Shortly after I tore my ACL (actually, it was after the diagnosis and surgery determination) I found an article in the CrossFit Journal that delivered just the message that I needed to hear. This message has stuck with me throughout my pre-hab, my surgery, recovery, and rehab.
The article is from the Archives (originally published in May 2005) and it’s called “Working Wounded”. You can find a copy online here.
I strongly encourage you to read the entire article. Even if you’re not injured. It will help you understand my perspective, if nothing else. But, if your time is too precious and you can only read my blog post… here are a few of the best excerpts. [editor’s note: “Mac” is the hypothetical patient that Glassman is writing about. “Mac” had disabled right leg]
Injury, like illness, is an ineluctable fact of life.
In sport, elite performers are more marked
by the attitude and manner with which they
deal with injury than by their elected course
of treatment or by the severity or frequency of
We will start with a checklist of some goals for upper
body performance. [example case] Mac currently has 20 pull-ups; he’s
going to have 40 in six months. Similarly, his handstand
push-ups will increase from 10 to 25, and consecutive
muscle-ups from 3 to 15. We might set ten or so goals
for Mac in this way. These goals should be past what Mac
has thought he would ever be capable of. He will achieve
these goals because fate has dealt him the specialist’s
hand and he will reap the specialist’s rewards.
Whatever potential development Mac missed by having
to forego the full range of workouts following his injury
is going to be replaced with skills that he was not likely
to have developed otherwise. The exact nature of the
tradeoff is necessarily blurred, as an unknown loss in
potential is exchanged for a measurable, valuable, and
potent adaptation attributable directly to the injury’s
effect on his training. Now that is rehab.
All that being said, I made a few goals for my “six-month-long intensive gymnastics program”. That included Skin the Cat. It was a few months before I could even work on them…but now, over the past month, I have excelled in ways I never thought possible.
Here’s a video of me having some fun at Open Gym on Sunday.
Not only can I skin the cat pretty damn good… I can also,
- – Knock out 5 kipping pull-ups with no band
- – Row 2k in 9 minutes
- – Bang out weighted GHD’s almost as good as Gregg
- – Eek out 2-3 (deep) ring dips (a necessity for the illusive muscle up!)
I miss the barbell. I miss weight lifting. But all that will come… in due time. For now… it’s just me and the rings….