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I know the weight machines are bad but...

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  • I know the weight machines are bad but...

    ...I'm in the process of recovering from injuries sustained in an avalanche (yes, you read that right, an avalanche -- I was climbing Maroon Peak here in CO) about 10 days ago.

    After the slide, I still had about 3 miles to hike out, 2 with a heavy pack (had camped near the base of the mtn), which might have worsened my hurt legs. While that in itself is arguably primal -- if Grok got hurt falling out of a tree or maybe stepping into a prairie dog hole while chasing an animal, he would have had to find a way to walk back to camp (or just die) -- it doesn't change the fact that I could not go run (yeah I know, not primal, but I do it to train for rugby season) or do any kind of lower body strength training since then.

    I went to the gym yesterday and started doing squats again (same amt of weight as I had been doing before, I figure I can't have lost that much muscle in 10 days) and while my muscles could handle the amount of weight, it put way to much strain on my knees.

    So then I played around with some of the machines and it seemed like I still got some muscular exercise out of it but it didn't put strain on my knees.

    So what's everyone's take on this? I figure doing at least something is better than nothing for the time being until I'm fully recovered, but wanted to see what people here thought.

    Subduction leads to orogeny

    My blog that I don't update as often as I should:

  • #2

    Amy one word for you REST, donít do squats when you have bad knees it just makes them worse and longer recovery. If you do still want to go to the gym then I suggest you do more back work like one armed rows, lat pulldowns, bent rows, even some straight legged deadlifts which work more of the back of the legs and should be easier on the knees.

    Cool way to get an injury by the way, very impressive.


    • #3

      Leg press is commonly recommended to folks with knee pain for helping the joint/cartilage to heal. It's going to be much less challenging form than a squat or deadlift, and less risk of injury from the restricted range of motion of some of the quad/ham extension machines.

      Just start off slow and make sure you position your feet so they're pointing in a direction aligned with the plane your leg makes as it bends. Don't be afraid to do less weight than you normally do. The joints are the problem, not the muscles, and you don't have to put a working load on your muscles to help the joints.

      If you think it's anything more than a simple sprain, you could maybe talk to a physical therapist.


      • #4

        Sorry I can't remember the specific articles, but T-Nation has published various articles about rehab exercises for people recovering from injuries. In particular, I remember one of them recommended dragging and pulling exercises as being fantastic for lower back and other lower body restrictions. (Including knees.) It produces maximum effort for your muscles and minimum impact on your joints and tendons.

        Does your gym have a dragging sled? Mine doesn't, but it does have a dumbbell cart which holds about 400-lbs of dumbbells. Load/unload it with an appropriate weight for you, grab the handle and push it across the room, then drag it back.

        Another option is a cable machine. Adjust it so that the cable comes low from the ground (setting 10 or 11 is good) instead of from high above you. Put on whatever handle you like, grab it, squat down, and start walking backwards slowly and with control. Make sure you return it under control, too; don't let the stack jerk you forward.

        The key to doing this properly is to lean back in the squat so that you're primarily using your glute and hamstring muscles.


        • #5

          Run (pun intended), do not walk, to a good physical therapist.

          When I worked in that huge senior's project in Denver, I was amazed what these people (PT's)could do. I saw people come into the program in wheelchairs and after six months they are walking with a cane.

          I know that is different from a sports injury, but it illustrates the respect I have for them.

          This is not a time for DIY.