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Author Topic: Don't strength train too fast! (My hernia)  (Read 124 times)

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Offline Query

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Don't strength train too fast! (My hernia)
« on: August 04, 2017, 04:18:25 AM »
As I have posted elsewhere on this forum, I have recently been diagnosed with an Inguinal (lower abdominal/groin) hernia.

A hernia occurs when internal organs escape the containment of your muscle walls - e.g., abdominal muscles. Almost everything we do in ice skating can create hernias. It often happens when you try to increase your strength.

If you have any bulges near muscles (e.g., abdominal muscles), you should probably go to a doctor to get it checked out. There does not need to be any pain or other symptoms. (Some types of hernias don't even create any bulges, but I have no idea how you find those.)

They can be very dangerous if untreated. And if like me, you enjoy physical activity, they can be devastating to your lifestyle, at least until you get surgery and heal.

Ice skaters are constantly told to bend our knees deeper. We are supposed to be able to go down and back up again into a one legged squat - which in effect means that we should be able to leg press more than twice our weight with two legs (equivalent to more than our weight with one leg). If we jump, we need to be considerably stronger - one book I read said we should be able to leg press 3 times our weight (i.e., 1.5 times our weight on each leg - note that you need about the same strength to take off as to land).

But I couldn't even do a deep one legged squat. E.g., if I went into a shoot-the-duck or sit-spin position, I couldn't do it in a controlled fashion, nor could I come back up on one leg.

So, over the past 8 months, I have been doing deliberate strength training. While I haven't done much in the way of free weight lifting (only a few pounds, with dumbbells), but I have done squats, leg presses, running, and some jumping, stair climbs - nothing unusual for a figure skater. I also worked a lot on ice on spins, which start with a small one legged squats. I did a few bunny hops, waltz jumps, and worked on half-loops and half-flips on-ice. I had stopped even trying to do full rotation jumps.

I still wasn't up to doing a one legged squat to much depth.

I have never specifically strength trained before. Apparently 8 months of this was too fast.

I'm 5'4" and about 140 pounds. My "ideal weight", according to classic formula for the general public, would be about 126 pounds - if I weren't doing athletic things. My current weight might be reasonable if the difference was muscle, but I admit it is mostly fat. Based on leg presses, I still couldn't one-leg press my ideal weight either.

And, with the hernia, I will probably have to stop skating, and training, almost completely. I haven't talked to the surgeon yet, but I figure simple EASY stroking is more or less like walking - and is probably somewhat safe. Anything else is probably out. In fact most athletic activities, even simple hiking, are probably out. I'll probably have to become a vegetable, for a while, at least.

AFAICT, from the Internet, hernias are mostly caused by trying to become stronger too fast - e.g., lifting more than you are "comfortable" lifting. Doctors advice never pushing yourself to your limit.  But these are exactly the type of thing you do to become stronger

I didn't think I was overdoing it - I planned to do it over a year or two. I knew about not overstressing bones, muscles and ligaments, and I did my best not to break or tear those. I didn't know about hernias. Apparently, it often happens when the outer abdominal muscles are not strong enough to contain the strain created by the inner muscles - I think, though I'm no expert.

So be careful. Go up very slowly in strength. Maybe, you can't make up for a lifetime of neglect in a year or two. Maybe especially if you are, like me, about 60 years old, though younger athletes get hernias too.

Males my age are often advised to get tested for colon and prostate cancer. I did, 3 years ago. Some Internet sites suggest the surgical incisions needed for biopsies can make you vulnerable to hernias, by weakening abdominal walls. I plan to ask my surgeon whether that might be a factor here, and whether there was anything I should have done about it.

Offline Clarice

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Re: Don't strength train too fast! (My hernia)
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 07:14:23 AM »
And maybe you were just going to get one eventually anyway. My husband did, and he's not especially athletic. They fixed it, he's fine. I'm sure you will be, too.

Offline Query

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Re: Don't strength train too fast! (My hernia)
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 08:27:27 PM »
Maybe. My brother had one at about the same age. But he too loves doing athletic things.