After a training injury sidelined KnuckleUp Fitness instructor Peter Alexander with a nasty ruptured pectoral tendon, getting back to business in the gym was only a matter of time. Three months following surgery to, as Alexander says, “bolt [the tendon] back on,” I sat down with him to discuss how he’s doing and some of the ways he’s used exercise to get himself back to the training classroom.
“I’ve got range of motion back; now I’m just starting to work on strength of all the supporting structures around it.”
Alexander has been doing resistance band routines to increase the strength of the connective tissue and range of motion with the end goal being more functional tissue. He will need it as he returns to full body movements in his training classes, which include: boxing, kickboxing and Capoeira.
Working with trainer Alex Roman on the special challenge of having a severely reduced range of motion helped to facilitate Alexander’s recovery as well as improve his level of fitness in other areas.
“It was tough. I did lose a lot of strength and flexibility, but it did allow me to get much better at my kicks. I spent a month-and-a-half just working at, not even a full kick, but just different chambering drills for like a traditional Tae Kwon Do standpoint.”
I asked Alexander to explain, in layman’s terms, the practice of chambering.
“When you break down a kick, it’s one of the steps to throw a kick or essentially like a cocked position with your leg. For instance with a sidekick, you don’t throw the sidekick from the ground in a straight line up to your opponent. You bring the sidekick up to your hip height and you chamber it, so that way whenever you throw it, you throw it straight from your hip to your opponent and then bring it right back to that chambered position like a piston. You bring it up, right out and right back in and it allows you to set up multiple kicks that way with a good amount of power, too. From that chamber you can throw a sidekick, a roundhouse, a hook kick…it’s really hard to figure out where the kick’s coming once it gets to that same position every time.”
Aside from improving his range of motion with resistance band training and his kicks with chambering drills, Alexander also continued practicing yoga as best he could through the physical limitations of recovery.
“Just the physical practice of yoga in general [has been disconnected], but I’ve still been really trying to work on the mind-body development. Yoga gives me a better understanding of my body, my mind…I feel more in tune with my everyday life from school…to practicing martial arts. It really brings a lot of great benefits.”
With the injury now behind him and recovery an active work in progress, I asked Alexander how it feels to be back to teaching, training and fitness and if there are any lessons he has learned that he can now pass along to his students.
“I’m definitely excited to come back and teach. The biggest thing I’ve learned from coming back from this injury is the value of being patient with my training. You don’t have to be in any rush or concern yourself with the length of plateaus in your training. It’s ok to sit back and enjoy the process of learning new skills and making your body and mind stronger.