Last week, I could only do upper body workouts. With all the snow and ice on the ground, walking was out of the question. No way I was going to risk further damage to the knee by falling on by butt. No doubt the lack of exercise contributed to my foul mood last week.
Turns out, there was a slight upside to all that dang snow. My knee feels great. No pain. No morning swelling.
So I decided it was time to take my knee for a spin…literally.
Sunday morning I walked into my gym’s empty spin room. My plan was simple: Cycle for 30 minutes or so and test out different resistance levels. Only if my knee felt good would I try to stand and pedal.
It went better than expected. Pre-injury, level 8 was my top resistance level. After tearing my meniscus, I was lucky if I could do level 5 pain-free. On Sunday, I could do level 9 without any pain or my knee emitting any strange popping sounds. So I kicked the resistance level up to 10 and decided to get out of the saddle for 5 minutes.
It was a good test, and I give my knee passing grade. It wasn’t until the last 60 seconds that I started hearing and feeling a couple of pops in my knee. I quickly dropped the resistance and sat down.
I reminded myself, “I’m on the mend, not healed.”
I ended up doing 66 minutes and going 14.3 miles. As a precaution, I iced my knee when I got home, but the swelling and stiffness never appeared.
55 Burpees and Thrusters, Oh My
Before meeting with my trainer yesterday, I decided to cycle on my own for 30 minutes and stay for the first 15 minutes of a spin class. I knew the trainer would push me (and my knee) more than I would myself. Yes, she worked me like a dog for those 15 minutes, but the results were the same as Sunday — my knee felt awesome.
I ended my 45-minute session feeling great and going 9.5 miles.
Then it was on to my trainer. If anyone could break me, she could. She had me do 10 sets of: pull-ups, push-ups, modified thrusters (minus the deep squat), and modified burpees. Seems like a lot (it was!), but my repetitions decreased by 1 each set. So I did 10 of each for my first set and 1 of each for my last set.
For about a month now, I’ve avoided squats and any form of jumping as both cause exquisite pain. Despite modifying the thrusters and burpees to take as much pressure off my knee as possible, both moves were the big test.
My knee felt completely normal throughout the workout. No pain or popping noise. About halfway through, my desire to run before I could crawl kicked into high gear. Around set 5 I tried to do a deeper squat during the thrusters. Thankfully my trainer busted me. Yes, my knee felt great, but she didn’t care (rightfully so!).
A day and 55 burpees later, I feel great. I woke up this morning, hopped out of bed and walked (pain-free) down the stairs to let the dogs out. My knee felt fine. I don’t think this means I’m ready to do real squats just yet, but next month I’m hoping my doctor gives me the clear to start running again. Fingers crossed.