Today was a very mixed bag at the gym, but I’m excited about the prospects.

I abandoned the prescribed workout. I wanted to monkey with some MovNat stuff and do some self assessment. Just wanted to get a general feel for how I’m moving. Next week I go for my 6 week visit with the surgeon. Every expectation is that this should be the final appointment and once it’s done, I should be able to declare the knee healed and healthy and resume what I consider ‘normal’ activities with a cautious ramp up.

I use the word cautious, because there are things I haven’t done for weeks, or even months, such as running. I’m not running “Death by 10 Meters” next Friday. I also don’t expect to go out Memorial Day weekend and run a full mile on both ends of the hero WOD Murph. In fact I don’t intend to complete a full Murph at all. I’m going to partner up with someone, maybe a couple someones to divide out the calisthenics, and depending on how the knee feels between now and then I may cut the runs to 400’s. We’ll play that by ear.

However, I assure you, presuming the doctor gives me the go ahead next Thursday, I’m going to spend a fair bit of time next Friday just experimenting jogging the street at various distances to see how the leg feels. It’s been a long time since I’ve said, “I’m looking forward to running,” but I am. And I’m getting ahead of myself.

As a practice, I’ve rolled my alarm clock back thirty minutes and I’m using that time each morning to work on mobility. Today I dedicated that time at home to really focusing on foam rolling my left leg from hip to toe, front to back, inside and outside. There was a lot of wincing, a fair bit of whimpering and a moderate number of obscenities involved. In the aftermath, there was also a fair bit of discovery. Almost everything felt fine inside my knee. Almost. When I point my toes outward and attempt to roll on the back inside of my knee that creates a pressue inside the knee that I didn’t like, so I backed off of that. Otherwise, all of the discomfort was appropriate and specific to where the foam roller was contacting my leg as it should be. So that was pretty cool.

At the gym, I pulled out some gymnastic mats and explored some very basic MovNat ground movements and positions that have vexed me ever since tearing the meniscus in November. I started simply by going into a tabletop position on my hands and knees and evaluated how that felt. I held the position twice for about 30 seconds just to explore and confirm/validate what I thought I felt. It was pain free and without issue.

So I progressed to a tall kneeling position and held that for 30 seconds each twice through. No pain in the knee, but I noticed that the muscles outside the knee tired very quickly. So I came out of that position dropping my hips to my right side to sitting, then rolled over to table top and stood up using my one-legged down dog/inch-worm progression to standing. Funny to think that this has become my instinctive technique for getting off the floor or ground now. It never occurred to me try to go from the tall kneel to standing. Something for later, I suppose.

After walking my legs out a bit I went into a deep kneeling seated position. Just knelt down on both knees and tried to sit my butt back on my heels. Can’t quite get there, BUT it’s not because of pressure on the knees. It’s because my quads lacked the mobility right then! That definitely sparked a mixed reaction. I was thrilled that my knee didn’t mind! During the MovNat cert in mid-November, I was very frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t close off that knee and sit in a simple kneel. So to be pain free in that aspect was very pleasing. To understand that my quad was the limiting factor was annoying. Ah well, it will come back.

Low crawling, bear crawling and such all seemed too aggressive, so I’m putting that off. I attempted a few forward rolls over one shoulder or the other, but I’m very out of practice and therefore all out of whack. Nothing was fluid. Nothing was lined up right. If anyone paid attention, I probably looked like I was being thrown about by an invisible attacker. I abandoned those for more elementary rolls. Put my head on the mat, with my hands out to make a tripod, then just as I coach the kids, I tucked my chin to my chest and walked my fee to my hands until momentum and gravity pulled my booty over the tipping point.

I did some rolling backward to touch my toes on the ground behind my head to either side, but the mobility is not there. So I bailed on that.

That was enough for the day. My overall assessment: my knee feels great! I have a lot of work to do to regain previous mobility levels and a lot of practicing of fundamental moves ahead of me to work out any kinks, quirks or bad habits that have developed in my form while I was exercising injured.

So how do I fix that? I’m going to resume my daily ROMWOD sessions at home. I still may need to make some accommodations for my knee, but I think those will be limited. I’m also thinking I might hire one of my fellow coaches for a couple of one on one sessions to walk through the snatch and clean especially and drill home the fundamentals again.

I want someone’s undivided attention for an hour or two to assess how I’m moving through those lifts in particular and let me know if they see anything weird that needs to be fixed. I’m not overly concerned with the power lifts where my feet are stationary. I know there will be things that need to be modified, but the challenges there should be limited and easily adjustable. The snatch, the clean and the jerk where the feet are in motion…I suspect those are going to need some more specific attention and I’m not convinced a standard class with other athletes is the place to fix/refine that. But I think that training is still a couple weeks out. I think I’ll use the remainder of May to get flexy and ensure that there truly are no issues. Then in the first part of June I can set up some one on one work for the Oly lifts.

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