Forums Fitness training Rhabdo?

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    So, I’ve done exactly one day of simplefit and this is my first post.

    On Monday I dstarted at D1L1. I knew I couldn’t do it w/o cheating because I can’t do an unassisted pull-up from a position where my arm is mostly outstretched. I decided to do jumping pullups at 3x=1. Jump/pull, slowly lower.

    I felt fine during the workout and felt just the right amount of tired by the end. No pain, no problem. (19 sets)

    Tuesday morning I woke up and couldn’t straighten either arm (after a rough nights sleep). My right was worse but my left was close. My lats and deltoids were sore too but nothing like the limited ROM in my elbow joint. I’ve been walking around with my arms bend at 90 degrees.

    I took a hot bath with Tylenol 3 on Wednesday and slept ok that night. I took note of odd swelling yesterday morning; mostly around the joint but it didn’t feel like the joint itself was inflamed. Also the swelling was puffy, like edema.

    Thursday was more of the same with significant increase in ROM. Friday a repeat of Thursday but with further ROM increase.

    I iced Thursday and today (Friday) and noticed today after icing that the swelling on my right forearm had moved forward a bit (toward my fingers) and subsided at the joint. After sitting with no pressure on it the swelling eventually went back to the way it had been. I assume lymph had been pushed out by the pressure of the ice then returned slowly after the pressure was removed.

    This is when I googled the symptoms and got freaked out by Rhabdo!

    Right now I have no real pain. Mild residual soreness as expected a few days after a “first in a while” workout. Nothing (including the swollen area) is tender to the touch. I can now extend my right arm from 90 to about 170 degrees (nearly fully extended). Its the swelling/edema that has me concerned. It covers from the lower part of my bicep/tricep area to about mid-forearm; its not extreme but it is swollen enough to see and it visibly reduced the contours of the bony part of my elbow. I feel physically fine. No fever; foggy headedness; confusion; etc. Also, my urine is clean and only very slightly yellow.

    I know this isn’t the place for medical advice but I figured I’d at least make a log of this happening and see if anyone had anything to say about it. The internet anecdotes I read ranged from “oh, I had that for a few days and it went away” to “dude, go to the ER before your kidney’s fail”. No insurance or I’d make a casual trip to my doc. Right now my plan is to just keep an eye on the swelling as well as the color of my urine and react if things change.


    Go see a doctor before working out again.


    Any number of things could be causing it. Problem is you need an exam. someone needs to look at you and determine a cause. However, in general if your this far out and it is getting better you are more likely to not have rhabdo but you need to be certain. If you choose not to see one (I highly recommend you do) icing and rest with an NSAID such as motrin or naprosyn is the orthopedic recommendation usually assuming you have no intolerances to that type of medication. Main thing is to take it easy, rest, hydrate till your urine is running clear to very light yellow. Eat well and monitor the things you were told to look out for.

    I would not recommend a jump into an exercise program (at least for the first 2 weeks) doing jumping pullups and negatives. It certainly is a very good way to improve pullups but you need to remember that if you haven’t done this activity before or it’s been a long time, you need to condition your tendons, muscles, and ligaments to do it. Unfortunately, for most folks, that means slow restricted movements making sure your doing the exercise properly for a couple weeks. You will see a greater payoff in the long run by learning to do it correctly versus starting out wrong and getting injured later. My personal opinion is body rows are the best way to start out if you can’t do a pullup and your just a beginner. Give it a try and see.


    Thanks for the response Bri.

    As of today my swelling/edema is completely gone and I only have the faintest residual stiffness (wouldn’t notice it if I wasn’t looking for it).

    I pretty much followed your advice by my own intuition. I had to work, etc but I took it easy on my arms. I iced first when I thought it was “sore muscles” but stopped later. I took Ibuprofen/Motrin until I read about Rhabdo then stopped since I know that ibuprofen is cleared by the kidneys (I didn’t want to put any extra stress on them in case it truly was Rhabdo). I drank tons of water with the express goal of ensuring that my urine was as clear as possible. I hate not having health insurance. I’d have been to the doctor already if I had it.

    re: jumping in to a program. That is solid advice without a doubt and I’m a bit embarrassed that I let this happen. Now a bit tentative about getting back into it, which I guess is a good thing; it’ll slow me down. Do you think elastic bands are a safer way to work up to pullups (the type you hang over the bar and put under your knee) once I feel like I’ve done enough body rows?

    Also, how about a rowing machine swapped in for some of my normal hill walking? It seems like that might toughen my arms up to the repetitive motion. Any thoughts?


    If your planning on doing body rows I think they will certainly help your arms get stronger. Bands will too but I bet that after you have been doing the body rows for a few months or possibly even less you’ll likely graduate straight to regular pullups. You’ll be suprised how hard they can actually get. I would suggest sticking with those alone and completely subbing the pullups with them. Once you hit level five or so see where your at with regular pullups. Take a day just to try one and see if your completing it correctly without a huge amount of effort. Huge for me was sticking on the pullup somewhere and having to struggle up to the bar. If your still seeing that on one pullup I’d continue on with the body rows till you hit lvl 8. Then try again. I’ll be very suprised if you go to do L1D1 with regular pullups after getting to level 8 on body rows and can’t complete some regular pullups.

    If you want to do the bands or other types of methods such as ‘greasing the groove’ I thinkit will help as well but I would stick with one thing for the actual workout. Remember this is about keeping it simple. When I first started I did a greasing the groove program where every time I walked through my garage I did a pullup or two except for on D1 D2 or D3. it helped some but you may want to just start with the 3 days for about a month or so.


    I’ll second the previous recommendations to get into this slowly. I would recommend focusing first on getting into the workout habit. Do whatever substitutions are required to make this very easy. Then just focus on getting in your easy reps and the time. After a few weeks you’ll start feeling anxious to push the work a little more. If you get into a solid habit of dedicating the little bit of time it takes to this program the muscle gains will come along later. At this stage keeping the motivation going and staying injury-free is the critical thing.

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