Tag Archives: Exercises

Pain Therapy


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I’m slow just like an elderly person crossing the street, like any home turtle in the fish tank and basically similar to a suicidal giving up on life. Except, I enter the physical therapy office with an open mind and clear objective — to make gains, to obtain lasting results, to prosper and to walk on two feet correctly (again). I have a lot of work ahead of me, but that’s okay because I like work — and because what is life without work? Or sweat? Or tears? Or blood? Or pain?

And speaking of pain: I’m pretty aware that if they called it Pain Therapy rather than Physical Therapy — the majority of people wouldn’t show up. Related: This has been the most painful PT session (the 6th one so far) yet. I inhale and exhale like a pregnant woman giving birth wildly, but, with control. I shut my eyes tighter than my thermal water bottle, pinch my eyebrows together as in “what the fuck?”, grind my teeth with grit, mush my lips together in grumble and sometimes (whenever possible) I hunch my shoulders like a white collar man over a desktop — all because of pain.

Somewhere buried in my bones and muscles fibers, I’m frightened and I’m nervous about every PT session as if I’m starting a new job. But the fear remains in a way where I’m completely detached from it at the same time. I have a reason to be a scaredy-cat for each session there are unpredictable exercises given and new progressions occurring and of course — new pain to match. Today they measured my plantarflexion/dorsi and such and such with a Rulangemeter and a Goniometer. Trust, when I say it hurts when they hold my foot and bring it up to the measurement of where it’s supposed to be.

There are parallel bars where I’m to try and learn to walk again with as much equal body weight as possible without completely noticing the occasional shout from the aid saying: Bend your knee, don’t lock out. Control the movement. Then there are leg/tibia exercises and knee/hip/glute exercises all standing and putting full weight on my right foot and ankle. It feels highly uncomfortable like I’m stepping on stones, but I’m not afraid because I have to do what I have to do, and in a weird way I like pain. Plus, let’s face it, pain is temporary.

Then there’s my favorite, the thing that scares half my training wits — the wooden balance board. This one, I perform numerous exercises on. I dislike every one of them. Still, the bright side is it gets my knees to bend and it stretches everything out around the sides, front and back of my ankle along with my deflated calve. The only issue is, the pain is dangerously wicked, but with my training mentality, I’ve achieved my personal records already.

Then there’s me having to go up/down a step. There’s the prostep-prostretch where I squeeze my foot into it and have to move my foot up and down for a deep fucking stretch! Of course, there are ankle weights and more exercises and equipment I get to play and hurt myself with. Then more ankle exercises with manual resistance by my physical therapist (who I have a fondness for ah! — plus he genuinely says sorry when he senses the pain is unbearable on my face) and ankle circles and ankle pumps before I get my relaxing massage, electrode stimulations, heat and ice.

After all the drama calms down in the PT session, I digest all that has happened and how far I’ve come. I wish I could linger on those digestions. But I move on and take in how much longer I have to go. I dwell and dwell. Still, I’m thankful for my persistence, determination, stubbornness and self-made ego. I also enjoy when the pain and inflammation dies down, even though I know I’m going home to do even more exercises and be in pain all over again.

But more than anything, when I lie in the dark alone with thoughts to myself in the physical treatment room with towels wrapped around my leg in ice and heat — happiness seems to hide in the background and no matter how many times I push the thought out, it resurfaces again. I always go back to square one with: I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m going through this. I can’t seem to shake off this shock.

-Pennington

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Tales from the Ankle


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The upside: My bone is healed and it healed properly. Thank the Lord! No hard cast. Now I’m in an Air Cast. The downside: There’s a lot of work to do in the wonderful world of physical therapy, and evidently, it’s rather fucking depressing. It feels like I’m starting from somewhere near the bottom. And surely, it could be worse.

So, yes, I’m thankful for my fibula fracture injury no matter how it comes across and makes me feel in the black pit of my heart. In time, I’ll get over the multiple depression humps of my life. But today is not that day. Until then, I’ll have to deal with everything as I have been – to the best of my ability.

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Let me introduce some to the subtalar joint. This is one thing I have to work on. It is responsible for the movement of the feet – in technical terms: Inversion and Eversion. Aside from this joint, I have to deal with all the other muscles that atrophied on the side of my right ankle such as the hips, glute, lower back, knee and quad.

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Now, despite the work load I have for my ankle and certain parts of my body, I’m lucky that I’m a big fan of working hard. This isn’t my issue. My issue is being depressed and wanting results overnight because of what I’ve been able to do in the past – fitness wise. Patience and pacing myself has never been a strong suit of mine. And I would think that at the humble age of 32, (33 tomorrow), I’d have figured out how to take things slow when needed, but no. I have much to learn.

I have this self-imposed pressure. It’s me against me and I’m not sure how I feel about this: All the power to mobilize myself. It sounds inspiring to some degree, but with the time stamp I’ve placed in my head: I feel like time is running out. Okay. Day 1 of the Air Cast: It was this Tuesday. The cast came off and I didn’t care if there was pain involve. I was more scared of what was underneath the cast. Lots of dry blood. Lots of dead skin. Lots of calve deflated and missing. Lots of agony and stages of foot pain.

And for the rest of the day the thought of unstrapping and strapping the boot itself made me nauseous at home. So I did zero movement in my ankle. Day 2: I made sure to start moving my foot with the assistance of my knee just to get a bit of movement. At least 70-80 total reps (for 5 reps at a time – afternoon and evening) I performed and then packed it in ice like a dead fish.

Day 3: Which is today – I met the physical therapist. And let’s just say, I’m glad he’s not ugly to look at. However, I got the impression that everything was all rushed. I did not like that he expected me to perform circles with an ankle I haven’t used for 2 months. He encouraged me by saying, “You’re moving your knee, not your ankle.”

Then he manually took my ankle and moved it in circles and in an up/down motion. Okay, so aside from his manual assistance (and my failings!), these were the exercises prescribed to me which I did there at the place: Lumbar Bridging (Hip Thrust), Hip Abduction Unilateral Side-lying and Supine Knee Bent. 3 x 10 reps.

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Reflection on these Exercises: I felt a super stretch during the hip bridges in my right quad that I gasped out loud. My hip/glutes were contracted (mind-muscle connection) with intense levels while performing the side lying. And as for the Supine Knee – well – I felt the discomfort in my knee, so keeping my right leg completely straight was a tad difficult. So all in all it’s working. 😉 But I’m sure anything would work if your muscles were immobile to begin with, no?

My plans for tonight is to have my friend help me by manually moving my ankle up/down and in circles for a few reps a set because my foot is so stiff I can’t do it on my own. As of now, my ankle is super achy and sore from the manual manipulation of earlier. Presently, this is going to be a slow and tedious, but very much needed journey. Stay tuned. 😉

-Pennington

Body Nags


I don’t openly volunteer information about myself or my life to people I deal with.  This is why I have a blog.  Plus, I figure if a person wants to get to know me better, they’ll slowly work to pry me open.  Or read my blog or Tweets.  Point is, there are things I don’t reveal to anyone like body nags.

Don’t you hate nags?  Whether they concern a relationship, parental or societal badger?  Don’t you hate body bags, no matter what the cost is and how you pay its dues over and over again?  Some nags are preventable, some are induced, some nags come and go while others, remain forever.   All I know is, I can’t come up with all the fucking causes to nags, but I know that nags are pretty shitty!  And I have a few of those pretty shitty ones.

At this point, the body nags have entirely affected my right side.  The first was my elbow back in 2006.  That’s when I first saw someone for the opening debut of tendonitis.  Now there are undiagnosed flares in my teres minor, which I assume comes from the rotator cuff syndrome I’m still experiencing because clearly I’m a dick and am not very gentle with myself.  Then, there are the bicipital groove flare-like bouts and gluteus medius annoyances that come and go.

Not to mention, two out of the three hamstring muscles take turns straining me every step of the way, every few months, making sure I can’t reach my front split goal.  Plus the gastrocnemius has tightened up when it used to be on the left side only and just like everything else, it’s on my right side.  What is it with this side of my body?  And who the fuck knows?  But I’m thinking sooner or later, I’m going to have to start being gentle to myself.

When I got an MRI done a while back to see if I wanted to pursue surgery for a partial (on the small end) tear on my right shoulder, I cut out many exercises that had to do with chest, back and shoulders.  There are still some exercises I don’t do today, but over time I worked into getting many exercises back into my programs.  The next time, someone tells me I don’t have patience, I’m going to stick a dumbbell up their ass and grind it because patience is crucial with these nags.

And let’s be honest, sometimes patience sucks and pain does also.  So I’ve slowly entered:  Assisted pull-ups, Incline/flat dumbbell/barbell bench press, push-ups, hammer and bicep curls.  Volume has been cut, in addition to warming up prior with easier exercises and stretching in between most sets.

It’s been a year (or more probably?) since I’ve done any Lat Pull-downs.  But I finally gave in because I rather rotate my exercises than do the same ones.  Flares happen, regardless of how much I warm up or stretch in between.  I can feel the tiniest spasm pulsing in my teres minor; an electric type of nerve of a twinge, and the spasms continue the more time under tension it’s given.  After this, I stretched and meditated on a prayer to the Gym God’s that I’ll be able to continue pain-free through my workout.

Now, I have another nuisance here to join my many nags, something new and daunting in my knee.  Stay tuned for that in an upcoming entry.  In the meantime, how many body nags do you have related to exercise or no exercise?  And yes, it works both ways. 😉

-Pennington

Alteration


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TRX is one of the truths of fitness along with weight-training, cardio, calisthenics and a host of many other activities within this realm.  And sometimes I’m good at putting in a little bit of everything in a single week for a workout program.  But other times I forget to be well-rounded. Sometimes I stick with my reasonable rep scheme and my above moderate to heavy weight training with compound exercises and/or Total-body programs (all resistance-related) that I forget that there is anything else in the physical activity world.

So once again I was reminded by a training session (isn’t this one reason why people get actual Personal Trainers no matter how good they believe they are? – for getting out of the comfort zone) with Dark Knight just how pairing TRX, Stability Ball exercises along with Plyometrics could accomplish for my mental and physical state during, not to mention the remembrance of soreness the very next day which I’m experiencing lovingly and heavily.

TRX is amazing although not one of my favorite things to EVER do because the difficulty and exert level is beyond ridiculous when you carry a lot of weight (like me).  I also associate the TRX to be highly core related.  And let’s face it, I dislike doing core probably more so than I do visiting my mom at the nursing home/hospital. But aside from these negative relations these reasons are exactly why the TRX is extremely important.  My muscles worked super hard during these movements that my flesh seared red, my bodyfat diminished for a moment in undetectable time and I didn’t want to provide another rep despite the fact that I grinded my lips and teeth like a bad dream as my biceps and forearms wanted to fall off in sweet deliverance.

I got through some intense TRX Rows.

And I got through the Banded Pull ups, Jumping Squats, Rope Pulls, Dynamic Lunges, Tricep Rope Pull-downs, Planks and Push ups both done on the Stability Ball.  I was quite amused although I’ll be honest; I’ve never liked the unstable feeling of my body being out of control.  I like muscle fibers shaking when I lift weights (and even that I had to learn to get used to) but when the body is going completely haywire and excitingly random because it’s wondering what the hells going on within the unknown trying to make it known.. I feel tremendously uncomfortable and by uncomfortable I mean I spaced the fuck out and I needed to bring my head back down from the cosmos because it’s concentrated and very present and at the same time a stirring out-of-body-experience.

The goal before New Year arrives is to make sure I’m working on getting to the next level even if it means getting over my immense hate for core and extra bodyweight work because it’ll help me achieve more of the best. During this process I’ll be required to break through old beliefs, training rituals, destroy my mind and body all over again to gain a newfound structure and a special level of physical enlightenment.

It’s all about parts and making them into absolute and reassuring wholes, strengthening strengths but also strengthening weaknesses and dislikes until they’re no longer a phase to ponder about while enjoying the journey which keeps us on the edge of the magnificence of uncertainty. 🙂

-Pennington