I've been laid up over the last week or so with a NASTY, NASTY ankle injury. Not quite sure how I managed to strain it, but long story short - I woke up last Tuesday morning with a throbbing pain in my left ankle (not quite unmanageable, but pretty painful in certain spots), and a right ankle that hurt somewhat if I put pressure on it.
Big deal, huh. I've been doing a lot of boxing style roadwork these days, so it's probably just tiredness, sore ankles, right? Best to just get on with things and "tough it out"?
WRONG - let's just say I went for my workout Wednesday, and returned home with a right ankle that was almost impossible to walk upon - and which later got so painful I'd literally howl in agony if someone even lightly TOUCHED the area. That's right - just a gentle TOUCH was that painful.
And being the genius that I can be sometimes, I ended up trying to tough that out as well - and went for a gentle walk the next day. Long story short, BOTH my ankles were shot after that - I spent most of last week in severe pain and hobbling about, mostly in bed. I've had sprained ankles and injuries before - but nothing quite compared to THIS pain. YOW!
Anyhow, there's a lesson for you that I keep talking about, and sometimes don't follow myself - that being, the body is giving us signals all the time, and sometimes we pay no heed to them - and thus reap what we sow. I did get back to my usual workout today after a week's lay off, but boy was that a painful reminder of what I should have done, which was to lay off both feet immediately the moment I felt serious pain.
The other thing I'd like to mention is that we hear a lot about the R.I.C.E method of treating a sprained/injured ankle, which is basically rest, ice, compression and elevation. The rest, compression and elevation worked great for me, but for some reason soaking my foot in a hot water solution of epsom salt/water worked better for me than the ice treatment. Not knocking the ice at all, but for those of you that don't seem to respond well to ice treatment, there's another alternative there.
And now, on to the other point - that being, what NOT to do while doing the hanging leg raise.
First, eliminate ANY and ALL momentum during the movement. I cannot stress the importance of this enough - an extremely tough bodyweight exercise for the entire core is reduced to a mere "swinging" exercise on the bar if you allow momentum to do the work. "Kipping" reps may be great to show off, but the slow, steady and controlled reps are what get the job done, and the hurting going in the abdominal region - which is a GOOD thing!
Second, know that there are many ways of skinning a cat, especially if your starting out in this advanced movement. While touching your toes to the bar is great, you may not be at a point where you can do that. Heck, even getting to a 90 degree hold might be tough for you - so do what you can, and progress from there. What you don't want to do though is "swing" your way up to a position you couldn't get up to normally - you'll only end up injuring yourself.
Third, and last - this movement can be tough on the shoulders, so warm up thoroughly and make sure your shoulders/grip can take the load before you jump into it.
And thats about it for that one - it's a great exercise - and produces great results, but only if trained ever so correctly.
And so it goes at Fast and Furious HQ, feeling GOOD after my workout today. Here's to many more!!
PS: For more on the hanging leg raise, and other core blasters, check out Fast and Furious Fitness.