T Nation

Extreme Atrophy Due To Extreme But Temporary Medical Issues


This year has sucked. The good news, my knees have healed up better than they had any right to. And without surgery.

The bad news my heart’s left anterior descending artery closed up on me. My only bad artery is nicknamed the widow maker, so it was not fun. And joy of joys after I was stable waiting for surgery. I was criminally assaulted by a drugged out punk. He got me when I could not do a good job of defending myself or to run away. I got a cracked skull out of it. When all is said and done, everyone says I will be 100%. That actually I’m very healthy and strong. It really is only one bad artery and the heart will heal fast.

My problem is I have had a very long time on bed rest. We are talking three months. The doctors are good about basic therapy. But I want my muscles back, my legs are gone. My upper body is not great and my core is weak. DO you guys know of some good resource for starting out from a total mess like this?


You’ll need to keep up some of the basic therapy.

You’ll need to do direct work for your abs, obliques, obliques and lower back.

You’ll need a way to work your legs, a bunch, without adding to the workload on your lower back.

You also need the big moves, because in the world, your body moves together. And they are the best for strength. Because you’re weak now, the loads should be based on your current strength.

Off the top of my head, it sounds like Westside.

-Daily rehab stuff for your weakest muscles.
-Reverse Hypers and all kinds of abs.
-Box Squats to overload the hips and underload the back.
-Sled dragging for legs and conditioning.
-Controlled volume on the main lifts.
-Lots of work on single joint exercises to build up lagging stuff.


Thank you. I let myself get out of shape before but I have never had to rehab anything before. I have been blessed, but it has left me ignorant of the best ways to work, but not injure muscles that are all but gone.


It’s like a Reverse Bang for your buck situation.

Doing 20 rep squats and sprints would be “Effective” but you’d be limited by what weakest areas could handle. You couldn’t go very far/long.

Avoid things like Starting Strength, where there is no way to costumize The routine.


I believe I will need to leave my pride behind me for a while. No weight is too light, until body says it is too light.


Thats another reason to try “new” stuff.

You probably don’t know how much you can close grip incline bench press. Or how heavy a sled you can drag for 60 yards with a Pull Thru style execution.


I held a rope for a guy cutting down a tree. Just put my weight into it. And strained a minor muscle in my thigh. I will be relearning what I can do and not do


Whats up man?

Have you been able to get moving, or put any sort of routine together?

Mentally, are you hanging in there?


I suffered a secondary injury. to much too fast. so I have been unable to get anything going until my back stop spasming. The mental part is getting to be tough I just need to be patient.


Just got back from some physical therapy. It looks like I have about four weeks where I need to just let the therapist have at the minor core muscles that just failed me. These exercises I’m doing now, they look pathetic and they hurt like hell. Having some strong major muscle groups and a few very weak ones. That is a great way to end up crying in pain, laying on the ground, begging to be put out of your pain. I am only as strong as my weakest part. Sadly it is in my core, I am very weak. My arms and shoulders are just weight it can’t handle very well


It sucks, but hang in there. Its not fun laying on your back and kicking your legs like a baby, but it won’t last forever.


You were absolutely right, How much I can close grip bench press or how heavy a sled I can drag for 60 yards? I don’t know ether one. I think I’m going to be finding out as soon as I get moving again. I can think of how many things I’ve done exactly the same way, never changing for years. Strangely at work I’m always telling the young apprentices not to do things exactly the same way over and over again. Do that and you end up With a repetitive stress injury.


Unfortunately, even though I also knew better, I had to learn the hard way too.

As a stone guy, you probably have many different chisels, trowels, hammers and mallets. There is one for every job. Some work great, and some aren’t appropriate for the task at hand.

Lifts and exercises are just like this. At first, you raise hell trying to force things. Then you get better at picking the right tools.


I’m finally back to where I was before I injured my back, due to trying to come back too soon to full workouts. When they tell you to do those silly little kick your legs back and forth exercises for few weeks. Listen to them. Yes rehab exercises are a joke. But there is a reason they only want you to do them at first.

It is going to be a long road and my trying to work at it harder and go faster, made it an even longer road.