T Nation

Non-Injured Side Training, Yes or No?

Just a quick one guys-
Got a torn meniscus in right knee, got MRI Sunday to check how back the damage is then most likely going for surgery.
Do I A. totally stop training my lower body until my right knee is recovered or B. Train my left leg with one leg movements?
Just worried that I will end up mega unbalanced and when I go back to squats and deads (I’m a Powerlifter) I will be all messed up and wonky haha

I trained my uninjured side the entire time I was recovering from ACL/meniscus surgery, and it just meant I came back super fast. I started squatting in May with 140lbs for 30 reps, and I hit a set of 5x405 a few weeks ago. I also hit an all time PR of 586lbs on an axle deadlift last month.

It took a few sessions to get used to working with the other side again, but it was much better to have 1 strong leg vs 2 weak ones.

That said, don’t assume you will be unable to train your healing side. I did a LOT of flexing and visualization with the healing leg. I think it went a long way toward helping my recovery.

Damn I wish I had asked that question sooner, I did my meniscus about 9 weeks ago now and have done jack all for my lower body.
Looks like it’s one leg day tomorrow! Haha

Did you get any professional advice telling you to use your uninjured leg or did you just do it and it turned out to be a good thing?

Other than one leg extensions, lunges(if they don’t hurt the other knee) and one leg curls and press what else did you do or was that it all?
Thanks bro!

I never revealed how I was training to my surgeon of physical therapist. I figured it wasn’t their concern; they had to heal the injured leg.

You can check my log I posted in your other thread for full on rundown of how I trained, but some good stuff is:

1 legged squats (stand on a plyobox with your uninjured leg so that you don’t have to bend your injured leg.)

The curls and extensions you spoke of worked well.

I could eventually push a prowler VERY slowly with a focus on keeping weight on the uninjured leg.

I also did a LOT of ab and neck work (blast strap fallouts for abs allow you to take weight off the healing leg)

Oh yeah, also seated good mornings are your best friend. I worked them REAL heavy, like this

1 Like

You hammered those good mornings man that’s awesome, was this pre or post surgery? Did it bother you pushing through the injured knee to stabilise?

That’s a good reminder actually I have been meaning to check that log out!

I’m so glad someone has had success training their non injured leg because it’s been depressing watching my none injured one shrivel up.

I’m gonna give the good mornings a go too to see if I can maintain lower back/core strength. Also gonna get on top of my ab work, I do it regularly anyway but am really going to push it now.

This was post surgery.

That’s the thing; do NOT push through with the injured knee to stabilize. That’s why you do them seated instead of standing; you don’t put any weight on the knee. Only use the uninjured leg to brace. It takes a little while to practice, so don’t go for max weights right away. These were the last sessions I did before I was cleared to begin training normally.

I forgot to mention; reverse hypers are another great lower body exercise you can do to get in some training without putting stress on the knee. If weighted GMs are too much, consider banded seated GMs too.

Definitely a good time to focus on other areas. I built up my neck, grip and abs something fierce during this time.

Okay I get you, looking forwards to giving the seated GM’s a shot.
Just checked out your YouTube Chanel you have got some really good stuff on there and have impressive strength dude!

I have a neck harness from back in my competitive MMA days so will blow the dust off that. Ordered those hand grippers yesterday too!

Thanks for all the help it is doing a good job making me feel more positive about it all!
How long was it from injury to surgery for you? I’m not sure what the health care in the US is like but I am paying to go private myself in the UK and it’s still taking some time haha.

It took 6 weeks from when I got injured to when I got surgery. Along with rupturing my ACL and tearing my lateral meniscus, I fractured my patella, and had to wait for it to settle so they could anchor in the screws for the new ACL. That said, while I was waiting for surgery I trained pretty much like I used to. I used box squats instead of free squats, and mat pulls instead of deadlifts, but otherwise was able to train as hard as I could. The injured leg wasn’t stable, and my strength was off, but it was manageable.

Post op, I spent the first 2 weeks training dips, chins and band pull aparts only, and even then it was pretty light shirtless with a fan blowing on me. My surgeon said I absolutely could NOT break a sweat, as it would cause infection in the incision. Also, the pain meds were killing my cardio, and I would run out of breath pretty quick. After that though, I was able to start training the uninjured leg pretty well.

Ahh sounds really painful man. I’m hoping I havnt ruined my cartilage for later life with this injury!
I did do some loaded carries and some super light speed deads with like 220lbs but even that made my knee pretty sore, I have a loose body floating around in there so I have limited rom at times when it gets in the way of the joints movement.

Did you have keyhole or an open surgery? Mine will only be keyhole hopefully so I will be able to work up a little more of a sweat right? To be fair I don’t think my upper body would complain too bad if I gave it a couple of easy weeks.

It was keyhole for the repair, but they still had to harvest the hamstring tendon to make a new ACL, so I have 3 keyhole scars and one longer one where they got the hamstring.

I figure, if I don’t want to be broken later in life, I wouldn’t compete in strongman, haha.

Oh yeah I see dude, is your hamstring actually effected by that?

Haha that’s a very good point

Everyone told me my hamstring would be weaker, but I haven’t noticed. I did a LOT of hamstring work while I recovered. My best was a set of 200 reps for 66lb axle deadlifts.

That’s decent then dude bet you are pleased it hasn’t hindered you!
And 200!? That’s soul destroying :joy: Those hand grippers I ordered arrived- one is 100lb and the other is 150lb and the 150lb I could probably do like 15 reps with (using a smooth steady tempo with a pause at each closed point) so maybe I should get the 200 or 250??

Are those heavy grips? I am only used to Captains of Crush grippers.

Yeah they are the heavy grip ones, I could get them delivered quicker and they were a bit cheaper than the captains of crush ones, do you think 250lb would be like stupidly hard?
Edit: just hit my good leg in a training session, did stuff like one leg squats, one leg rdl (no weight) leg ext, leg curl, leg press and I got a decent burn on it but didn’t go heavy, was weird just doing the one leg haha

Unfortunately, I have no experience with the heavy grippers. I don’t know what their numbers equate to.

Glad you got in that session. Feels good to train again I am sure.

Would you say a 100lb gripper in 2 different brands would actually be different difficulty to close?
Yeah it did feel decent, but weird this morning with my leg leg aching from the session and my right leg not haha

10-15 years ago, the grip nerds drove themselves crazy trying to rate the grippers against eachother. In the end, 2 grippers, of the same rating, made by the same company, varied a lot. The ratings are loose at best. It’s tough to compare across brands.

1 Like

That’s interesting! And good to know.
Thanks for telling me :slight_smile: