T Nation

Legs with Chronic Injuries

What is everyone else with chronic injuries up to on leg day? What exercises don’t work for you?

10 minute warm up.

Light front squats up to 175(I had been up to 255 pre-injury)

Lying machine squat

Leg extension plus rehab exercises

hamstring curls internal and external rehab exercises

GHR

More rehab exercises hip stabilization, mobility, etc.

Everything except front squats are high rep. 10-30 reps per set.

I also train calves about 3x a week.

What doesn’t work due to exacerbating current injuries.

Back squats, goblet squats, any heavy hammy exercises, leg press.

Depends on the injury. When I was rehabbing a real bad hamstring injury, I would suspend the bar from chains in the squat rack and work heavy partials while gradually increasing the range of motion each week while doing reverse band squats with heavy weight for high reps on assistance work.

Reverse band squats in general are pretty good for working around injuries.

Sled pulls and reverse sled drags will go a long way toward blowing up your legs while putting them at minimal risk.

Deficit trap bar lifts can blow up the quads/hamstrings pretty decent.

Chains can help increase loading while minimizing stress at the lowest part of the squat.

The safety squat bar requires less technical aptitude compared to a barbell, and can allow you to play with form a bit.

GHR is great for volume.

Really, with enough toys, you don’t have to miss a beat with an injury.

I have a pulled quad tendon that knocked be back to bodyweight on any squatting movement. At first, I took it as an opportunity to really focus on the hams, but now I’ve slowly managed to get up over 200 again on the squat and DL (not much, but I’ll take it) . It sometimes bothers me after and I even tried substituting w/ some sort of squatting machine, which only made it worse. Oddly, I can leg press 600+ for volume no problem; so, at this point, I think it’s essentially healed, but I just got weak.

It also seems to have changed some things. I have lower back issues for the first time ever and I have to be more conscious about not favoring my good leg.

The one thing you both have hit on that I haven’t been doing is being overly patient with progression. Good stuff.

[quote]Captnoblivious wrote:
The one thing you both have hit on that I haven’t been doing is being overly patient with progression. Good stuff. [/quote]

I’m not patient, I still chase PRs. I just have to ensure that I am getting stronger where I am painfree. Different movements are a boon, because you have nothing to compare yourself against.

I had chronic low back pain for almost two years. I eventually saw an ART practitioner and I finally don’t feel like a cripple after standing for twenty minutes. Apparently I had some of the worst tissue scarring he had ever seen on a younger guy. I had tried to work around it by dropping tons of weight off my squat movements and using a lot of static holds mid rep and pausing my squats to add difficulty. (mid 300s down to mid 100s squat weight)

All of the paused oly squatting and heavy (for me) split squats lead to chronic groin pain and a pinching sensation when squatting deep that I’m currently dealing with by strengthening the glutes, lots of stretching, and getting ART on it.

Like a poster above said. I have one weak and strong leg. After working all day my “good” leg feels super pumped, especially the glute and like the whole leg is jammed up into my glute/hips. I do my best not to favor it though.

What I do:

Leg day:

Quads:
Lunges
20 reps unweighted
30 reps weighted

Split squats:
2x20 each leg

Oly squats
Work up to 1-3 heavyish sets not taken to failure
as many sets at 135 and as slow and controlled as possible without feeling discomfort in the area
I don’t take any of these sets to true failure because I want both legs to work equally in tandem

Alternating Leg ext:
3 reps leg/switch leg until I’m gassed/crying/etc
I do a few sets of this

Every part of my thighs have some imbalance after being fucked up for so long so I try to keep everything as unilateral as possible.

Hammies:
HS seated leg curl:
This is my fav hammy movement. I do 3 sets of this for 8-12 reps heavy

Alternating laying leg curl:
Similar fashion as my leg extentions

Paused SLDL to floor:
I’m pretty flexable so I can do these with solid form. I think I saw Konstantinovs do this in a video. I keep these relatively light and focus on both thighs/glutes/erectors working in tandem.

Glutes:
Laying clams???
I do 3x20 of these to warm up

Glute bridges:
Sometimes I add weight to these. I try to make sure both glutes are working and firing together as best I can

Then I lay on my stomach on a bench and raise one leg at a time up and hold it, squeezing the glute for that side. After a few sets of 10ish on these I move on.

Naughty girl machine:
I bang out 3-4 sets of 15-20 on this I really feel like this has made major improvements to my lower body health.

Some ab work and I call it quits.

My questions for you guys:

Chronically tight were the glutes attach to the low back (SI joint I think?) What do you guys do to fix this?

My right ankle is always popping painfully and sometimes I feel the outer part of my right foot have a muscular pull and it sends pain up the outer side of that calf. I’m always sore around that bone that sticks out right above your foot.

Chronically sore groin/hip flexors I took almost two months off any real leg training with only an incomplete recovery.

Chronically sore around the scapula when I flax my back or pull my arm back like during a rowing movement.

If anyone has any insight on any of these, I’d be happy to hear it.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
My questions for you guys:

Chronically tight were the glutes attach to the low back (SI joint I think?) What do you guys do to fix this?

My right ankle is always popping painfully and sometimes I feel the outer part of my right foot have a muscular pull and it sends pain up the outer side of that calf. I’m always sore around that bone that sticks out right above your foot.

Chronically sore groin/hip flexors I took almost two months off any real leg training with only an incomplete recovery.

Chronically sore around the scapula when I flax my back or pull my arm back like during a rowing movement.

If anyone has any insight on any of these, I’d be happy to hear it.
[/quote]

Waddup, Zep! Long time no see man.

You ever look into anything by Kelly Starret?

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
My questions for you guys:

Chronically tight were the glutes attach to the low back (SI joint I think?) What do you guys do to fix this?

My right ankle is always popping painfully and sometimes I feel the outer part of my right foot have a muscular pull and it sends pain up the outer side of that calf. I’m always sore around that bone that sticks out right above your foot.

Chronically sore groin/hip flexors I took almost two months off any real leg training with only an incomplete recovery.

Chronically sore around the scapula when I flax my back or pull my arm back like during a rowing movement.

If anyone has any insight on any of these, I’d be happy to hear it.
[/quote]
Sounds like you have similar issues to me, everything from the clicking ankle, to the sore groin and plus the lower back/SI issues.

You have probably heard it before, but I have found that ruling my glutes with a lacrosse ball has done wonders. I think static stretching of my hip flexors and plus hamstrings have helped.

Ive recently returned back to squatting and deadlifting, and I am just been really conservative with the weight, but paying extra attention to y warm ups which always include what I mentioned above. Olympic shoes for squatting has seemed to help me as well.

tweet

I’ve ruptured the patella in my left knee, currently working through a torn meniscus in same knee, had two chunks break off the meniscus in my right knee that got under the kneecap so all that had to be fixed and cleaned out. Waited too long to get the ruptured patella checked out and some tissue calcified. Basically, my knees are a fucking mess. But, after several years of experimentation, things are finally less than miserable. Here’s my go to warm-up:

Rumble rolling- quad, IT band, hips, lower, mid and upper back 10-20 “reps” each spot, more if I’m real tight.

Rollover into v-sits 10 reps

Fire hydrants- 10 reps each way focusing on keeping my heel close to my ass and gradually making bigger loops, so basically drawing circles outside of circles

Hip flexor stretch- 30 seconds each

1-legged glute bridge supersetted with x-band walks-2x10

Leg swings- 10 reps

When I’m on top of this I actually feel pretty good. My knees haven’t (and may never again) been 70-ish % of what they were pre injuries, but I’ve learned to cope. Despite that, before the most recent tear I was still putting down 2-hand dunks (at 5’9") and hitting a sub 4.6 40. The meniscus is slowly getting better, and while I’m not dunking yet (haven’t tried), I can grab the rim right now. As long as I get back to 2-hand dunking again, I’m content. Obviously I’d love to be where I was at 24 and put down 360’s, but think those days are done. To everyone reading: take care of your knees. You only get one set, and when they’re gone you’re never the same.

[quote]BlackLabel wrote:

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
My questions for you guys:

Chronically tight were the glutes attach to the low back (SI joint I think?) What do you guys do to fix this?

My right ankle is always popping painfully and sometimes I feel the outer part of my right foot have a muscular pull and it sends pain up the outer side of that calf. I’m always sore around that bone that sticks out right above your foot.

Chronically sore groin/hip flexors I took almost two months off any real leg training with only an incomplete recovery.

Chronically sore around the scapula when I flax my back or pull my arm back like during a rowing movement.

If anyone has any insight on any of these, I’d be happy to hear it.
[/quote]

Waddup, Zep! Long time no see man.

You ever look into anything by Kelly Starret?
[/quote]

I will look into it later today/tomorrow. I’ve been injured most of the last few years in some way or another so training has largely been stagnant.

Much leaner now though.

[quote]theBird wrote:

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
My questions for you guys:

Chronically tight were the glutes attach to the low back (SI joint I think?) What do you guys do to fix this?

My right ankle is always popping painfully and sometimes I feel the outer part of my right foot have a muscular pull and it sends pain up the outer side of that calf. I’m always sore around that bone that sticks out right above your foot.

Chronically sore groin/hip flexors I took almost two months off any real leg training with only an incomplete recovery.

Chronically sore around the scapula when I flax my back or pull my arm back like during a rowing movement.

If anyone has any insight on any of these, I’d be happy to hear it.
[/quote]
Sounds like you have similar issues to me, everything from the clicking ankle, to the sore groin and plus the lower back/SI issues.

You have probably heard it before, but I have found that ruling my glutes with a lacrosse ball has done wonders. I think static stretching of my hip flexors and plus hamstrings have helped.

Ive recently returned back to squatting and deadlifting, and I am just been really conservative with the weight, but paying extra attention to y warm ups which always include what I mentioned above. Olympic shoes for squatting has seemed to help me as well.

tweet
[/quote]

I never noticed anything helping when rolling glutes with a PVC pipe. I’ll try to see what I can find as far as a ball goes.

I’ve squatted only in Oly shoes for 4ish years now. I’ll never go back.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
My questions for you guys:

Chronically tight were the glutes attach to the low back (SI joint I think?) What do you guys do to fix this?

My right ankle is always popping painfully and sometimes I feel the outer part of my right foot have a muscular pull and it sends pain up the outer side of that calf. I’m always sore around that bone that sticks out right above your foot.

Chronically sore groin/hip flexors I took almost two months off any real leg training with only an incomplete recovery.

Chronically sore around the scapula when I flax my back or pull my arm back like during a rowing movement.

If anyone has any insight on any of these, I’d be happy to hear it.
[/quote]

I have chronic scapula pain along with knots in the traps, and AC artherosis in my one of my shoulders. I’ve never found a doc or pt that could help with the scap pain. Deep tissue massage helps.

I stretch my glutes daily. That seems to help. I did yoga for a while that helped also, just more stretching really. I’m not sure there is a fix, just avoidance and adaptation in training methods.

I’m in the middle of coming back from bilateral quadriceps tendinosis (chronic tendonitis). I’m in month 7 of rehab/recovery and I’ve finally made it to where I can squat once a week without pain either after the lift or the day after. Usually, after I’m warm I won’t feel any pain in my knees even on a bad day but afterwards I won’t be able to stand up from a chair.

The things that have worked best for me have been single-leg eccentric squats. 3x10 2x a day M-F, Sat and Sun rest. Hopefully in the next couple months I’ll be back to 100% tendon health and I can start squatting more.