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GF Wants to Start Lifting, Specific Problem


My girlfriend wants to start lifting. unfortunately she has had two knee surgeries already at the age of 19. At this point she has very little cartilage left, and her quads are very weak from disuse. I'm not a professional and don't want to advise her to do anything that is not good for her in the long term.

My only idea for leg training right now is to start leg training with hamstring work and any leg pressing or squatting is to be done with a slow rep speed and a very moderate weight. Maybe finishing leg work with very light isoholds on the leg extention.

Is this reasonable? The doctors told her she needed to strengthen her quads post surgery and when I started asking about what quad work she could do, they basically said she should only use an exercise bike. I thought this was interesting (no disrespect to the surgeon) because even though I have healthy knees using an exercise bike makes my knees hurt.


Not sure what her specific condition is, but sled work tends to be very knee friendly. And backwards sled drags are quad killers.


For me, a bike (I hate exercise bikes, but will use if I cant get outside) placed in a higher gear or with more resistance added has always greatly improved the way my knees feel when under load. Sled dragging has a similar function. If she hasn't done much strength work, concentrating on bodyweight work and mobility along with some basic eccentric-less GPP stuff (sled dragging, riding a heavy bike) before jumping into weightlifting might not be a bad idea.

Also things like band slides and the like have really seemed to help my knee's. Should state that I am far from a PT though and my recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt.


You mean a lower gear? I.e., whichever gear increases resistance.


For bikes it is the higher gear that has the greater resistance, isn't it? Same reason that you don't start driving your car in 4th gear. It takes a greater force to get it turning in the higher gears.


On an actual bike, no, lower gear is higher resistance. But with something like a magnetic exercise bike, I think the higher number is actually more resistance.


To avoid a gigantic clusterfuck of quotes:

The sled: while a good idea is just not going to happen. We don't have one, have space to use one year round, and the gym doesn't have one. This could possibly be used infrequently when we have access to our college gym. We commute 40 minutes to class.

The exercise bike: Some great advice on the application of this and how to use it. I appreciate it. leg training will start here and evolve into weight training.

neoprene sleeves: are in the works for both of us.

Band slides: not sure what these are. Will look into it.


What about the Spud Inc Magic Carpet sled?



The one entitled crab walks is actually the one I was referring to.


Do you have access to any grassy area 20m or so long??

If you do a small length of chain looped through some plates connected to a stout strap with a carabiner can serve as a very crude sled. An old tire with an I-bolt and a little concrete in it serves the same purpose and is much more pleasant on the ears if used on a sidewalk. IF you want to be able to load it you can put some plywood in the bottom and drop some plates in there on top of it.


I'll shoot the idea her way. And we'll see if we can work it in.


I was planning on grabbing some bands from EFTS in the near future anyways. So I'll have to look into this as well. I'm not sure if it's applicable to her problem however.


I have creaky knees and use light weights.

These might help.

Step ups (maybe weightless at first then add dumb bells)

lying squat machine

Seated leg press partials

Seems like having my knees loaded and bent deeply causes pain.

straight bro science btw


What surgery did she have?

What PT did she do?

What did her PT suggest she keep doing once she was discharged?

Did her doctors say why she needed to strengthen her quads?


  1. She's had two knee scopes. We can't find her discharge paper but the second one included cleaning up/removing nearly all of the cartilage and cutting a tendon that was preventing her from having a full range of motion in that knee.

  2. None, the surgery was pushed into the last week she had health insurance. They RXed her a few things to do like single leg lifts, etc.

  3. They suggested she perform light exercise and to stay away from the treadmill, track, and pavement running.

  4. From what we recall her knee problems are exacerbated by, or the damage done to them has been hastened by the fact that she has incredibly wimpy quads. She avoided doing anything to strengthen them for a long time because it hurt. After this last knee scope she sometimes feels achy but can kneel, and crouch down without pain most of the time now.


we're at different gyms, I'll have to see what she all has available. when we work out together the first few times.


Did her doctors say what caused the degeneration?


Not in technical terms, basically she was born with bad knees, and didn't take care of them as a child.


I guess its tough to build the quad without placing some load on the knee.

When I had a tweaked knee, straight leg or romanian deadlifts worked really well. Might be worth a shot.


My PT wasn't shy about having me leg press and squat with as much weight as I could handle 3 days after sawing my patella in half and removing a cyst. I wager she should get doing those things as soon as she can tolerate it. And weak quads are the most common cause of runner's knee. Look into patellar-femoral exercises on google for stuff she can do outside the gym that will be really low stress.