An injury can really derail your exercise program. But luckily you can work around many injuries, you just have to be smart about it. A break in your humerus can be painful and can take weeks to heal. The humerus is the long bone of your upper arm, so you'll need to skip the upper body, but you may be able to still do some cardio, leg training and even some abs.
Before You Start
A broken humerus is painful, and there can also be swelling and bruising. Depending on where on your arm it is, you may be immobilized somewhat. If you want to exercise you need to talk to your doctor first. Go over your workouts and ask what you need to avoid, besides the obvious. Chances are that as long as it doesn't hurt your arm, you'll be able to do it. Ease back into exercise to see how you feel, and stop if you feel any increase in pain or discomfort.
With a humerus break non- to low-impact cardio is probably best, especially in the first few weeks. Walking, cycling or the elliptical are a few options. Start with as little as 10 minutes at a time, and slowly increase the duration of your workouts. Ideally you want to build to 30-minute sessions at a moderate to vigorous pace. Try to exercise three to five days per week. Start slow, see how you feel, then increase your intensity.
Lower Body Training
You can still work your legs even with a broken arm, but you're going to have to modify. Exercises such as squats, lunges and stepups require balance and holding the weights. It's best to leave these out as balancing will be harder with one arm, and you don't want to fall. Machines and plate-loaded equipment are a better choice right now. You can do leg presses, leg extensions, seated leg curls, inner and outer thigh, and even calf raises. Do one to three sets of eight to 12 reps with a challenging resistance. Work out two or three times each week on nonconsecutive days.
Stay off the ball and the floor for your ab training right now. It may be hard to get off the floor, and you don't want to fall off the ball. Instead use a stretch table or flat bench to get your abs done. You can do a basic crunch, reverse crunches, vertical leg crunches, and the lower body motion of the bicycle maneuver. If it doesn't jar your arm, or put pressure on it, try it. Do your abs at least three times a week, and do one to three sets of up to 20 reps each.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Humerus Fractures (Upper Arm)
Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.