So, if you’ve been here at all lately–like, sometime in the last four months–you’ve most likely learned that something funky is going on with my knees, causing my severe pain on some days and the inability to walk on others, and right now it appears to only be temporarily able to be remedied by Advil.
You’re not supposed to be on Advil for more than ten days straight, but I’ve talked with a doctor and an orthopedist and there’s a rheumatologist in my future and no one can figure out any of this crap so I’m on Advil EVERY DAY. Advil is my savior. Don’t diss the Advil in front of me. It’s only because of Advil and all that it enables me to do that I’m sane enough to blog right now.
Yes, Advil is my enabler. 😛
The problem with not being able to accomplish anything when not taking Advil is quite the dilemma for such an exercise addict as I. Since my knees started flaring up with whatever, I haven’t been able to run; hence, I’ve gained weight, I’ve developed a more negative body image and the insecurities are flaring up again, I haven’t been as happy, and I haven’t been nearly as well-organized (for me, there was nothing more effective at clearing my mind than a good run).
On the other hand, my arms and abs are looking mi-T-fine (at least in comparison to their previous states) as I turn increasingly to strength training exercises for my daily dose of endorphins.
I have this hunch that I’m not the only one out there who’s going through this type of thing. Maybe you have arthritis, maybe your entire leg’s in a brace, maybe you can tell when it’s going to rain when your knee starts spasming uncontrollably…whatever your reason, I took it upon myself to create a workout for you.
If you are one of those fortunates who are simply looking to PREVENT knee injury, I would advise you to head on over to Sprint 2 the Table and check out this knee-saving workout–excellent strenghtening and preventative moves, but not much good if your knee’s already past saving! 😉
(This graphic is pinnable with the “Pin It” button down in the footer of the post, if you’d like just the image without all this extra yadda-yadda attached.) 😉
This workout aims to combine some simple strength-training moves in a quick succession (thereby also serving as cardio), as well as some yoga poses that will work on gently stretching the front and back of your knee. Play it safe, please; judge whether you can do each step by taking your level of pain/disability into account, and please see a doctor if you have random undiagnosed intense knee pain. And as a final disclaimer: I am not a dietician, nutritionist, personal trainer, doctor, or authority on anything at all, and I do not pretend to be one here. I simply wanted to throw together a quick, fun (?) workout for those unfortunates among us who have knee problems so extensive that even bending them is painful, no to mention bending while supporting extra weight with it. While I am fairly confident that no major injury or death shall befallst you while attempting this workout, I assume no liability for anything. Use your common sense, work out in a safe place, and warm up and cool down to prevent muscle injury. That is all. 🙂
Now jump to it! (I’m sorry; jumping references are quite cruel. I just couldn’t resist.)
For instructions on the moves:
Standing Forward Bend–There is no reason you have to go all the way down to the floor like that crazy woman. Resting my hands on my thighs seems to work quite well for me. Hold this for ~5 “yoga breaths”; it should feel pretty good (or bad, depending on your flexibility level) in your hamstrings and in the back of your knees.
Resistance Band Rowing This is like rowing with a machine, but it takes the strain of constantly bending and extending your knees away.
Lateral Weight Hold Do what the gal in the picture is doing, but don’t drop your weights!; hold them for 1-1.5 minutes, or as long as you can.
Camel I can do this pose as long as I take Advil beforehand, but my knees want no part in it otherwise. Make the decision for yourself; base it in your pain level in the front of your knee. If you can perform it, it’s a nice stretch for the front of your knee.
Locust Instead of holding the post statically, drop your limbs quickly and rise them back up again–you’re doing Locust reps moreso than a Locust pose.
Push-Ups–Please tell me you know how to do these already. For confirmation, watch this video. (If you’re me, you can go from your knees.)
Crunches–Watch the video to make sure your form is correct.
Forward Bend at the Wall–Well, this is much like normal forward bending, except you place your hands at hip height on the wall and walk your legs backward until your torso is parallel to the ground, and perpendicular to your legs. (Keep them straight!) Breathe and hold, ~5 “yoga breaths”.
Static Quadricep Lifts–Again, when doing any leg exercises with a bum knee, judge based on your pain level. Basically, these involve lying on your back with one knee bent, foot on the floor, and the other leg in the air with the knee at the same height as the other knee. Your body and your extended leg ends up making a ~135 degree angle . Hold for as long as you can, then switch legs. I held mine for a minute per leg.
STRETCH is written in big purple letters down the middle of the graphic because I want to emphasize yet again how important it is in recovery of all sorts! During a workout, after a workout, or before turning in for the night, doing some simple stretches or light yoga can really help ease tension and stiffness that will only make any injury feel worse!
Building the strength back up in your quads and thighs is very important post-knee-injury, because those muscles are ones that help hold the kneecap in place and let your knee do what it does! Strong thighs are also key to preventing knee injury, so all you healthy folks–try this out too!
This workout took me only about 20 minutes and was fairly easy (though I did use what Daddio refers to as “fairy weights”–I’m not gonna even admit how light they were. Definitely up the ante if your strength will allow you to!) which is perfect for my relatively busy student lifestyle. I am so glad I’m to a point where I can exercise comfortably again! Endorphins make me happy! 🙂