T Nation

Beginner With Limited Ability

I have been very frustrated lately and figured, after finding this site, that I would give it a shot at trying to rekindle some of my great sports fitness past.

I’m an US Army vet that has three injuries that have crippled my body to the point that I have never been able to play sports the way I use to. I have two chronic knees that can flare up at any time with debilitating consequences and a lower right back that can go out without notice. I feel weak its the bottom line.

I want to start working out and try to get some of that strength back I use to have to at least play softball with the Church; no pun intended. I’m desperate because since my injuries my sports performance has been mediocre and it has really hurt my esteem. I was a 23 second 200 meter runner, if you know what I mean. Can’t run to the corner without something hurting.

I’m right now 153-155 lbs and 5’-11. I’m built like a runner, or at least use to be. Any help that you guys can offer would be great. I have a strong work ethic so anything you give me I will do.

Thanks in advanced.

I’m not sure how much you learned about weight-training… so here are some useful links to start with. Or consider it a refresher.

New to T-Nation?

Are You A Beginner?

Advice From Vets for Young Bucks

Read articles from John Berardi the “doc” about nutrition.

Oh and I know what you mean by that 200-meter time, damn smoking, did you do the 40 too? I hated 200’s >.< I preferred relay/40/100. I get bored past 100 meters, unless there are cheerleaders on the sidelines that is… and I’m wearing a helmet… DAHAHA.

I think the very first thing is you have to provide more info I guess or ask more specific questions. Listing your injuries and your open-mind was a good start but details!

Gym membership? How much experience weight-lifting do you have? What type of physique are you looking to go for? Are you focusing on rehab excercise, or you want the full package? How often do you eat? Stuff like that :slight_smile:

I’m sure someone will come along and do a better job then me ~ oh and if you have questions, try out the search feature under forums, a lot of times most common questions have been asked already and you can find several discussion threads that will answer more then half of the questions you do come up with. Probably >.<

Have you tried seeing a physical therapist? Any idea what exactly is wrong with the knees/back?

I use to run the 200 meters at 23, the 400 meters at 54 and the 600 meters at 1:23. I also was part of the 4x1600 relay, thats when you all run one lap. That was the highlight of my sports career.

As for the injuries, its a tissue thing on the right and left inner knees. After repetitive movement they give a sharp pain. Doctor called something like chronic retroplatella syndrome. My meniscus crystallizes and when the fragment breaks off it hits the tissue under the knee cap and thats where I get the sharp pain from. How and when it happens, I can never tell. I can go weeks without nothing and then boom, can’t walk for three days. My lower right back is called something like lumbo something or another. Its a tissue thing as well that flares up if I don’t lift properly. I have done physical therapy and it won’t do anything for me since its a tissue thing on both. The back isn’t to bad, I can tell usually or I know how to avoid problems with it. I just got meds for pretty much all of it and thats it, and a crappy pension from the military for my time.

As for experience in weightlifting, I use to weight lift in High school in the weight team as well as for track, so I’m very familiar with weight workouts. Been a while so I would need a serious refresher. I have a Gym membership with the YMCA, the only thing nice around here. Will start going now next week when my membership gets activated. Physique, I just want to be like I use to be, strong lean and fit, not looking to be Arnold, just strong to play some softball and have some nice tone to me, like all runners do and I use to. I’m willing to compromise of course since I can’t run anymore as a work out. As for eating, I have the worst diet, even though i try. I sometimes skip breakfast, don’t eat lunch and have a descent dinner. It has to do with my appetite. When I work out, I get really hungry, but if I don’t I can go a whole day without eating. I blame that on the Army; sometime you just didn’t have time to even eat, so I got used to it.

I hope you all can help. Thanks again!

Undoubtedly, having extra strength in the supporting muscles around your knees and low back will help you with your goals. Make sure not to push it too fast though, or… well, you already know the consequences, and it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t walk.

I am a bit wary of handing out training plan info to you because of your injuries. I deal with my ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) on a daily basis, but that is a form of bursitis, which is due to inflammation from the ligament rubbing on bone; however, your problem of (if my understanding is correct) destroyed cartilage, is a different beast, and back problems are always a tricky matter.

Rather than a physical therapist, you might need something more along the lines of a sports therapist. Sometimes these are the same people, but in my experience, a lot of PTs don’t know anything about proper training. Maybe a sports medicine doctor would be a good place to start.

Good luck!

That sounds like a plan. My issues with my knees are tissue and my cartilage is actually intact as well as the meniscus. I’ll keep looking to see what I can get into in the workout arena.