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Training after Total Hip Replacement Surgery

I’m hoping you have some advice after years of training and working with others.

I’m 61 years old , 3 months out from a left total hip replacement. I’ve trained for many years with a typical type powerlifting approach to my exercise selection. Usually a linear periodization through the year. I train at home, and have a well outfitted set up.

My surgeon has advised against returning to squatting and heavy deadlifts. I’d like to be compliant with the advice. I’m actually also an Orthopaedic Surgeon,so it makes sense to me. Putting a bar on my back for squats or good mornings is probably not the best idea.
Lunges don’t agree with my knees at this point in life.
I’m looking for some advice on designing a leg day.
I have a 45 degree back extension device, a bar for deadlifts of any variety, straight leg , rack pulls etc… and a seated knee extension/ flexion machine. I try and do some walking almost every day and it’s hilly where I live.
I typically train a 4 day split, lifting every other day.
My thoughts were to train with an emphasis on what I can do. Piecing together a variety of isolation type movements seems like my best option at this time.

My goals are to stay healthy and maintain some strength.
Thank you for the time.


Sorry to hear of your condition. But I believe you can work around your hip situation, at least for the next 3 months.

I would recommend that you stick to single-joint isolation exercises. The leg extension and leg curl should keep your thighs in reasonable shape. With those, I like the back raise, performed slowly and smoothly on your back extension device. You could also do the standing one-legged calf raise.

A while later, you might want to try the one-legged deadlift with a 15-pound dumbbell held in the same hand as the standing leg. Balance on one leg, while holding on lightly to a support with the other hand, and lean forward and lower the dumbbell down your leg to the floor. Stand smoothly and repeat for 12 reps. Do the same thing for the other leg.

Be careful with your daily walking. You don’t want to stumble or miss a step up or step down.

Let me know how it goes for the next several months . . . and after your surgery.

One of my good friends, Joe Cirulli, was about your age when he had total hip replacements. Four or five years later, his hips and thighs (and his strength training) are stronger than ever.

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You could check out Dan John’s recent stuff. He had a double hip replacement as well, and recently hit a 145 lbs power snatch. Keep moving, your spirit, and you’ll come back eventually

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Thank you

Another legendary fitness guru, Clarence Bass, has had full hip replacements done. If you look back to some older articles on his site, you can find his thoughts about training after hip replacement. He eventually gave up squats and deadlifts because of an issue with spinal stenosis. I see that he just recently bought a belt squat machine to use in place of a leg press, which was also bothering his low back. That may not be viable for you, if you are concerned about hip load in a squat like movement.

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