T Nation

program question

I have a female friend who asked me to help her lose weight. I suggested she do circuit training, and showed her the basic exercises with proper form. Now here’s the problem. She’s significantly overweight (200 lbs. at 5’4) and has a knee injury and bad ankles that have been injured twice. I was wondering if I should suggest cardio training, or leg training for that matter. She doesn’t have access to a pool, which is the only decent form of cardio that i can think of that wouldn’t cause her to reinjure her knee or ankle. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Cardio training is definitely not a necessity but if she wants to do it perhaps a rowing machine or non-impact lower body cardio such as cycling, or elliptical trainer is possible.

Manipulating sets, reps and rest with circuit training can make it a very effective cardio workout at the same time. Have her wear a heart rate monitor so she knows when she’s in the zone.

It’s great that she want’s to lose weight but don’t just advise her about training. It sounds like she could use some help in the food trenches as well.

Good luck to her.

Just get her moving. Do whatever cardio she can without injuring herself. Goes without saying that she also needs to watch her food intake as weight gain doesn’t happen in a vacuum.


I agree with Crooze when he/she suggest to get her moving. Lower body cyclic movements at the proper intensity and that are not weight bearing at first may be sufficient to stimulate quadricep, hamstring strengthening. Just to get her accustomed to moving is most important. As far as her ankles and knees be sure to monitor her range of motion and path of motion, and joint alignment at the hip, knee, and ankle during any pressing movements. Also, you may want to prioritize the posterior chain muscles first in the workout (low back/glute flexibility, hamstring strength for hip extension and knee flexion, soleus/gastrocnemius/peroneals strength). Then move on to illiac flexibility, quadricep flexibility and strength, and tibialis flexibility and strength). For circuit training, I suggest using bilateral weight bearing movements and unilateral single joint movements if equipment is available. Again, be cautious of her ROM. I hope this helps.

Thank you for all the suggestions. I forgot to mention that I go to college about 5 hours away from her, and so i only see her once a month, most often i just talk to her over the phone. I have been working on her diet with her, helping her stay away from simple carbs, fried foods, and carbonated beverages. Right now i’m just trying to get her into healthy patterns, and i don’t want to suggest anything that could injure her. Once again, thank you.

If she has bad ankles and knees, do not do any kind of ballistic movement which involves her feet losing contact with the training surface (stair climbing and pool work is okay).

Weight training would be great, squats and lunges, if done properly will provide great stimulus to her lower body and also serve to strengthen her joints. Just make sure she is using sensible form.

The first thing you need to do is strengthen her knees and ankles before ANY sort of cardio is considered. Injuries must be addressed first, there is no work around to it. Flexibility must also be addressed. A proper strength and flexibility program, coupled with a sound diet should be the first step.