Pause Reps for Gains During Injury (Athlete Journal 3)

Now that I’ve gotten back to strength training, I’m using pause reps to get the most out of my sessions.

The generalized Achilles tendon rupture rehab plan that I got at the hospital recommends waiting until the four-week mark before initiating open-chain active ankle dorsiflexion. However, when I saw the doctor, he said I could start actively pulling my toes towards my shin while laying on my back, but he said I should avoid any active plantarflexion.

So for now it’s active dorsiflexion, and a passive return to neutral. When I do this one, as demonstrated below, it feels like the most intense Achilles tendon stretch I’ve ever done in my life, and I can definitely tell when I’m at my limit.

Although ankle ROM is not recommended as this stage, I have been experimenting with slight eversion and inversion while on my back. I feel no tension in my Achilles tendon when I attempt this, and it definitely helps keep the swelling down. I do avoid movements that involve a full ankle ROM, such as toe circles.

The other exercise I’ve been using lately is a modified seated march. I ground my injured foot, lift my other foot, and activate my foot arch while shifting a little bit of weight into the injured side. This one was not prescribed by my physical therapist, but it feels like I’m accomplishing the same thing as some of the exercises that were prescribed.

For my strength training, I’ve been using a lot of pause reps so that I can use lighter weights but still get something out of my workout. For overhead kettlebell press, I took sixty percent of my one-rep-max (1RM) and pressed three full reps on each side, stopping halfway on the way up and on the way down, all from a seated position. I’ve also been using pause reps for my pull ups and pistol squats so that I can avoid any external resistance for now.