“My shoulder injury made me complete an Ironman” Marco Toldbod, CrossFit Aalborg, DK

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Name: Marco Lyngsø Toldbod

Age: 23

Country: Danmark.

Gym: CrossFit Aalborg 


Previous CrossFit competitions: CFAA Challenge 2010 #1, DCO 2011 (#6 i think?), Butchers “Stronger” challenge (#4 I think, teams of 3), CFAA Challenge 2011 (had to withdraw after the 4th WOD with my shoulder injury, leading the competition)

I started doing CrossFit in 2010, the very same year I won my first competition. Before that I’ve tried a lot of different sports, ranging from football to MMA.

My injury:

I was participating in our annual challenge at the gym. I was neck-to-neck with a few tough dudes from the gym when starting on WOD 4. While I was doing my last reps of overhead squats, I was about to lose the bar in front of me on the last rep, and while I tried to hold on to the bar, my shoulder popped out and went back in place again. I then did the last rep and ran the last 400 meters. When I finished the workout I could feel that my shoulder wasn’t as “tight” as it used to be. I had a physiotherapist who was at the gym look at my shoulder, and he counted me out.

Three weeks after that, with my shoulder in a collar, I was sent to the hospital for a MR-scan. They found severe damages which needed surgery. Also, they told me that my shoulder would not be the same again, and they didn’t know if it could handle the stress of CrossFit ever again.

I had surgery in the shoulder on the 21th of June, 2011. The next 6-8 weeks I had to wear a collar at all times, fixating my shoulder. After that period I was allowed to start slow rehabilitation of my shoulder at a physiotherapist. The process was very slow, and all I could think about was just to get started training again. As time went by, I found out that i wouldn’t be able to do CrossFit again for at least a year, so I started looking for other goals to accomplish. The same year my dad finished a Ironman race (3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and 42.2 km run). I said to myself, that if CrossFit wasn’t an option anymore, I wanted to do an IronMan. I had a chat with my surgeon and physiotherapist about it, and they gave me thumbs up, as long as i looked after my shoulder in the swim training.

The next 12 months i didnt do any weight training for the shoulders at all. I went from weighing 83 kg to 73 kg. In august this year i participated in Challenge Copenhagen, which is a full-distance IronMan race, and finished in 10 hours and 47 minutes.

After the race i took one months rest and started doing CrossFit again slowly.

I chose Wendler 5/3/1 as my starting program to get some allround strength. Therefore i went for max lift the first week in Backsquat, deadlift, benchpress and shoulderpress.

Backsquat: 130 kg.

Deadlift: 140 kg.

Benchpress: 100 kg.

Press: 55 kg.

I’ve been training for 3 months now and I’m steadily moving forward in my lifts. My lifts are currently like this:

Backsquat: 150 kg

Deadlift: 200 kg.

Benchpress: 130 kg.

Press: 70 kg.

Clean & Jerk: 105 kg.

I’m still not comfortable performing the snatch due to the lack of mobility and strength in my shoulder, therefore im not really training that particular exercise. Although I’m still doing every assisting exercise to snatch that i am capable of doing.

What have i learned from being injured?

I’ve learned that it’s not always the one who trains the most, that wins. Listen to your body and take that extra restday if that’s what you need. Work on your mobility and stability in the joints. If you happen to get injured, dont lose your hope, find a substitution to CrossFit while you are rehabilitating from your injury and keep training the things which you are still capable of doing. Do not overtrain! Ask your coaches for advices on training programs, methods etc.


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