If you are a bodybuilder or a fitness enthusiast that strength trains, you will have some concerns when it comes to making the decision to have a knee replacement. After all, there will be some physical restrictions placed upon you such as no high impact sports or running as these will only shorten the lifespan of the prosthesis.
When it come to bodybuilding, there really isn’t too many contradictions in regards to exercises that you can’t complete. Therefore, you should be able to continue your bodybuilding without jeopardizing your surgical knee if you use some restraint in the amount of weight you intend to lift.
I have used the following exercise for my legs to keep them strong and from also allowing muscle atrophy to develop which is something anyone involved in bodybuilding knows all to well about.
Leg Press: I use the leg press more often than the squat because the weight is balanced more appropriately and, I can concentrate on the quadriceps more effectively.
The intention when it comes to lifting weights with he affected leg is to stimulate the muscles involved not necessarily how much weight someone can lift.
The leg press allows you to keep control of your body so that you can concentrate entirely on the surgical leg. I like to use the leg press as it allows me to build more muscular endurance in the leg without sacrificing form and setting me up for injury.
The Squat: Yes, I have found you can still use the squat effectively however, common sense has to be used. The days before surgery where you may have placed 400-550 pound on a barbell is not recommended. You can still squat safely to parallel or even a little deeper however, the weight used should be something you can use safely for 12-15 repetitions. The amount a weight someone uses of course will differ but keeping the weight no heavier than 225 pounds can be acceptable.
Placing too much weight on a consistent basis with the squat can cause a breakdown around the prosthesis and lead to a loosening of the components. The weakest link with a knee replacement will be the cement used by the surgeon to hold the knee components in place. With excessive weight over long periods of time can cause loosening.
Hamstring exercises: Basically all the hamstring exercises are allowable and I find none of them have caused any harm with my knee replacement in over 14 years now. The same goes for the calf muscle routines as well. The important thing to remember is that keeping your weight selection modest is the key.
There really to my knowledge have not been any studies done about how much weight an individual can use when strength training on a knee replacement and, if you ask your surgeon unless they are active bodybuilders themselves, will not have any advice for you either other than don’t lift!
So do not fear that your weight lifting or bodybuilding days are over with just because you have had a knee replaced. Just be a little more creative in your weight selection and, find other ways to fatigue those quadriceps and hamstrings such as using shorter rest periods or compound sets in the future.