After you read the question below, I’ll quickly tell you how to solve this problem, and then I’ll show you a video I filmed last night of me demonstrating the solution.
You’ll even get to watch me collapse on the floor at the end.
I have a real doozy for you. Generally, I’m extremely active, in life and in workout. I take power yoga 2-3x/week, do some form of cardio 2-3x/week, run around like the energizer bunny and eat better than most people. I really don’t ever have to worry about my weight or physique. I’m petite and I
have incredible muscle memory. I’d like to think that I am blessed with lucky genes, but most of my immediate family is overweight and very unhealthy. I must assume that I have a high metabolism because of my active lifestyle and my healthy diet.
However, about 6 months ago, I damaged the cartilage in both of my knee caps. I didn’t know the extent of the damage until recent MRIs were taken. I’ve tried physical therapy, rest, acupuncture, and massage. While it all works to a certain degree, nothing can repair the damage and the pain is unbearable and unpredictable. I have suspended all physical activity for the past 6 months, including walking on the treadmill, walking on the beach (oh yeah, I made that mistake and paid severely,) even running around during the work week. I tried the elliptical machine and it was hell. I do not care for
swimming at all and am dreading the bike. Anything weight-bearing, i.e. walking, running, etc. creates a, well…a KNEE-JERK reaction, as though a knife is suddenly stuck into my cap.
I still take the occasional yoga class, but with conscious care. I try to stay off the knees entirely, often skipping those positions. To make matters worse, other parts of my body are trying to compensate for the pain and they are now falling apart too. My left soaz (sp?) muscle and shoulder joint are practically worthless. Even my Achilles heel is affected. I have an appointment with one of the best knee doctors in LA, but it’s taken me months to get in to see him. I am praying I won’t need any kind of surgery, and that he doesn’t just opt for cortisone shots. However, cartilage damage is somewhat hopeless, until we have access to stem cell research. That could be 3-4 years.
So here’s my question: Other than swimming, what kind of cardio exercise can I do that does not incorporate the knees? My body is falling apart, inside and out. I am suddenly not the lean, mean fighting machine I have been for most of my life. More importantly, one by one, I’m losing my agility and strength in other parts of my body. I’m also tired and sick all the time, probably because my body is not getting rid of toxins at the same rate as when I’m exercising regularly. Is there some kind of machine I can strap into at the thighs, and start running my little heart out without the involvement of my knees? I’m not sure how much longer I can take this. I finally know what it feels like to get old.
Thanks. Any suggestions are welcome.
You’re on the right track with looking for a way to strap in with your thighs and not involve your knees.
What you might not realize is that you don’t need to move your legs at all to get your heart “running” all out.
Sound strange? Bear with me…
After I explain quickly, I’ll show you what I mean on a video, and I think you’ll be impressed.
Back when I ran track, I thought it was obvious that the faster I ran, the faster my heart would beat.
What wasn’t obvious to me until years later, after studying exercise, and working as a personal trainer in Los Angeles, was that this cardiovascular effect actually has nothing to do with the movement of my legs.
Instead, the cardiovascular effect is a result of how much my muscles are working, regardless of how much movement happens.
The movement part does not matter.
Even with no movement at all, you can get a top-notch, extreme cardio workout.
The great news is that with zero movement, you can accomplish this cardiovascular workout with zero impact forces on your joints.
Plus, at the SAME TIME, you can be doing all the right things to make your muscles as strong as they can be.
If you want to jump straight to my video demonstration, it is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlVdo-cBtNI
The leg exercise positions I demonstrate on the video are examples. While these would generally work in your type of situation, they may or may not be the ideal positions for your specific knee and situation.
The basic principle is to position your body so that you can exert sustained effort with a given muscle without bothering the joint in question.
Here is What You See on the Video:
First, I do an isometric pullover exercise, which works the lats and back.
The computer you see attached to this exercise gives instant feedback and has helped many of our clients learn how to perform zero-movement cardio/strength workouts much better.
(I have to brag a little, because we are the only gym in the United States that currently has this. Hopefully others will catch on, because it is an amazing learning device.)
Then you see me work my chest, followed by working my legs in three different ways. At least one or two of these might work for your situation, if not all three.
Then you see my collapse on the floor.
I don’t show you the following 20 or 30 minutes while I stay out of breath with my heart rate elevated, but I can tell you that I was thoroughly exhausted with this cardiovascular workout that required no movement at all.
I hope you enjoyed watching the video. And please leave comments on the YouTube page…I want to hear what you think.
Again, here is the link:
If you have a success story to share, or, if you’ve been unsuccessful at a fitness routine and want some advice, reply to this and tell me your story. If I think that there’s value for others, I’ll include your comments (with just your first name) and my reply in an upcoming newsletter.
Also, if you like the ideas you see here and would like to work one-on-one with an expert personal trainer in Los Angeles to learn how to get the most out of the time you spend working out, we are accepting applications for a few openings. Go here to apply to be considered right now.
Also check out out testimonials at the bottom of that page.
And see our new Myogenics Frequently Asked Questions page here.
I’ll talk to you again soon.
To health and life,
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West Hollywood, CA 90046
Disclaimer: All material provided herein is provided for educational purposes only. Consult your own physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition. Copyright 2008 Myogenics Fitness. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited without express written permission.