Today’s Ask the Coach is a guest column in which Coach Harvey Newton is pinch hitting for Coach Fred, based on the subject matter of the question we received.
At almost 62, what strength workouts are best after (multiple) partial meniscectomies? Dumbbell squats, step-ups? Neither? Any ideas? Left knee has had 3 procedures, right 2, and may need another. Thanks. – Michael G.
Coach Harvey Newton Replies:
Michael, I am not a medical professional, so I certainly defer to what your surgeon recommends.
Squatting, at least for those with “healthy” knees, is normally the exercise of choice recommended by strength and conditioning professionals. That said, the leg press remains what I would consider cyclists’ most popular lower body strengthening exercise.
Ideally, what you want to include is a closed kinetic chain: multiple joint movement that involves hip and knee extension against resistance. Step-ups, lunges, all forms of squats, and the leg press all meet this criteria.
Generally speaking, such closed kinetic chain movements are preferred over open kinetic chain exercises, such as leg (knee) extensions and/or leg (knee) curls.
So, first check with your medical advisors. If you get a thumbs-up from them, please consider recruiting, at least on a temporary basis, the experience of a well-qualified strength training professional to assist with proper exercise technique.
If by chance your doctors do not want you to perform any of the above-listed resistance training exercises due to their concerns about your knees, look at effective ways to strengthen your lower body on the bike.
Good luck, and let us know how things go.
Coach Harvey Newton is a former USA national weightlifting team coach and former strength training consultant to USA national cycling teams throughout the 1980s and ’90s. He’s the author of the Strength Training for Cyclists DVD-based program in the RBR eBookstore and full-time strength training coach. Click to read Harvey’s full bio.