Gentlemen and Ladies
I've been lifting pretty regularly for about 5 years. 2 years ago I had a knee injury which required surgery. I started using the opposite leg for everything (stairs, walking, etc.) during recovery. After the knee was healed, there was a huge difference in my quad strength/size (obviously). Even after trying to bring the bad leg up to speed for about a year(single-leg exercises, etc.), there is still a big difference. When I attempt to squat heavy, my bad leg tends to bend inwards and really fucks up my form. Has anyone else had a problem like this? How did you fix it?
Thank you kindly.
Gentlemen and Ladies
I know this doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but would it be possible not squat heavy for a while, but maybe squat for reps. Possibly throw in some prehab/rehab movements until your knee strengthens up? I know my main problem when my knee caves in is flexibility. But if you've lost a lot of the strength/muscle in your knees it might be better to go light for a few months until your ligaments and the rest of your muscles get used to that movement and can rebuild.... Maybe I am just dumb, and it's 2am, so I could be not thinking.
could also try doing what you have been and favor our other knee for everyday stuff for awhile.
Single leg exercises. I dislocated and broke my ankle in college well over 10 years ago and my calf atrophied(naturally). I was 6 months on crutches. It took me 3 months to do a single one-legged calf raise on that ankle. I'll be honest, it still is smaller than the other but calves are a different animal than quads. They will suck for a while but your squat will go up when you get it back in to shape. And that's the whole point.
It sucks. But you must be patient.
Check out bulgarian squats, and all other single leg exercises, exrx.net is a good exercise repository.
If its bending in, it could also be a mobility issue as well as a strength imbalance. you might not have a weak quad you might have weak hips.
EDIT: I'm sure the quad is weak, but there may be other issues as well.
I think I've heard that knees caving in is a result of weak hips and hams. Try some single leg bridges to see what the strength is there.
Sounds to me like it may be a mental issue - ie, you protecting the previously injured leg. Could be mobility as well, as someone pointed out, but my guess is that it's not strength. I dont know tho, maybe a year isnt a long enough time to bring up a strength imbalance like that
i got money says you don't front squat.
I'd recommend in addition to the single leg crap to do goblet squats with the heaviest db's you can. Its great for form and you can sit in the hole and your knees simply can only go up and out. When that gets to easy, go to front squats. Again, with front squats it hard to f-up the form, but if you don't normally front squat do the goblets first. Yeah, you have to swallow your pride a bit cause it don't look all badass, but you will develop excellent form that your knees and back with thank you for.
Thanks for all the advice. Will definitely be taken into consideration.
what was the injury?
Tore cartilage off the patella.
Was the surgery a scope to remove loose cartilage or did they slice you open? Did you do physical therapy after surgery? If they just scoped it out, then you should have been fine pretty quickly. I had my knee scoped 3 weeks ago. I was walking on it that day and squatting a week after. My deadlift is ~75% and my squat is ~50%, and it's only been 3 weeks.