What Happens If I Tear My ACL?

This article is going to briefly cover what goes on during the rehab process of a torn ACL after surgery. If you have just torn your ACL, this article can be used to give you an idea of what you can expect for the following months.

(Step 1) Immediately After Surgery

The Journey Begins With Rest

After your surgery, it is considered standard protocol to leave the hospital with your knee in the fully extended position. You will want to do your best to limit and motion or bending in the knee for first five days. These 5 days should include bracing and icing.

(Step 2) 5 Days Post Surgery

Increase Your ROM (Range of Motion)

After Step one of resting, icing, and bracing, you will want to do your best to regain full range of motion. There are a number of different ways to do so, much you must be very careful in these beginning stages. Pushing too hard, through pain, or doing exercises incorrectly can be very counter productive and harmful, potentially setting you back rather than speeding up your recovery.

Do not attempt to walk on your leg without crutches until you are able to walk normally without any limping or dysfunction. As a good reference for you, a third party should not be able to notice that you have any problem or trouble with your knee when you walk. You can expect to be walking normally after a month post surgery, give or take. If you do not reach this point by the one month mark, DO NOT push harder. Everyone is different genetically and recovery times will vary because of this. I’ll remind you that pushing too hard can cause your recover to move slower.

(Step 3) Strengthening

Quads, Hamstrings, Hips, and Core

As swelling begins to decrease, and your range of motion increases, you will want to begin strength training of the lower body, specifically around the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip stabilizers, and core to support your knee joint. The exercises you perform should consist only of closed-chain exercises, which mean your feet are planted on the ground when the exercise is performed. You may also begin low impact exercise like spinning – and gradually move to the elliptical.

One of the biggest struggles you will have in your rehabilitation process is to regain the strength of your quadricep muscle (the muscle directly above the knee cap on the front side of your leg). Because your leg was extended for such a long time and limited the range of motion to this muscle, it naturally atrophies (becomes smaller) and loses it’s strength. One of the main goals in your rehabilitation in your rehabilitation program should be to regain strength here.

NOTE: If you try to ever push through pain, your knee and quad will begin to swell and your quad will begin to lose function again, and causing it to atrophy once more. This is moving backwards in the rehabilitation process, and exactly what you want to avoid. I will stress this again – you cannot push through pain in an ACL repair so do NOT do so.

Running should not be attempted until the muscles listed above (quadriceps, hamstrings, hip stabilizers, and core) can fully support the knee. If you try to run when the muscles don’t support the knee, pain and swelling will return. Typically, it takes 3-4 months of strengthening the quadricep muscle before it is strong in enough to begin running. (See “Fast Knee Rehab ACL Survival Guide” for Tests to see if you’re ready to run)


3-4 Months Post Surgery

You should engage in low-intensity agility exercises to warm up before you begin your running. These exercises can consist of light jumping, skipping, and shuffling. Just like everything else, you can progressive increase the intensity of these exercises as your supported muscles strengthen. If you’re an athlete, this is a time you can eventually start to implement sport-specific exercises.

When you begin to run, start out by just moving a minute or two at a time. You want to keep your speed around 5-6mph, and it’s okay to be flexible with this because like I said, every person is different. If you are able to go longer without difficulty, you can do so. If you feel it’s too difficult, you can go for a shorter duration. If you feel pain or start to swell, it’s time to untie the laces and take a break.

(Step 4) Regain Confidence

Get back to what you love

As your able to run for longer periods of time, and progress in your warm up exercises, you can eventually move to sport/activity specific exercises. These are extremely beneficial because it helps reactivate the old neuromuscular pathways that were used in previous sports. Once you reach this point, you are well on your way to recovery, and the feeling of getting back to your sport, with less intensity of course, is extremely exciting and fulfilling.


How to Prevent Wrist Pain During Burpees

Are you having trouble pumping out those burpees during your Workout of the Day because of nagging wrist pain? If you are, then you’re in the right place. In this article you’ll learn:

  1. How this wrist pain is holding you back
  2. Why you have wrist pain during burpees and what you need to fix it
  3. 3 Action Steps you need to take TODAY to get rid of the pain and stop further damage

Wrist pain during burpees, as you have experienced, can be a huge setback whether you’re trying to get in an effective cardio workout, push through the casual Crossfit WOD, or compete in CrossFit. It’s important to note that if you aren’t already, you will soon compensate for this pain. You will learn to work around it, favoring another part of the body. This is where bad form and habits can be developed, that may lead to injury elsewhere in the body. If you are a casual exerciser or CrossFitter, not being able to do burpees will slow down your cardio workout, not allowing you to beat previous records or meet your fitness goals as fast as you would otherwise. Competitive CrossFitters, without a pain-free burpee, you won’t be able to plow through the grueling workouts that the Open may throw at you. Remember the Open WOD 13.1?

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of: 40 Burpees 75 pound Snatch, 30 reps 30 Burpees 135 pound Snatch, 30 reps 20 Burpees 165 pound Snatch, 30 reps 10 burpees 210 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

That’s a lot of burpees…

But before we get started, here’s a list of injuries that you may or may not have.

Here are some common injuries that you should watch out for:

Wrist Sprain – This can be caused by hitting, twisting, or falling on your wrist. If the pain only comes when you move your wrist, and you’re certain your wrist isn’t broken, you might have wrist sprain.

Wrist Tendonitis – If you’re pain comes during or after multiple reps of burpees, you may have wrist tendonitis. Overuse and Overload are both common causes of tendonitis. (These can both be due to “weak point”, and can be fixed by strengthening and stretching of the correct muscles.)

Broken Wrist – If you twisted, hit, or fell on your wrist, and the shape of it has changed, you’ll want get it checked right away. It may be broken.

Sometimes, a lack of mobility and flexibility in upper body can cause wrist pain, but chances are, you have one of the first two injuries. If you have a wrist sprain, there are certain modifications you can make to your exercises, as well as some different tools and braces you can use to relieve the pain temporarily. If your have wrist tendonitis, there’s a lot you can do to sometimes completely remove the pain. You’ll want to work on strengthening and stretching the right muscles, improving your form in exercises, and reducing inflammation (eating correctly, using anti inflammatories).

So let’s look at one potential cause for your pain. Your form during the burpee exercise.

While the burpee is a very complex movement involving the entire body, it can be broken down into simple steps so that we can locate the cause of your wrist pain.  By seeing this exercise in steps, you may be able to figure out for yourself exactly where the pain is coming from.

Step 1: Start in An Upright, Standing Position


Step 2: Crouch (Perform a Quarter-Squat)


Step 3: Shift Weight Forward

How you position your hands, elbows, and shoulders during this step can make a big difference in the pain you feel (since a lot of pressure is placed there)


Step 4: Kick Your Feet Back Into A Pushup Position*

If you’re unable to hold your wrists at the range of motion shown below without pain, you most likely have mobility issues and one of the wrist injuries listed above.

*Note – You can go to a knees on the ground position (shown below) OR a complete pushup where the knees aren’t touching the ground


Step 5: Drive Your Hips and Bring Legs Back To Crouch Position


Step 6: Rise to Triple Extension (Ankles, Knees, and Hips) and Clap Overhead


If you’re unable to reach the full range of motion required of the upper body in step 4 pain free, then the odds are against you – you most likely have an injury or a mobility/flexibility issue. For the meantime, there are some modifications that can be made to your form that will remove some of the pain, and allow you time to take care of the underlying issues. Stay tuned for future articles where you can learn how to finally remove some of that pain, and finally get rid of it for good!

Nutrition Uncategorized

Healthy Meal Ideas for College Students

If you want to get away from the school cafeteria a bit, and have a place where you can prepare quick meals, than this article is for you.

I will outline several of my favorite recipes in this article, and the full descriptions can be found at the link at the bottom.

NOTE: These Recipes are for those who are open to different foods (these are not traditional recipes)

Recipe 1: Chorizo Sweet Potato Chili

I’ve always been a big fan of chili – I love any food that is spicy, but what I really like about this recipe is it’s not only extremely healthy for you, it’s delicious.

*Quick Tip* Spicy Foods Help Increase Your Metabolism

The sweet potato provides tons of great carbohydrates for you, and the beans give you healthy fats. which will leave you full and relieving you of snack cravings later on.

Recipe 2: Chunky Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Okay, I’m kind of a sucker for chilis, soups, and stews. Coming from a cold climate, I always like a hot dish that will warm me up during the winter months. However, this dish provides you with a great variety of different foods, and a lot of food too. It’ll leave you feeling stuffed AND feeling good about the healthy food choice you just made.

Recipe 3: One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta

Pasta isn’t the best dish for you if you’re trying to drop the pounds, but I had to throw this one in. Who doesn’t love pasta and red sauce right?

You can make a huge amount of this in one session of cooking, and bring it back to your dorm and stick in your fridge for later. This is great to share with your friends on your dorms (especially if their scavengers).

You can find more recipes and the actual recipe descriptions at the link below!


Principals of a Dynamic Warm Up

What is a Warm up?

If you don’t know what a warm up is, you have either never trained before in your life, or you have been living under a rock for the past 50 years. While most people do know and appreciate the importance of a warm up, the majority are either too lazy to do them, or they perform them incorrectly, SO incorrectly that in some cases, it may be more beneficial to not warm up at all. In this article, you’re going to learn when and how you should warm-up your body, and when and how to stretch.

For those of you who aren’t as familiar with what a warmup is, here is what Tim Roberson of has to say:

“The main purpose behind [a dynamic warm-up], in addition to increasing the blood flow to the exercise musculature, is to increase the nervous system awareness. You’re trying to stimulate that awareness to the [exercises] that are going to follow. It’s the stepping stone before you actually start doing [more] intense exercises.” (STACK)

This definition really only tells half the story. The next half of a warm-up should consist of stretching. Only after our bodies have been primed, can we optimally stretch our muscles to illicit the best performance in the proceeding workout. So to summarize, here is how we should feel after our warmup:

-Increased Body Temperature

-Improved Joint lubrication

-Engaged Nervous System

-Improved Flexibility

-Grooved Movement patterns (Gentilcore)

What Am I Doing Wrong?

We need to get one thing straight here. The warm-up is exactly what it is, a warm-up. It should be specific to the work that is going to be done in the workout, but it should NOT be THE WORKOUT. Movements that are extremely intense, or put large amounts of stress into the muscular and nervous systems, should not be in the warm-up. These include: Max-Effort Plyometrics, Sprints, or high-intensity strength training. These movements can not be performed safely in a warm-up, because in order to execute them properly, we need an engaged nervous system, improved flexibility, increased body temperature, etc., which are all things we are trying to achieve with the warm-up.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people going straight to static stretching after sitting in a classroom for six hours. Have you ever tried to pull an uncooked steak apart? It doesn’t happen. If you heat it up, the steak is much more pliable. The same principal is true with our muscles. Without getting into the physiology of stretching, I will tell you that you can easily pull a muscle (over-stretch), and/or won’t be optimally preparing yourself for the work to follow, without an increased body temperature.


Don’t worry, although I just picked apart your whole stretching routine, chances are you can keep it. As long as you do the following before your stretch, you should be golden. You need to do a dynamic warmup. In a dynamic warm up, exercises should be specific to the upcoming workout. It should begin with lower intensity, single-joint movements and progressively move towards medium-intensity, multi-joint movements. (Cressey) It can be preceded by soft-tissue work, but that is for a whole other article. It’s important to work areas such as the ankle, hip, and thoracic spine. (Cressey) The reason being is, for most of us who are sitting at a desk all day, these areas tend to be the tightest. Another factor to point out would be that these three areas have a tremendous amount of responsibility in some of the most basic functions of movement, such as twisting, bending, extending, pushing, and pulling.

EVEN WHEN YOU ARE WARM, STRETCHING CAN BE COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Although this takes an individualized assessment, stretching phasic (lengthened or under-active) muscles will just worsen any postural imbalances you may have, and can lead to pain and injury. Stretching tonic (tight or over-active) muscles, will help balance postural alignment, and move the body closer to an optimal bio-mechanical position (Chek).

Group Warm-ups

When in a group setting, it isn’t realistic to assess everyone for their own postural imbalances. This can apply to boot camps, sports teams, and gym classes. In this case, the best we can do is stretch each muscle and it’s antagonist (opposite muscle). An example of this would be the bicep and tricep. Stretching both will maintain the current postural alignment, but still provide the benefit of increased flexibility in the muscle.

Should I Change my Warm-up on a Regular Basis?

Like previously mentioned, the warm-up should be specific to what’s going to take place in the main workout. It never hurts to add variety, however, but if your workout never changes, then generally, your warm-up won’t have to either. Of course, if your postural status is improving with corrective stretching and exercises, then your stretches will have to change as well.

Don’t Overdue It

There is one purpose to a warm-up, and we’ve already mentioned what that is. It’s to prepare for the main workout to come. Warm-ups that are too intense or are too long will actually take away from the main workout / competition / sports practice.

Remove Unnecessary Exercises

There are many coaches out there who will put high-intensity, low-volume exercises in their warm-ups. These exercises really deserve to be part of the workout themselves. Warm-ups generally should consist of exercises at a low to medium intensity at medium to high volume. The problems happen when you mix a high-intensity exercise with high volume. This is just asking for burnout and reduced performance in the actual competition / workout / sports practice.

Warm-ups are hardly ever changed, so if an athlete is practicing for their sport 5-6 times/week and they are using the same, high-intensity exercise over and over in their warm-up, they will eventually create some sort of postural imbalance, as well as fatigue quicker, and start to see diminishing gains. (Zatsiorsky, 96) If the coach is insisting on continuing the use of high intensity exercises, they should make sure to properly use, “rest-exercise alternation and proper exercise sequencing to alleviate fatigue.” (Zatsiorsky, 96).

Most coaches use isometric training on the field or on the court because it’s simple, doesn’t require equipment, and seems to get the job done. However, they should be aware that accommodation to isometric exercises happens quickly, and gains tend to peak between 6-8 weeks. (Zatsiorsky, 124).

If you’d like to learn more about prehab, preventing injury, and warming up correctly, Sign up in the form below! I’ll send you free content on how to improve all of these things, in the most effective way possible.


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Works Cited

Chek, Paul.How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!: Your Personalized 4-step Guide to Looking and Feeling Great from the inside out. San Diego, CA: C.H.E.K. Institute, 2004. Print.

Cressey, Eric. “The 6 Characteristics of a Good Dynamic Warm-up | Eric Cressey | High Performance

Training, Personal Training.”Eric Cressey. N.p., 20 Dec. 2011. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

“Dynamic Warm-ups vs Static Stretching.”STACKSept. 2008: n. pag. Web.

Gentilcore, Tony. “The Perfect Warm-Up.”Tony Gentilcore. N.p., 23 May 2012. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

N.p., n.d. Web.

Zatsiorsky, Vladimir M., and William J. Kraemer.Science and Practice of Strength Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2006. Print.