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Old 04-20-2009
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Default Legs: Warm-ups and When to go Heavy

Nark, Doc, and anyone else:

I am starting to work legs again after a layoff due to surgery (partial medial meniscetomy) and my question is related to the timing of heavy leg exercises. What warm-up is necessary/recommended before squating with moderate or heavy weight? Is 5 minutes on a bike sufficient or should I use leg curls/extensions to warm up the knees prior to lifting heavier weight such as squats and legpress?
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Old 04-20-2009
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Default Re: Legs: Warm-ups and When to go Heavy

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Originally Posted by DangerDan
Nark, Doc, and anyone else:

I am starting to work legs again after a layoff due to surgery (partial medial meniscetomy) and my question is related to the timing of heavy leg exercises. What warm-up is necessary/recommended before squating with moderate or heavy weight? Is 5 minutes on a bike sufficient or should I use leg curls/extensions to warm up the knees prior to lifting heavier weight such as squats and legpress?
It's interesting that you started this topic, as I'm writing an article on functional warm-ups right now.

I will say this, as someone with one busted knee (one leg shorter than the other), and an uncooperative hip: Take your time warming up.

Mobilization is central to warm-up IMO... so think about the 'why' of each exercise you incorporate.

Tight hip flexors and tight hamstrings each contribute to suboptimal functioning of the knee... so my warm-ups prior to major lower body work deals with just that.

Hamtrings tend to get shortened post-injury, during the lay-off time... You'd benefit from hitting them first in your lower body work-out. I generally do my hypers/SLDLs/ laying leg curls prior to squatting. w/ leg curls first, you get the additional benefit of knee bending w/o patella stress... Not like the stress you'd get from leg extensions, or any other quad dominant movement at any rate.

Quads, which tend to be stronger (even after an injury to the knee), i work last.

Leg presses are first, as I don't think they're as stressful on the knees.

At any rate, leg presses are easier to modify to reduce stress.

Squats are last in my leg routine... After all that pre-exhausting (both direct and indirect), even your maintenance weight will be more than effective.

Following a reintroduction approach of this nature has allowed me to add significant leg size since my injuries.



My lower body warm-up:

Mobilization: elliptical warm-up, 10-15 minutes... or inclined treadmill for the same duration.

Start with a short ROM, gradually increasing as you limber up.


Hip flexors et. al.:

3 sets of glute bridges
3 sets of hip adduction
3 sets of hip abduction.

3-5 minutes minutes stretching

-CNS
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Old 04-20-2009
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Default Re: Legs: Warm-ups and When to go Heavy

Awesome info Nark. Thanks. As a follow up, do you every utilize foam rolling or tennis-balls for soft tissue work?
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Default Re: Legs: Warm-ups and When to go Heavy

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Awesome info Nark.  Thanks.  As a follow up, do you every utilize foam rolling or tennis-balls for soft tissue work? 
I only started the tennis ball last week... but I have been using other SMR techniques for a while now.

Iliotibial Band tightness is a common source of knee pain... So i work over that are multiple times daily.
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Default Re: Legs: Warm-ups and When to go Heavy

Here is an example of soft tissue work using tennis balls: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...for_tough_guys. I have never really done soft tissue work, but due to a couple of nagging injuries, I may give it a try.
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Default Re: Legs: Warm-ups and When to go Heavy

And here is a decent manual for someone fairly unfamiliar with SMR (such as myself): http://www.robertsontrainingsystems....SMR-manual.pdf
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Default Re: Legs: Warm-ups and When to go Heavy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Narkissos

I only started the tennis ball last week... but I have been using other SMR techniques for a while now.

Iliotibial Band tightness is a common source of knee pain... So i work over that are multiple times daily.
^^Just quoting my follow-up post in case you missed it :)

Just a side-note... btw: Over the course of my readings I've come to realize that different practitioners use different tools for myofascial release.

Some use smooth stones, sticks or whatever to get that desired release.

Foam rollers are popular because they're easy, and they hit a large number of areas all in one go.

Personally however, I've realized that some spots... particularly along the IT band require something smaller to be effectively reached.

Elbows, knuckles, smooth stones... these work better for areas like the IT band.

For the upper middle back, a tennis ball works better than something larger.

w/ regard to where you're at right now, I'd suggest that you start with a foam roller... and supplement it with knuckle work (i.e. kneading with your knuckle).

Right now I'm doing SMR multiple times daily... some of it with my thumb and knuckles... some of it with hard smooth objects... some with the tennis ball.

I've been seeing my chiro once per week since my slipped disc, and i'm thinking about keeping her on at least once per month on the long-term.

While the rehab i did on my own was great, as per her own statements, i wasn't able to get the tendons of the back of my knee to release on my own... So it's great to have someone else look at it. Deep tissue therapy or a chiro once per month should be long-term preventative therapy imo.

Either that, have a deep tissue massage (or trigger point release session) once per week during your reintroduction period.

So I'd also suggest that you see a chiro right about now, to see if your alignment has changed during the lay-off.

-C
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Default Re: Legs: Warm-ups and When to go Heavy

This is an awsome thread! Im glad I have never had the need for more than a few warmup sets and hamstring stretches for my knees.

The only thing I can contribute about knee health in general is that after I got on westside, ditched quad work and started targeting and brining up hams I have not had a single knee problem. My knees used to be crap and always give me pain, seems like it was related to a strenght imbalance betwen hams and quads.
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