How I've Approached Rehab so Far

I’ve been going it alone for my leg rehab. I decided that I’m surrounded by excellent physical therapists at San Francisco CrossFit who can help guide me. Frankly, I’m glad I went through route, because I’m sure that a typical PT would have held me back more than pushed me forward. Having been an athlete for so long, I’m well acquainted with my body and what different types of sensations and pains can mean (sketchy pain versus the inevitable pain of progress).

This is the general progression formula I’ve gone with, and each level might last anywhere from one week to one month:

1) Two legged efforts
Passive range of motion (a) —> Active/loaded range of motion (b) —> Speed (c )
2) Single leg efforts
Passive range of motion (d) —> Active range of motion (e) —> Speed (f)

Now for some suggestions for each level. NOTE: I am NOT a physical therapist. I’m just explaining what has worked for me so far, and I’ve had a lot of guidance from my coworkers. If you’re rehabbing something, please talk with a rehab professional before following along what I’m doing here.

a) Two leg, passive range of motion

  • Sitting or laying down, used a belt or band around foot to pull leg in and then relaxed out. The other leg served as a tensioner, supporter, and guidance.

b) Two leg, active rang of motion

  • Using rings or a bar to lower myself to a box squat, starting high and working lower over time (shins vertical, strong emphasis on hip hinge)
  • Eventually, bring the box back up, remove the assistance, and start “knees forward” squatting to the box
  • Stand on the edge or a plate or box, using a pull up bar to help, drop the heels down and press up to the toes

c) Two leg speed

  • Kettle bells swings, Russian height, starting light (vertical shins, emphasis on quick knee extension)
  • Wall balls, to a box, starting light (“knee forward” squat, emphasis on ankle and knee flexion, explosive extension)
  • Feet together jumps, starting on a 10lbs plate, jump back off and rebound back on. Work up in plate height/ stack height

d) Single leg, passive range of motion

  • Same as (a), but now without the assistance of the other leg

e) Single leg, active range of motion

  • Using rings or a bar, lower myself on one leg down to a box, starting high and working it lower over time
  • Standing on the edge of a box, lower my leg down the side until the heel just touches the ground and press back up. Start low and work higher.

f) Single leg speed

  • (just started this) Rolling pistols onto the bottom position of bad leg. Eventually I’ll grab something to lift myself up
  • (not here yet) running and skipping
  • (not here yet) Single leg rebound jumps from the top of a plate

And of course I’ve done things not listed here: rowing, biking, assisted lunges, stupid dances. The main point is that I found a safe, effective progression and then I LISTENED TO MY BODY. Like I mentioned, I could stick at one level for weeks, and other levels I moved through really quickly. It was hard to anticipate what my body would accept easily and what would take some coaxing to accomplish. And there were plenty of times I tried something (like jumping) and immediately said “That was a BAD idea!”

And as always, be kind to yourself.