About two months ago, Starting Strength shared a video about my client, Claire, who has cerebral palsy. Here is her video:
The end of September, on Friday, September 27, 2019, Claire had surgery on her left ankle, the one affected by her cerebral palsy. She had been putting off this surgery for years but the arthritis was getting worse and she was having more and more difficulty walking. She decided that now that she was a stronger, although it was going to be a long recovery, it was better to take care of this now. Her biggest concern going into the surgery? Missing her training sessions. She was determined to get back in here as soon as she was cleared to start moving more. And three weeks after the surgery, she was back in the gym. She will most likely need to have another surgery again but until then, we will do everything we can to keep her moving.
So, what can she do, you may ask? Well, we are limited in lower body exercises so we are focusing our attention on the upper body. On her first day back, we did a few seated landmine presses and band rows, which she had already been doing. The landmine presses were challenging but by her second day, she was back into a rhythm. After each exercise, she does laps around the gym on her scooter (she cannot use crutches so she is working with a “Roll About.”) Getting off and on the scooter is a workout in itself because every time she gets off the scooter, she has to lower herself to the bench on one leg, supporting herself on one arm and on the scooter. And when she has to get off the bench to get back on the scooter, she has also gets off the bench with one leg, using her right arm to support herself as she stands up and uses the left hand on the scooter to balance. It is quite impressive. We spent one of her sessions practicing getting off and on the scooter, figuring out how to do it smoother and smoother so as to not upset her right knee, the good leg.
She wanted to know if she could still bench so on her third day back, we got her set up under the bar. We propped her left leg up on a stool and bam! She’s benching. Nothing to it. I also had her standing on her good leg her first day back and doing side leg lifts and standing kickbacks. Two days later, she saw her physical therapist. When she came in the next time, she showed me her PT exercises. Two of the exercises were exactly what we had done the first day she came in, the standing work. I gloated for a bit and added two additional exercises to her routine, leg lifts and adductor work.
We wrap up her session with seated sled drags. She does great with this exercise as the rope is pretty thick and her hands are small. We are also starting to work with her walker and build up her confidence so that she is okay with putting a little bit of weight on her foot. The most important thing that Claire has going for her is her attitude. She is going to continue to make great progress because she knows how important her strength program is for her body, mind and recovery.