Knee/Training Update

Posted on by Ben Bruno

I’ve continued to receive a bunch of questions about how I’m setting I’m training in lieu of my knee issue, so I thought I’d share that briefly.

Unfortunately, my knee is still nowhere near where I’d like it to be. It’s better than it was four months ago, but still far from perfect, and far from anything resembling perfect. I had a follow-up MRI three weeks ago that shows that there still a small tear in the meniscus, so that basically sucks. The doctor doesn’t want to go back in to fix it (which I’m very happy about) because of my propensity to lay down significant amounts of scar tissue, so as of now, the plan is to continue to be patient.

I’ve been getting some really good manual soft tissue therapy on the surrounding structures in my leg, and that is helping quite a bit so I’m hopeful that it will expedite the healing process. I’m also being diligent about doing soft tissue work on my own (foam rolling, self-myofascial release, etc.). I’m doing it every day, sometimes multiple times a day. That’s something I should have been better about all along, but something I let slip a little too often.

You don’t really appreciate your health until you don’t have it. Let that be a lesson to you.

As an example, this drill with the lacrosse ball has become my new best friend and worst enemy at the same time.

On the training front, I’m just doing what I can and avoiding what hurts. I’ve continued to do rehab work on my knee, but I’ve backed off a lot from direct work to the quad because I think was overdoing it a little bit. I wasn’t doing anything heavy or stupid, but I was doing the rehab work too frequently and I think that rather than speed up the healing process, it may have actually been slowing it down a little.

So for the most part it’s upper body, core, rehab work, and lighter work for the posterior chain that doesn’t involve knee flexion.

As for how I’m setting up my training, it’s actually very similar to the article I recently wrote on T-Nation called the Power of Three, only I am not pushing the leg work and treating that as rehab.

I’m doing full body workouts with three exercises per workout. The one thing I’m experimenting with is upping the frequency, so while I suggested three workouts in the article, I’ve been trying the same program training 4-5 days a week (usually 4).

It’s going well right now, but I think it’s because I’m not training my legs hard so my recovery ability is higher. Leg training is the hardest to recover from, so when you take that out of the equation it’s a whole different ball game.

Even though I can’t train the way I’d like, I still think it’s very important to have goals. For January and part of February, I put my biggest focus on improving my chin-ups, which I did. After seven weeks of that though, it was time for a new goal, so I’ve put my chin-ups on maintenance (I still do them so I don’t lose what I built, I just don’t push them as well) and turned the focus to my pressing and rows.

I’ve actually added back in some overhead pressing too, which I haven’t done in quite some time. I’ll get more into this in a future blog post.

So that’s the training and knee update in a nutshell. I am doing everything in my power to get my knee right, but a huge part of it is time and patience and the mental part of it is as big of a struggle as the physical part. It’s very frustrating, but I’m staying positive and using it as a learning experience. I have some tremendous help too, so that makes it easier to deal with. I appreciate the continued support and I will continue to keep you all posted.

Let me know if you have any further questions. I was actually thinking about sending out a newsletter with a sample week of my training with the exact sets and reps and exercises, so if you’re interested in that, let me know. That should also be a reminder that if you haven’t signed up for the free newsletter already, you can do some at the top of the page.

Also, if you missed this week’s For Your Viewing Pleasure, give that a look as well.

Finish the week strong!

  • Jacob VasapollI

    Definitley would like to see the newsletter with your training week!

    • Ben Bruno

      Ok cool, I’ll do that.

    • Jdrannin1

      I’d be interested in that as well.

  • Neil

    I agree with Jacob! Ben, in terms of nutrition, has your diet changed at all as a result of the injury?

    • Ben Bruno

      Yes, I’m eating less because I am not doing as much activity and my workouts are not as metabolically demanding since I’m not training my legs hard or doing conditioning work. Upper body workouts just aren’t as demanding.

  • Tom

    Any variations to the Power of 3 minus the supersets?

    • Ben Bruno

      Tom, sorry but I don’t really understand your question. Could you rephrase it?

      • Tom

        Sorry. Could you do the Power of 3 in a straight sets fashion? The time I’d be training, there’s no way I could manage paired sets with how busy the place is.

        • Ben Bruno

          Ok I gotcha. Sure, that would be fine. I would do the heavy exercise first, then medium, then light.

  • BradKaczmarski

    Ben, how do you structure your 4 or 5 day with regards to Heavy-Medium-Light?

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  • Dominik

    I would be interested also in a training week of yours! Keep up the good work and let time work for you in terms of your knee!