Q&A: Knee pain

Motocross

Mike,

How much muscle can I gain in 12 weeks? (LOL, just kidding)

To keep this short, years of motocross and bad knee genetics have left me with some pretty beat-up knees. Once the dislocation was so severe on left knee, I had to get it reworked via surgery.

With that said, my question involves training my legs. Currently I suck it up and do my deads, squats, presses etc. The hardest part of the movement for me is the lowering phase…say in a squat or a press.  Since I always seem to favor my stronger (right) leg, there is obviously an imbalance..

I try to incorporate single leg movements into my workouts (press, ext, split squat, etc).  As an example, if I do single-leg presses, I use the SAME weight for both legs, which results in a more difficult movement for my left leg compared to my right leg.

Based on your experience, do you have any suggestions to overcome this imbalance? The more tired/pumped my legs are, the more I am right leg dominant, which make squatting a disaster, and dangerous!

When my knees act up and I cannot train my legs, I get depressed…I look around the gym and see all these other Pigeon looking guys training upper body 5x week, and I break out into a cold sweat 🙂

Do you have any suggestions for me on how to structure my leg sessions to deal with this imbalance?

Thanks!!

-John

John –

I think training unilaterally is obviously a great option.  Another idea would be to play around with the tempos you’re using.  Let me explain.

Think about how most people do lunges – they might do an equal number on both sides, but the quality is much worse on the weaker/less stable leg.  The result ends up being you blast through the repetitions on the “weak” side, and it never really gets the training effect that you desire.

What I would really focus on is a multi-faceted approach:

– Obviously, you’ll need more sets and/or reps on the weaker side.  That much is a given.

–  Really slow down your tempos on the weaker side, especially the eccentric.  I’ve played around with 3 second eccentrics, and even as long as 5 seconds to improve motor control, coordination and strength.

– Make sure you’re not just focused on the thigh muscles, but the muscles of the hip as well.  Too often we get so focused on the thighs that we forget how important the hips are for control and stability.

I hope that helps you out – and if you’re not John, picking up a copy of Bulletproof Knees wouldn’t hurt either 😉

Have a great holiday weekend!

Stay strong
MR

1 Comments

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  1. For the love of God, buy Bulletproof Knees. It is easy to understand and implement. It also covers alot more you can do to keep yourself in the gym.
    Good luck.

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