Today: Jul 08 , 2020

Fitness Quest: Broken Hand, Not a Broken Quest

30 May 2015  

Over the course of the first two weeks of having a broken right hand (and yes, I am right handed) I learned many things. Like you cannot pet a dog with a broken hand, or brush your teeth with your left hand without moving your head.

I also learned I really miss lifting.

On more than one occasion, I found myself missing exercise. As one who claims to loathe exercise, this was surprising; it literally had to be wretched from me in order for me to miss it. While I had suspected for sometime that CrossFit Prescott was calling me to return, never did the siren song play as loudly as it did after the break. For surely, one could not possibly "do CrossFit" with a broken hand. Or could they?

Joey Powell, owner and trainer at CrossFit Prescott, assured me that he could work around my injury, and welcomed me to drop by for a session. While delighted I would be able to return, my brain could not fathom just how I could workout without using my hand. Utilizing mostly free weights, I was curious to see what the man I had nicknamed "The Professor" would come up with.

One of the primary reasons I enjoyed CrossFit Prescott so much the prior month was the education on exercise, and the focus on staying healthy and injury-free. (Admittedly, I also enjoyed the lifting portion, too. There is something empowering to be draped with weights and still stand or push up.) I asked Joey his primary concerns when someone came to him with an injury.

"First, we have to rate the injury. Not to be simplistic, but is this a permanent injury or is it temporary? Is it something we can fix through strength conditioning means? Next, we decide if we will scale the dynamics of the exercise with changes in load, distance or time, do we adapt the exercise were we change the equipment, or do we need to modify the exercise? We look at the capabilities we have to strengthen them without stressing the injury."

I wanted to work with the weights, but without the ability to anchor with my hand, it took adaptation. Joey didn't want to put me in a position where I might automatically use my hand, so he took precautions to eliminate tripping and falling. I had been doing non-weight squats since my injury; Joey adapted a barbell with a safety handle, used chains instead of free weights and the monolift so that I wasn't stepping. The beauty of the chains was that the weight decreased as I squatted (and became less stable) and increased as I stood, providing more stability. It was only 65lbs total, but to have that weight on my shoulders felt right. With the safety bar I could hold on with my left, and use my right wrist to stabilize my right side. I pulled off 60 clean reps, delighted I could do something "normal."

The rest of my workout was abs and agility; again I learned that bracing my broken hand on my abdomen was more effective than holding it out to the side. My hand is not in a cast; I have a rare break that heals better uncasted. Holding it out the side jarred it; stabilizing it with my core eliminated the excess movement. Joey was very clear in teaching me proper movements in getting up and down off the floor - by making it part of the process he hoped to eliminate any accidental usage. I was surprised to find I could plank for 45 seconds (my new record, it used to be a mere 13 seconds!) and that my core work in Pilates helped in every exercise I executed. "We look at every person as an individual who walks through these doors," Joey shared. "Our average client is about 45, but we need to look at there biological age - what their individual body can handle. It's not about fitting them into our system, it's about us bringing out the best in them, and what they are capable of."

The next day, I woke up sore. I call it "deliciously sore." The workout I had craved (although tame for most) I had achieved, with a broken hand. Injury was not stopping me.

CrossFit Prescott / Praxis Athletics

3260 Tower Road, Suite C
Prescott, AZ

Phone: 928-277-0011


Katie Cornelius

Katie labels herself a Solutions Engineer; she is the creative powerhouse dedicated to supporting and growing small businesses in the Prescott area.  She spent the past twelve years working in sales training and business coaching, specializing in mom & pop shops.  Currently Katie is on a journey to get healthy after a severe concussion and some personal challenges.  Her corresponding blog, Fitness Quest, relates the quirky issues faced when following a  fitness program.  Finally, you can visit and coment on the Quest on Facebook.