Will Flash

How to Make a Comeback After an Injury

Will Flash
By Neil Toussaint | March 5, 2022

Making a comeback to tricking can seem overwhelming, especially after a serious injury. And the constant world’s firsts and viral tricking clips on Instagram don’t help, either—they only highlight the huge distance between where you are and where you want to be. 

So as both a Doctor of Physical Therapy and tricking athlete who has been through a few setbacks, I wanted to share my personal and professional experience in returning from injury. 

The first step is to make sure that you have no serious conditions. A good rule of thumb is that if you are concerned about your pain or issue, and are seeing little to no improvement, it may be time to seek medical evaluation.

Clear signs to seek attention include:
● Suspected sprains, strains, or tears (moderate to severe)
● Suspected breaks
● Loss of sensation or motor function
● Moderate to severe pain or discomfort, even at rest
● Unexplainable symptoms
● Your injury affects your life (ability to work, travel, or socialize) 

might wanna get that checked out.

If none of that applies to you (nice!), you need to make sure that you are both mentally and physically ready to return to tricking by asking yourself the following questions. Either seriously think about or write down your answers and see what you come up with!

1) Do you believe that you are mentally and physically ready to return to tricking?

2) Do you have a plan for continuing to rehab and prevent future injury not only to this area, but to your whole body?

3) Do you have a plan for holding yourself accountable during:

  • Low motivation days
  • Flare-ups or setbacks
  • When you feel 100% but still need to keep conditioning

4) Have you pinpointed why the injury happened in the first place, and what you can do to avoid
this in the future?

  • Examples: physical limitations, overuse, poor technique, progressing too rapidly

If you answered “yes” to these 4 questions, you are in a great head space! If not, it’s time for additional research and reflection, and this article will help. Putting you through a complete physical exam would be difficult to do in this article, but we have listed some areas to look at when testing yourself.

Wait 'till you try it on your other side...

It is critical that we have near-symmetrical function, or limb symmetry, on one side versus the other. In the physical therapy world, any difference between sides of over 10% is considered an injury risk. 

The more asymmetry there is between sides, the more likely we are to be injured. So look for symmetry between sides in the following areas. 

Under each area, we have included one example exercise in the case of a knee injury or issue, with a link to a helpful video from the Trickstrong Instagram page.

● Power – your rate of force production

If there’s good symmetry between your injured and non-injured limbs, you’re on the right track! However, it is difficult to imitate the direction, intensity, and real-time forces you experience during tricking without actually doing it. 

So progress slowly and intelligently in your return, taking weeks, if not months to build back to 100%. Progressing back into tricking is an art of its own. It takes patience, dedication, and long-term thinking. It’s so easy to get short-sighted and immediately go for your best tricks, but it cannot be stressed enough that the body will require time to adapt to the unique stresses that tricking places on it. 

You want to return with confidence, while at the same time with respect for physiological healing time

almost there!

Here is an example plan for someone who has been away from tricking for 2 months due to Jumper’s Knee, but has now passed all of the above tests without pain or limitation. This person has the goal of Tricking 3 times per week without issues.

Week 1:
● 1 Light to Moderate Tricking Session
● 1 Moderate to Heavy Strength Session
● 1 Light to Moderate Plyometric Training (focusing on takeoff and landing technique)
● Mobility work throughout week as needed (large mobility restrictions will need daily work)

Week 2:
● 1 Moderate Tricking Session
● 1 Moderate to Heavy Strength Session
● 1 Light to Moderate Plyometric Training (focusing on takeoff and landing technique)
● Mobility work throughout week as needed (large mobility restrictions will need daily work)

Week 3:
● 1 Light Tricking Session
● 1 Moderate Tricking Session
● 1 Moderate to Heavy Strength Session
● Mobility work throughout week as needed (large mobility restrictions will need daily work)

Week 4-5:
● 2 Moderate Tricking Sessions
● 1 Moderate to Heavy Strength Session
● Mobility work throughout week as needed (large mobility restrictions will need daily work)

Week 6-7:
● 1 Light Tricking Session
● 2 Moderate Tricking Sessions
● 1 Moderate to Heavy Strength Session
● Mobility work throughout week as needed (large mobility restrictions will need daily work)

Week 8-10:
● 2-3 Moderate Tricking Sessions (monitor recovery between sessions)
● 1 Moderate to Heavy Strength Session
● Mobility work throughout week as needed (large mobility restrictions will need daily work)

Week 10-12:
● 2 Light to Moderate Tricking Sessions
● 1 Heavy Tricking Session
● 1 Moderate to Heavy Strength Session
● Mobility work throughout week as needed (large mobility restrictions will need daily work)

And so on, meeting the eventual goal of being able to trick hard 3 times per week. If things aren’t going as well as you had hoped in one of the areas above, that’s OK! You now have a very powerful tool: awareness. 

By knowing exactly where you are limited, you can address and improve upon those limitations, and in time, get back to killing the session.

need more help finding your way?

And if you feel like you need more guidance in this area, check out my performance and recovery platform TrickStrong RX. My partner Han and I have combined our experience as both tricking athletes and Doctors of Physical Therapy to create a catalog of programs, podcasts, anatomy tutorials, mindset videos, workshops, and more.

Whether you check out RX or not, I hope you can apply the knowledge above and get back to the session stronger, faster, and more prepared. Good luck!

Neil Toussaint is the founder of TrickStrong. He is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy passionate about tricking, performing arts, health & wellness, travel, friends and content creation.
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This Is How I Wrecked Myself

By Jeremy Price | june 22, 2021

[Warning: This post contains a few graphic images.]

“Okay so, it’s kind of like martial arts, gymnastics, and breakdancing put together,” I said. I was giving my usual speech about what tricking is, but this time it was different. This time, my tricking future was hanging in the balance.

Hand paused over an iPad for taking notes, my assigned physical therapist looked at me with a kind of blank stare. Naturally, she had no idea what the fuck I was talking about.

“I sort of need to like, land on one foot,” I said, “from a flip, I mean. And then I need to swing through with my other foot, and do another flip.” At this point I just pulled out my phone to show her a video. She was impressed, but still visibly puzzled.

“Sure,” she said. “I… think I can get you back in action.” Looking down at my surgically repaired left ankle, I realized that neither one of us really believed that.

A few months earlier, I had sustained the worst injury of my life. And to be fair, it was kind of my fault. It was August of 2015, and I was at a tricking session in Nashville, Tennessee. Up until that day, I had been wearing athletic tape to support my left ankle for quite a while. It had endured a ton of sprains and strains over the previous couple of years, and I figured that with some combination of rest, tape, and extra caution, it would eventually get back to normal.

And well, today it felt normal! It felt so good, in fact, that I decided to train with no tape whatsoever. Especially because on that day, the gym was having a bit of an event for young gymnastics students and their parents to come watch the trickers. Emboldened by their cheers, I also decided to go for a double cork. And why not? I had landed plenty of them before, and even though it had been a while, I was feeling like hot shit, what with my tapeless ankle and all.

I go for one—so close! Made it to hands and feet, a good sign. And then I go for a second one. I was soaring… See, I knew I’d nail this. I ready my legs for the landing and—


It was like the sound you hear when someone cracks your back really well—except it was in my ankle. And it was agony.


I was carried into a back room, where my ankle ballooned into something purple and unrecognizable. The gym owner stuck my foot in a bucket of ice and left the room, and that’s when I let it all out. I cried like a baby—from the searing physical pain of course, but also from the fear that I’d never trick again. Did I just fuck myself up for life?

Hours later, I finally arrived at the ER and got an X-ray. The doctor checked the images, then came in and gave me the news: “Looks fine,” he said. “Probably just a bad sprain.”

I stared at him. “I really think there’s something wrong,” I said slowly. “I get sprains all the time. This feels different.”

But no matter what I said, he remained confident. And like the dumb piece of shit I am, I believed him.

For the next two months, I continued life as usual. I walked to class, got wasted at parties, even moshed a bit at a metal show. The ankle stayed swollen and bruised, but hey, that doc sure sounded like he knew what he was talking about.


Does this look “fine” to you?

It wasn’t until October that I finally went back for an MRI. (This sprain is taking a little too long to heal, I had been thinking to myself.) After the scan, my new doctor called my cell: “So, you really did a number on your ankle,” were her exact words. “I’m afraid you’re gonna need surgery.”

Turns out—surprise!—that it wasn’t just a sprain. I had a good-size fracture (check), lots of partial tendon and ligament tears (check), a complete ligament disruption (check), extensive cartilage damage (check), and oh yeah, a half-inch shard of bone that had snapped off the ankle entirely and was just floating around in there like a stupid piece of driftwood (aaaand check).

So I got the surgery, forced my friends to sign my cast, named my knee scooter “Walter,” got the cast cut off with a somewhat scary electric saw, and eventually limped my way to the physical therapist’s office.

The cast finally comes off.

And there I met a probably smart, well-intentioned PT who had absolutely no idea what tricking was, and no clue how to get me back on my feet. Would the surgery be for nothing? Would I never return to the sport I loved?

Well, dear reader, that’s almost what happened. This lady—and also a guy who worked with me after her—just didn’t get it. She had me running drills that would’ve worked great for a basketball player or a football player. But as a tricker, I just wasn’t improving in the ways that mattered. So I started doing my own research.

Through tons of trial and error, I figured out some exercises that sort of worked for me. I slowly worked my way back into tricking, but with the firm belief that I’d never be as good as I once was—and that I’d certainly never swing through or double cork again.

But then I met Neil and Han from TrickStrong, who were finishing their doctorates in physical therapy. My first interaction with Han was actually him kicking me with a webster at the Long Island tricker house, but we later became homies and training partners. He gave me a bunch of exercises that really helped—my range of motion got a lot better, and my ankle strength started improving too. Whenever he was in town, Neil also offered insight and advice that proved invaluable, especially for my dorsiflexion (the ability to pull my toes up toward my shin). Before I knew it, I was tricking just as well as I was before the injury—maybe even better.

And then one night, with no ankle tape necessary, I finally reclaimed my double cork. Neil was the first person to hug me. <3

Looking back on this whole experience, I’m filled with a bunch of different emotions. First of all, there’s regret that I didn’t take better care of my body before my injury—after all, I had been taping my ankle up because it felt weak. I just wasn’t doing any exercises to actually make it stronger. There’s also a lot of anger and frustration—how did that first doctor miss such a catastrophic injury on my X-ray? Why didn’t he understand the kind of damage that tricking can inflict?

The shard of bone removed from my ankle.

Above all, however, there’s a sense of gratitude. Although it took me a while, I was lucky enough to find two people who were experts in physical therapy and tricking, people who knew exactly what my body needed to do, and how to actually make that happen. It pains me to think about all the trickers out there who jacked themselves up, never got the help they needed, and quietly faded into the pages of tricking history. Due to lack of opportunity or lack of knowledge, they had to give up on the thing they loved most.

But guess what? That doesn’t have to be you.

I’m here to tell you that this whole TrickStrong RX thing is the real fucking deal. Neil has spent months and months, working day and night, to give this gift to our community. For anyone who wants to trick at levels they never thought possible, RX is gonna get your body and mind in the shape of your life.

“But aren’t you on the TrickStrong team?” someone out there is probably saying. “Aren’t you sort of biased?”

You’re goddamn right I’m biased. Neil and Han gave me my tricking life back, and I’ve seen them do the same for other trickers too. Why would I not support and believe in their work? Besides, if you’ve read any of my other writing on the Invincible blog, I hope you know that I wouldn’t bullshit you.

“I mean I guess I’d sign up, but it costs money,” this same person is saying. “Why should I pay for stuff I can just find online?”

But can you? Can you find exercises delivered by experts and tailored specifically for the tricking athlete? Unfortunately, I don’t think that exists outside of RX. And I know we’re all on a budget, but think of this as an investment. Would you rather pay a little money for prehab and rehab, or a TON of money when you bust your ass and need serious medical attention? This is just smart money management, my guy.

Look, I intend to keep tricking for many years, basically until my lungs collapse or my bones turn to dust. And that is what TrickStrong RX will allow me to do. Tricking stronger means tricking longer—it’s about treating your athletic career like a marathon, not a sprint. I only wish I had realized that sooner, and started taking better care of my body from day one.

So don’t make the same mistake I did. Give your body the wisdom it needs to stay healthy, and give this RX thing a shot. If you think it sucks, call me out at the next gathering and you can roast me in a battle. Or even better, just message me or Neil, and tell us how we can make the improvements and adjustments you need.

So yeah, I’m pretty psyched about this—I know RX is gonna do a lot of good for a lot of trickers out there. The only question is, will you be one of them?


Jeremy Price is a longtime martial artist and tricker repping Team TrickStrong and the MuggleSlayers. He also writes about tricking, stunts, and heavy music for outlets like VICE, Maxim, and Alternative Press. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.