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Injured Monk Knee-ds Some Weightlifting Wisdom


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Hello, fellow warriors of the rebellion!
 

I hope you're all doing well. I'm a monk with a background in Kyudo, and over the past few months, I've been on a journey to recover from a meniscus injury.  I've made significant progress in my recovery. Now, I'm looking to get back into weightlifting and strength training, but I want to take it slow.


A little about my current routine: I walk to my dojo regularly, keep myself active, got my meal prep and nutrition down, and incorporated some Kyudo practice in the morning to maintain flexibility. I also use a standing desk, which has been a game-changer for me. All things I've learned from this community, by the way. 


I've been following the RICE method diligently for my recovery, and I feel ready to start training again. However, I want to shift away from the high-intensity cardio aspects of my previous CrossFit routine. Instead, I'm seeking a weightlifting program that's more methodical and slow-paced. I'm familiar with and willing to give the 5x5 program another shot, but I'm open to other recommendations.


So, I turn to you, this forum's experienced weight lifters and warriors, for guidance.

What weightlifting routines or programs would you recommend for someone in my situation?

Any advice on how to ease back into weightlifting while prioritizing knee health would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you all for your support and wisdom!

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One shot, one life.

 

 

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5 x 5 is a perfectly valid general strength program. Depending on how your knee is doing it may be hard to adapt it in a way that doesn't cause you issues but that's something you have to determine. Working with a strength coach, if it's within your means, may be a good idea given that you are recovering from injury. 

 

Knowing that I know absolutely nothing about you, I'd take what I'm about to say with the smallest grain of salt. If I were answering this question for myself, assuming I did Kyudo and was recovering from a knee injury, I would have two guiding principles that I would build everything around:

  1. Kyudo recovery - I've never personally done Kyudo but from what I can tell, it primary involves using a long bow to shoot an arrow. As such, you're doing a lot of asymmetric pulling with your upper body and bracing with your lower body. So I would likely want to account for the tons of asymmetrical work of training with lots of symmetrical work where I monitor for one side compensating for the other. The goal being to bring up the strength on the inactive side of my body and realizing that the active side may not feel anything.
  2. Finding my ranges of motion - Coming back from injuries sucks. My goal would be to spend the first month of training approaching things like squats very gently. I'd want to leave the gym for that first month feeling like I had more in the tank but was 100% safe. As such, PRs and gains would be a low priority for that month, building the habit, learning if any lifts are off the table, and staying safe would be goal one.

Thinking about those two things, I'd personally start out at higher reps, doing light barbell movements or machines where both sides move together. It's probably skew towards a low frequency body building program. I don't know how often you want to get the gym but doing 6 exercises for 3-5 sets, 10-15 reps, 3 x /week would be a totally fine first two weeks then adjust to suit what feels good. If you have time to do more days of the week, go to four then five, or whatever is available to you. I'd probably try to be a low achiever for a month or two then start turning the knobs to make it harder if things felt great and/or I had a strong desire to go a specific direction (back towards crossfit style, super strong, get big, whatever floats your boat). If I got to month two and still felt unsure or too many movements hurt, I'd think again about a coach or seeing if I can get some more PT from my insurance to let me pick their brains. 

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36 minutes ago, The Most Loathed said:

5 x 5 is a perfectly valid general strength program. Depending on how your knee is doing it may be hard to adapt it in a way that doesn't cause you issues but that's something you have to determine. Working with a strength coach, if it's within your means, may be a good idea given that you are recovering from injury. 

 


Yes! I'm only considering the 5x5 program because it's what worked best for me back when I was doing weight liifting
 

38 minutes ago, The Most Loathed said:

Kyudo recovery - I've never personally done Kyudo but from what I can tell, it primary involves using a long bow to shoot an arrow. As such, you're doing a lot of asymmetric pulling with your upper body and bracing with your lower body. So I would likely want to account for the tons of asymmetrical work of training with lots of symmetrical work where I monitor for one side compensating for the other. The goal being to bring up the strength on the inactive side of my body and realizing that the active side may not feel anything.


Yes, that's pretty much how kyudo works, asymmetric and sometimes symmetric pulling with my upper body and bracing with my lower body. One of my goals is to strengthen and develop muscles to do a specific movement that is very difficult and painful to sustain, Ikasu, In which you have to raise only one knee (and your hips vertically, slightly) of the floor while kneeling on your toes and doing the shooting ceremony and hold it for 5-10, it's a tough move that takes practice, and I want to support that practice outside the dojo. But this is beneficial advice that I'll consider since it adapts to my current practice.
 

57 minutes ago, The Most Loathed said:

My goal would be to spend the first month of training approaching things like squats very gently. I'd want to leave the gym for that first month feeling like I had more in the tank but was 100% safe.

Yes, my goal is mostly to stay active, lose weight, support my kyudo practice, and watch out for that knee. I want to take it very very slowly, not looking for any gains or PRs at the moment. I appreciate that image because that's going to help me set expectations on how to finish a session. 
 

I plan to go to the gym 3 times a week since I do kyudo twice a week, and kyudo it's more low-impact and more isometric? I'm probably butchering that. I do work out the muscles more than I feel during the shooting practice because I remember my shooting being affected if I was too sore from CrossFit. I figured that I got it covered each week between WL, Kyudo, and enough rest. 

I'm still considering all my options, but I wanted to do my research before I commit to anything and start spending money on a membership or a coach

One shot, one life.

 

 

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On 9/15/2023 at 11:28 AM, The Shogun said:

Any advice on how to ease back into weightlifting while prioritizing knee health would be greatly appreciated.

 

In addition to all the good advice you've already been given: Warm up before you lift. In addition to all the usual benefits of a warm-up, you'll be able to judge how the knee is feeling that day and what your safe range of motion is, before lifting something heavy with it.

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I might suggest using "Overloading Isometrics" as a way to decrease sensitivity at the knee joint.  

 

An overloading Isometrics is basically pushing an immovable object.  You slowly ramp up your effort level to a pain free maximal effort.  Maybe take about 2 seconds to slowly increase effort (too quick and you might load up your knee to a point of pain to quickly.). Once you have found your pain free level of max effort sustain it for maybe 8 or so seconds.  

 

Now the trick is to take another 2 seconds to slowly ramp down.  Dropping the effort too quickly can also be sensitizing.  

 

This isn't really going to move the need in strength or work capacity but doing this early in a session can help provide some pain control of your rehab process for the meniscus includes returning to a responsible level of training through some lingering, mild pains.

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