me that I would never be able to bench 225 again. My response was simply, "If I'm not mistaken, you have not performed surgery on anyone like me yet". My mentality is simply this: I'm the author of my own story, and if someone tells me I couldn't / shouldn't do something when I want to do it, I'll politely thank them for their time and proceed to do whatever the hell I want to do.
    I like your way of thinking, very inspiring.
    I guess maybe your surgeon has no concept of how heavy, or light, 225lbs on the bench is.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander Dargatz View Post
    I like your way of thinking, very inspiring.
    I guess maybe your surgeon has no concept of how heavy, or light, 225lbs on the bench is.
    He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, so, I think he has some idea, however, he likely figured 225 was out of his ability. Therefore, it only made sense that I would never be able to do it after being surgically repaired.

    CT Fletcher’s “until they throw dirt on me” speech is one of the most inspiring things you will ever see.

  7. #7
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    My surgeon was quite the opposite. He told me I could still be an athlete but he wouldn't recommend anything with too high intensity, like my previous kettlebell circuits or my previous sport of Rugby. I just want to gain back my strength because, as a nurse, I want to know I can carry that overweight bedbound patient out the burning hospital if I needed to.

  8. #8
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    How heavy were your kettlebells, and how high was the "intensity"?

  9. #9
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    I do apologize if my semantics are off, I'm not the most knowledgeable with these terms and was just repeating what my doctor said to me.

    I was using a 10kg kettlebells and using them in 30 minute HIIT style circuits that I found somewhere online. I was doing this 4x/week and it helped me loose a few kgs and inches off my waist before my accident.

    I'm leaning more to SS because I feel the weight will be more stable and controlled, putting slightly less pressure on my elbow and having larger rest times than usual.

  10. #10
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    starting strength nutrition camp
    Quote Originally Posted by Kallum Dickson View Post

    I'm leaning more to SS because I feel the interval increase in load will promote a much more complete healing process of my surgically repaired elbow. The utilization of a training method grounded in the elementary roots of the Stress-Recovery-Adaptation Cycle will allow me to better control the variables and will promote a better sense of an appropriate dosage of load and volume compared to a HIIT circuit. The form, as advocated in the foundational text, will be more stable, controlled, and precise which will give my body the ability to potentially adapt faster because every repetition will be as close to the others as possible. I'm not scared of putting heavy loads on my elbow, and I welcome the ability to get stronger, have all the physiological adaptations that come along with a regular, consistent, and well-thought out strength training program as I continue to age.
    How about this?

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