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WEIGHTLIFTING AND FITNESS MAGAZINE

Nancy Ludwig – Confidently back to the barbell

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Although Nancy Ludwig has been through a difficult time and is not in a desirable situation at the moment, she’s still staying positive. “I’m doing really well. I’m really happy right now.” At the same time, the weightlifter recently underwent knee surgery and is currently only able to train her upper body but not weightlifting.

The nightmare began for the now 21-year-old already in mid-2019. The Junior European Championship in Bucharest was her big goal that year and she trained hard for it. “I still tried to change weight categories at the same time and instead of competing in the up to 64kg, I competed in the up to 59kg class,” Ludwig said. The weight loss worked well, however, due to overtraining, inflammation in her left knee crept in – the diagnosis: patellar tendinitis.

However, in October 2019, the weightlifter decided to take a break. She had finished sixth at the European Championships, but now she was focusing on the healing of her knee. “I didn’t put any weight on my legs at all until January 2020. I couldn’t even go upstairs at that point.” Ludwig saw several doctors, but the diagnosis was always the same – the patella tendon of the knee was inflamed.

Nancy Ludwig finished sixth at the 2019 European Junior Championships in Bucharest.

Months off the barbell

After her three months break, the 21-year-old dared to start training with the barbell again. Training went well until June with a slight pain in her knee, but then she had to take another forced break. “I know that’s dumb, but I enjoy weightlifting so incredibly much, so I never saw the point in taking a long break.” For more than half a year now, the future police officer, who is completing her training in the sports support group of the Saxony State Police, avoided the platform and did not pursue her passion.

The 21-year-old is completing her police training in the sports support group of the Saxony state police.

In January of this year, she underwent an MRI to have it checked whether the inflammation had regressed. “Everything looked good again and I had confirmation from the doctor that I was allowed to start weightlifting again. So then I built back up very slowly.” The first four weeks Ludwig only did stabilization exercises, after that she was allowed to do her first squats again – but only with 25kg for the time being.

After her first weeks of training, the weightlifter had to go to a block training of her police training. “There we had to run a lot and I felt that this brought back the pain in my knee. After that, I couldn’t train again,” she looks back.

The decision for surgery

Ludwig went to see another doctor. She drove all the way to Heidelberg for it. And only this doctor found the crucial point for the inflammation in her knee. A process on the kneecap kept pressing on the tendon when the Saxon-born athlete was in a low squat – a not exactly rare movement in weightlifting. “I first got two injections of Traumeel, which was supposed to have an anti-inflammatory effect. But at the same time, I talked to my family, my coach, and friends. Finally, I decided to have the surgery.”

Nancy Ludwig after her knee surgery

It has been three weeks since this surgery and so far the healing is going according to plan. “I only felt pain for the first three or four days past surgery. In the meantime, I can even walk up and downstairs again and the scar looks good, too. I’m definitely happier now than I was before surgery,” Ludwig says. Even though she is currently not allowed to put any weight on her leg, that doesn’t stop her from exercising almost every day – even if only her upper body. “It kind of kept me afloat during the time I couldn’t lift because of my knee. I told myself now my training is beneficial for the upper body and when it’s possible again, I’ll build my legs back up. I just kept at it, that’s where my ambition is thankful.”

However, it is not yet certain when the 21-year-old will return to the stage. In a few weeks, the Saxon will go to Heidelberg again, where she will have another examination of her knee. “I hope the doctor will then tell me in how many weeks I can start training again. For now, I am not quite sure how long it will take at all.”

Nevertheless, Ludwig has already set herself a few goals for the coming year. “First of all, I want to stay pain-free, of course. But then I would also like to take part in the U23 European Championships next year or simply like to be on the international stage.” And if her knee is completely healthy and resilient again sooner than expected, Ludwig can also imagine taking part in the German championships in Böbingen in December. And if not? Then you will find the 21-year-old as a spectator.

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