The body is pretty amazing. It is designed and created to move. Joints and muscles work together and in harmony to move us around every day. Sadly, over time those joints and muscles can become hindered and limited in their movement, or injuries can plague a person and limit them.
Whatever the scenario, taking care of your body is important. The knees are a part of the body that need special attention because of their purpose in moving us and most importantly bearing weight everyday when a person walks, stands, runs, or jumps. Over time however, the knees can become weak and even injury can occur. Weight lifters and runners especially can experience knee issues overtime because of the stress that comes with working out. When just one knee is damaged, it can throw the whole body off, like tires on a car that are out of alignment.
So, if you find yourself dealing with knee issues, working out can still happen, but you need to be safe. Making sure that anything you do, especially leg work, is done unilaterally (each side one at a time) to help promote balance. Always make sure you are also cleared to lift weights on your knees if they are getting bad because if you push them too hard you could open the door for an even worse case.
So, when it comes to training around bad knees, follow these tips:
- Walk for Leg Day
If you just cannot do anything for legs anymore because your knees are bad, walking is better than nothing. Hop on a treadmill and set the incline up a little (if possible) and focus on the movement of the leg, contracting the quads, hamstrings, and buttocks with each stride. This can help push blood into the muscle and is also great because the knee is bending and moving.
- Stay Away from Weight Bearing Lifting
If your knees cannot take squatting or deadlifts, find a leg extension and leg curl machine to isolate those muscles as much as possible. These machines will also help in keeping the range of motion of the knee which is good for any joint.
Cycling/spinning are actually an anabolic movement, which means they will help in building the leg muscles, while running is more of a catabolic (breakdown) movement. By jumping on a bike and challenging yourself with a slight resistance when it comes to pedaling, you can actually protect the knee and still build up the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.