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Maintaining fitness while recovering from some of the major workout injuries can be a real challenge. However, there still are many options and ways for you to work out on a daily basis. There are four major groups of muscle injury. Knowing exactly which type of injury you are dealing with is the key to knowing which exercises to do while you are recovering from those injuries.

Leg and Knee Injuries

Almost every endurance exercise requires you to extend your knee point. Developing a new routine might be frustrating, but that’s what you need to do if you want to maintain fitness even while you’re recovering from an injury. Some of the great options are one-legged cycling, kayaking, or using an upper-body ergometer. Swimming is also a great alternative if you use a pull buoy so that you won’t have to be kicking or using your legs.

These two circuit training routines, in particular, might be very helpful:

Circuit 1:

  • Do this routine on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • Perform every exercise for about 30-60 seconds and rest for about 15 seconds in between
  • Repeat the whole circuit three or four times
  • Make sure you warm up thoroughly before the exercise
  • Do pull-ups or assisted pull-ups
  • Don’t skip the chest press
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Do the overhead press

Circuit 2:

  • Perform this routine on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
  • Do every exercise for 30-60 seconds and once again rest for 15 seconds
  • Repeat the workout 3 or 4 times
  • Warm up before the exercise
  • Seated Russian Twist
  • Ab Crunch
  • V-Sit ab exercise

Elbow and Shoulder Injuries

Elbow and shoulder injuries, unlike the previous ones, still allow the possibility for doing the traditional cardio since the lower body part can still be exercised fully. Some of the possible exercises you can do while you’re recovering from an elbow or shoulder injury are walking, stair climbing, stationary (hands-free) cycling, and the elliptical trainer.

Not only that, but circuit training routines can help you maintain strength and power in muscles and joints which are not injured. The following circuit routine is one of the best one to do when healing from shoulder injuries:

  • Perform every exercise for about 30 or 60 seconds and allow yourself to rest for about 15 seconds in between those exercises
  • Repeat the circuit 3 or 4 times
  • Warm up before the exercise
  • Do the stationary cycling for 2 minutes at a moderate pace, followed by 2 minutes of cycling at a higher intensity
  • Leg Press
  • Elliptical trainer for 2 minutes at a moderate pace and 2 minutes at a bit higher intensity
  • Ab Crunch
  • Walking Lunge
  • Low Back Extensions
  • Treadmill walking for 2 minutes at a moderate pace and 2 minutes at a higher intensity
  • Wall Sit

Ankle and Foot Injuries

In the case of ankle and foot injuries, there are still many exercises you can do. However, make sure to first consult with the doctor or turn to professionals such as sport focus podiatry to get proper feet treatment before doing any exercises on your own. When it comes to exercises you can try using the rowing machine, a stationary bike with one leg, or swimming.

Circuit training is a great option here too. The sample of this one workout is something you can do in your local gym:

  • Perform the circuit workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • Warm up
  • Do each exercise for 30 or 60 seconds and rest for about 15 seconds
  • Repeat the workout 3 or 4 times
  • Leg Extension Machine
  • Chest Press
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Overhead Press
  • Seated Cable Rows
  • Stability Ball Push-Up
  • Ab ‘Bicycle’ Crunches
  • Hanging Leg Raise

Low Back Injuries

Back injuries are especially difficult to recover from. You first need to talk to your doctor and determine the specific type of back injury you have. You need to determine your limitations before you start working out. Some of the safe options are walking, swimming, or recumbent cycling.

In order to start the following circuit, you first need to get your doctor or physical therapist to sign off.

  • Perform this circuit workout routine Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • Warm up before starting the workout
  • Repeat the exercises 3 or 4 times
  • Do the non-bearing cardio on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for about 30 to 60 minutes
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Overhead Press
  • Leg Extension Machine
  • Wall Sit


In conclusion, if you are healing from any major muscle injuries such as back injuries, feet injuries, knee or leg injuries, don’t worry. You don’t have to completely skip your workouts. There are still numerous ways for you to maintain fitness. The most important thing is that you first determine which injuries you are dealing with and then do the exercises according to your body’s needs and limitations.

Ryan Faucher

I'm a web designer and kettlebell enthusiast on a quest to lose fat, build muscles and live a healthier lifestyle. I truly believe that exercising with kettlebells in conjunction with dieting is the most effective and efficient way to reach this goal. If you have the will and motivation, there is no reason you can't do the same.
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