T Nation

First Day Squatting after Knee Surgery


I'm not sure whether this should go in the injuries area or here, but since I am through the surgery and officially back in the gym I put it here. Sorry if I'm wrong...

Anyways, long story short...I had knee surgery for a torn meniscus and dislocated patella in October. I have been cleared by my Dr to start leg training again. Yesterday was my first day back doing lower body and I tried some squats. It was definitely not an ego boost when I ended up not getting but the bar (10 reps), 75lbs (6 reps), and 95lbs (3 reps) ATG completed without having to stop. You get a few looks around the gym when you add weight to the bar to do curls after squatting. I didn't have any knee pain and haven't since doing the squats, but I just physically couldn't squat and stand up with any more weight.

So here's my questions. Should I even be squatting being just cleared about a week ago to lift again? Are there other exercises some of you guys with or without knee surgery would suggest? Also my Dr suggested I used a brace or knee wraps while still "recovering" (he said possibly up to 9 months) from my surgery. Do you guys think this is necessary? I'm not squatting hundreds of pounds like guys that wrap their knees.

Preciate the help.


I don't have any experience lifting after recovering from an injury, but I feel like using machines would be safer and the way I would start. I would use leg press and maybe hack squats until I got up to a more respectable strength level before going back to squatting. Maybe single leg training on leg press as well to give your weakened leg extra training?


I have had three knee surgeries, and I began squatting as soon as I could after they were finished. I worked my way slowly up and eventually, due to muscle memory, I was back at the level I had been before the injuries. I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to do squats if you take it slow and build up without overloading yourself.
I would also work on stabilization a good deal and single leg exercises.


This is excellent advice. I had surgery after a torn ACL and MCL and this is basically the route I took. I also spent a good amount of time on the leg press in the beginning because it felt safer to me.


Damn, man, your impressive squat just got even more impressive. Awesome!


If you don't mind me asking, why did you need 3 surgeries? I ask because I had 1 surgery (ACL reconstruction) and my knee is still fucked. I'm wondering if I'll need to go back for more.


OP, I know what I'm about say might not seem motivating but if you have the financial means to hire someone like Eric Cressey, or Mike Robertson. I would highly suggest you do. Knee surgeries are no joke and messing up one time along the way back can impair your training and even your every day life forever.

I highly suggest getting in touch with someone who can rehab your knees that is knowledgeable in injury rehab/sports medicine. At the very least I would consult with Mike Robertson on the EliteFTS Q&A and ask what books he'd recommend so you can learn more about your injury and maybe start doing rehab excercises yourself. Do not be afraid to pay the man for any consultation time as I'm sure you'd expect the same if you were in his shoes.