Physical Therapy & The Home Gym

Home Gym Success: Create Your Vision

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.

Earl Nightingale

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Physical Therapy and the Home Gym

… How My Home Gym Expedited My Recovery from Surgery

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After having a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing surgery in August, 2010, my home gym proved to be an invaluable asset in my post-surgical recovery process. Kudos also goes to Dr. Michael Clarke, the masterful orthopedic surgeon who performed the surgery brilliantly, without a hitch. I was home after spending only two days in the hospital. Thank God! Believe me, even though I had received excellent care at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, I could not wait to get home. Two days was plenty.

Throughout my physical therapy career, I have treated numerous patients who had undergone hip surgeries. I discovered that I would much rather be the therapist than the patient….it’s a lot less painful. Nonetheless, I had an agenda to rock my rehabilitation like no one has ever done before.

Dr. Clarke supported my decision to take care of my own rehab. In addition to the typical total hip replacement precautions, the only other restriction that he gave me was to limit my lifting to 50 pounds in the standing position. He did not want me to exceed transmitting this amount of weight onto my new hip for 6 months.

Patience has never been one of my strong points, and I was eager to make a full recovery so that I could get back to normal ASAP. The home gym was a tremendous resource for several reasons. First of all, the thought of getting in and out of a car to go to an out-patient physical therapy clinic was a drag at that time, due to the normal post-surgical pain and hip movement precautions, not to mention the dizzying combination of medications that I was taking. It was a great advantage to have the home gym right upstairs. I could run…or limp as it was…up there and get to work at my convenience.

My goals reached far beyond merely getting my hip back into shape. I was eager to get back into my entire workout which I had missed for a while due to the surgery and hospital stay. The home gym provided me with the versatility that I needed to address all of the exercises that I wanted to do for all muscle groups with respect to the hip precautions and the 50 pound weight limit. It was very easy to substitute other exercises in place of the ones that would violate the precautions. One example that comes to mind is with standing bicep curls because the weight that I normally use for this exceeded my 50 pound limit. It was no problem to substitute other biceps exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, seated dumbbell curls, and seated preacher curls. You can do a variety of different exercises even if your home gym is relatively simple. As long as you have a few upper & lower pulleys and a bench at your disposal, you will not be lacking choices.

Other exercises that I had to avoid were standing squats and heel raises on the leg machine. I like using this machine but once again, the substitution of other exercises was simple. I was able to work all of the involved leg muscles by using a leg extension/leg curl machine and the lower pulleys with some weight and ankle straps. The heel raises had to be done with lighter weight for a while. This was no big deal.

I am happy to say that the good doctor lifted my 50 pound limit at the 6 month post-operative mark. It is nice to have the freedom to use all machines and weights without any limitation again. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to work around my condition with a versatile home gym. It can be a useful addition to a home, and it does not have to cost a lot.

Please feel free to share your home gym success stories. We can inspire each other.

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