T Nation

Knee problems & training legs

Okay, I have heard numerous people give their view on what types of leg exercises are bad and what are good for your knees…However, I am a little sceptical about what I should and shouldn’t be doing. I say this b/c I am a former college athlete that has torn his ACL twice in the same leg(yep, now I have a cadaver graft in my knee for my ACL), and I have also torn both my medial and lateral meniscus in the process. Anyway, I just had a surgery on 1.18.2001 to remove about 25% of the medial meniscus in my left knee. So here is the question…what the hell should I do to make sure that I am doing more harm than good? I am afraid to go heavy and deep on my squats, and you would too if you have been through all of the crap that I have with my knee. I have been sticking to walking lunges and stiff leg deads for awhile, so if anyone can give me any advice I would appreciate it.

Why don’t you ask a PT? I am no Dr. and I don’t have as bad of knees as you, but mine suck pretty bad. Deads not bother me, as well as leg press, both flat and 45 deg., light lunges are ok, step ups. The only thing that kills me are squats, and leg ext.

I feel your pain - I just got my MRI results back - I tore my ACL and lots of bone bruising(whatever the hell that is). Anyways I’m going to doc tomorrow to evaluate my options. Maybe my deep squats led to this problem, but more likely it’s the combination of freestyle skiing/ice hockey/jiujitsu/golf(don’t laugh I hurt my knee once swinging - lol) that did it.

I think you’re kidding yourself by saying any leg exercise is “safe” for your knees. Some people squat for years with no problems, but others, like myself, have gotten injured. Weight training is stressful for your joints, period. If the stress exceeds what your joints can handle, they fail. I’m limping around after having torn cartilage removed from my left lateral condyle. I got it by squatting. If I had warmed up properly and stretched like I should, could it have been prevented? Perhaps. I can tell you I’m never going to do singles and doubles in the squat again. Why take the risk? The point is, not everyone is the same. You need to evaluate the risks and benefits for your unique situation and make the decision. DanK, in your situation, I would be very careful in your choice of exercises, weights and rep ranges. It it hurts, don’t do it. Proper warm up and stretching are also going to be key. I know I’m going to do another workout without warmup.

The ACL keeps the knee from hyperextending right ? Anyway you shouldnt be training in the dark with an injurie. Ask a PT / Chiro / ART provider. Of course never accept that you cant train anymore, just get a second opinion then. Keeping your shin perfectly vertical reduces stress.

Whatever you do, take it slow and easy. I injured my shoulder to the point where I had some arm paralysis and was also scared to try any shouder moves. I’d have to say the Smith Rack (which I usually totally avoid) helped me in this instance. I started with just the bar, found my range of motion, and slowly improved that, my strength, and confidence and was back to free weights and low normal in a year. The fact that you can do lunges seems like a good sign but I’m no expert. As the others said find a good SPORTS P.T. One thing I have learned, if it hurts, you know that sharp kinda pain? don’t do it! change the angle or the weight or something. Louie Simmons has come back from alot of injuries, there may be some info on his and other powerlifting websites. Good Luck!