Few injuries are as annoying as a sprained ankle, but there are several workout options for athletes who suffer from a sprained ankle. Sprained ankles are generally not serious enough to require extensive medical care, but workouts such as running, walking and cycling are out of the question. You can, however, engage in strength training and even some upper body cardio. Here are workout ideas for athletes with a sprained ankle.
The first thing to do is assess your fitness level. Are you a weekend warrior or everyday exerciser? Is your body fat below 10% or do you have trouble doing 10 sit-ups? Also, just because you're an elite runner doesn't mean you can make up the difference with upper body workouts. You'll risk injuring yourself if you do. Don't think a sprained ankle means you can suddenly dive right into strength training. With these safety considerations in mind, you should be able to get a solid workout in even with a sprained ankle.
To be effective, seated aerobics should be rhythmical and performed for about 30 minutes. The punch is often done in kickboxing classes. Clench your fists and lift them into the air in front of your face, as if you're guarding against a punch. Pretend that you're throwing a punch straight out in front of you. During the exercises, twist your torso as you punch. You can also punch out to the sides. Be careful not to extend your elbows out completely. Keep them slightly bent at the end of the punch to prevent injuring your elbow joint.
You can also pump your arms over your head. Lift your arms so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, with your palms and forearms facing forward. Thrust your arms straight into the air and bring them back down as quickly as you can without risking injury. Again, don't over extend your elbows.
If your sprained ankle allows, kick your legs out in front of you while doing either the punch or the pump exercises. The more movement you add with your limbs, the better the workout. But don't stress your ankle. The last thing you want to do is aggravate or worsen the injury while doing seated aerobics.
You can also add weights to these workouts depending on your level of fitness.
Circuit Training Without Running
Regular circuit training is too intense for a sprained ankle, but you can modify the routine by eliminating the jogging and biking. Instead, simply go from exercise to exercises as quickly as possible. Use lighter weights so you can do more repetitions. The movement of your arms will help get your heart rate up.
Begin your modified circuit with the bench press. Then move on to the military press, pull-ups, tricep extensions, bicep curls and lat pull downs. You can add in abdominal work between exercises to give your arms a needed rest.
Sprained ankles can take a long time to heal and you really don't want to rush the healing process. After a week or so of circuit training, you may be ready for traditional strength training. The exercises will be much the same as what you used in circuit training. Try targeting specific muscle groups. Your sprained ankle could be the start of serious strength training that leaves you toned and firm.
One thing to keep in mind with either circuit or strength training is that you should probably use weight machines instead of free weights. With free weights, you'll need to balance the weight as you perform the exercises. This has the potential to stress your ankle. Weight machines balance the weight for you, so you can concentrate on simply lifting the weight.
Of course, ab workouts are always a great exercise if you have a sprained ankle. But don't just do crunch after crunch. Vary your routine as much as possible. Get an inflated ab workout ball to keep it interesting. Be careful of exercises that could cause you to roll off the ball. Also be cautious about ab exercises that could stress your ankle, such as the plank. Pilates is a fantastic way to work out your core. Most Pilates exercises do not involve the ankle at all.
Rowing machines can be a great way to get a cardio workout. However, if you have a severe ankle sprain, this workout may not be for you. If your sprain is mild, just be sure to gauge how your ankle's feeling during the workout. A rowing machine is non-impact, but it does require your legs to move. Your ankle will be fairly immobile, and your arms do virtually all the work. A rowing machine also could be used as your ankle is recovering, in order to get it used to some activity.