T Nation

Knee Surgery Pending, Need Template Help

Hey Jim, firstly I want to say your work rocks. I own both 531 second edition and Beyond and have been making awesome progress for a few years now. I’ll never be able to thank you enough!

I follow the original 2 day/week template (S+B / D+P) and run the different assistance programs like FSL and its variations, Jokers etc with it. I change it up every 6 weeks to keep it fresh but I never stray away from how it is written in the books. I also do BJJ (which is why I do the 2 day/week template) but have recently injured my knee. An MRI has shown a medial meniscus tear amongst some other things which will need cleaning up but has left me on the sidelines on the training front. I’ve got surgery booked in for a month’s time with some recovery time obviously scheduled in afterwards.

My question is what do I do now? BJJ is out. Squats and Deads are out (I have no stability and power in my bung knee, plus I dont want to aggravate it further). I feel like fuckin tree sap. Since the injury I have been maintaining two days a week in the gym just doing the Bench part and Press part of each respective workout. Should I just accept that injuries are shit or keep building the upper body so I look like a house built on match sticks? I’ve got at least 2-3 months before I can start thinking about my lower body again. Honestly I feel a bit lost what can you suggest?

This is easy and I deal with this, with athletes, on a daily basis.

  1. Don’t worry about what you can do, only care about what you can. YOU MUST commit to this statement. Give yourself ONE night to feel bad for yourself and then it’s over. Dwelling on what you can’t control is weak.

  2. Find something you CAN do with your knee (lower body oriented). this can be anything but find it. I have everyone with a lower body injury ALWAYS do something. Find it. Consistent work isn’t only for the body, it’s for the mind.

  3. It’s always better to be strong. So don’t stop training. You can always find something to do and it only takes 30-60 minutes/day.

  4. Your injury is hardly big - people get knee injuries all the time. They train, rehab and come back 100%. This, however, is all up to you. You can choose for it to break you or to accept the challenge and come back strong.


I used 5/3/1 to build my quads back up after snapping my knee cap. Pins, a wire cage and a screw ( screw is still there ). Still working on it but I can now surf squat deadlift etc. Working towards running again ( almost 3 years later ).

Do the rehab religiously. I had 5 degrees rom when I first got th splint off. I had to put rope around my ankle, feed it under the chair I was sitting on, up over my shoulder and basically leaned forward to get rom back. You can do it

I ran 5/3/1 while I was recovering from ACL reconstruction and getting my meniscus trimmed out. You can actually follow the entire process, from 2 weeks post op to full recovery, in my log here

But for some quick tips

-For squats, I did single leg squats on a plyo box with the uninjured leg to start with. I did 5x10 unweighted before moving up to using a kettlebell in my freehand before eventually moving onto a safety squat bar on my back. Standing on the plyobox allowed me to have my healing leg locked in a knee brace without having to do a really ridiculous pistol squat.

-Once I had a little more confidence in the knee, I switched to 1 legged SSB box squats, like this

The key was to use the pin to hold onto with the hand of the injured side (my left in this case). This allowed me to have the healing knee extended/out in front of me and use the upperbody to help even out the squat. It was like half a Hatfield squat.

-For “deadlifts”, I did seated good mornings. I’d rotate between 3 different types; Seated axle zerchers off pins, seated chain suspended SSB good mornings, and seated chain suspended buffalo bar good mornings. These were videos of my last 3 good morning workouts before I was cleared to train.

I was basically going Max effort on them.

For assistance work, I would do band leg curls and extensions with the good leg. For the healing leg, I would do a ton of flexing and visualization. I have no idea if it helped, but I heard from enough folks that it would, so I figured why not.

For core work, blast strap fallouts (stand on one foot) and reverse hypers went a long way.

Hope that helps.

That is seriously fucking awesome mate!

Fucking awesome responses thank you all so much!

JW - Exactly what I needed to hear.

Kneecap - Inspirational.

T3 - No words, just best reply in the history of online forums.

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