View Full Version : Cardio for a guy with a lame leg

07-31-2008, 09:26 AM
I need options for some 20-30 minute cardio exercises for a person with a gimp leg (me). I've always avoided it, just focussing on weights, but I'm under doctor's orders to include it now... they wanted to send me to a physiotherapist for recommendations, but screw that: Someone out here has to know.

Are the rowing machines at a gym any good? If so, I still need some options for non-gym days.

07-31-2008, 09:30 AM
Can you swim? Swimming is excellent cardio.

Can you walk at all?

Rowing machines are OK cardio, but you'll still be pushing with your legs, it may still aggravate whatever your ailment is.

07-31-2008, 09:32 AM
Can you swim? Swimming is excellent cardio.

A very good solution, also running in chest deep water will take alot of stress off of the joints, but still provide a running motion, pretty good cardio too.

07-31-2008, 10:42 AM
I can walk, but only for a mile, mile and a half before my shins splinter or muscle fatigue in my left leg locks it up. I use an orthodic in my shoes... before getting it that distance was a half mile, and really it started hurting after 200 feet. I do walk that distance every lunch, but it's pretty slow going (20 - 25 minutes) so doesn't tax my heart enough.

I can't swim, either, but that's more to do with being unable to hold my breath underwater (air just rushes out my nose) than any physical issue. I can doggie paddle or float on my back and kick, if I needed to save my life. Unfortunately, there's no pool that I'd *want* to use anywhere near me (I live in a slum, and don't own a car).

Still, it's a good thought, and worth looking into.

The rowing machines I've tried don't bother me any... they're pretty low impact, which is why I'm wondering if they're worth anything, cardio wise.

I'm ok with the elipticals as well... but those I know don't do a thing: When I was a 200 pound cardio slave I could go 40 minutes on them no problem, heart rate in the 180s (!!) but still get winded crossing my apartment.

07-31-2008, 01:36 PM
The rowing machines I've tried don't bother me any... they're pretty low impact, which is why I'm wondering if they're worth anything, cardio wise.

Hah. Try pulling a 5K at a sub 1:40/500 pace and you'll find out just how hard rowing can be. You can get an excellent workout from a rowing machine if you're willing to put the effort into it. It helps to spend some time on technique with the rowing, but it's not going to kill you if you're slightly off on your form, it'll just make you slower and less efficient, which isn't that big of a deal if you're more interested in the GPP aspect of it.

Start with some short distances (2k - 5k) and maybe some short interval work (4x500) and see where you want to go from there.

07-31-2008, 06:52 PM
What do you mean, precisely, by "lame?"

I have a friend who has bad knees and can't run or row, but does fine cycling because the degree of flex isn't as high as rowing and the jarring isn't as severe as running.

Perhaps cycling?

08-01-2008, 02:50 AM
Hey buddy,

My mate has had a hip replacement and cannot get on a tread mil but regulary does the rower at slow pace.

The best thing fo them is the cross trainer (or eliptical/ski trainer) there is not pressure on any joints, it just depends on what impact this would have on your leg, personally i would give it a go very slow for about 5 mins just geting your movement.

If you are comfortable i would definately stick to the rower!

Good luck dude

08-01-2008, 06:38 AM
Alright. I'll give a little more ball busting effort into the rower.

I have a full range of flex with the leg (I deadlift and squat and such, though I favor my right leg when doing so, which sometimes has me lurching to the right and have to drop the bar at weights higher than 300). It's a skeletal and muscular mis-alignment due to compensating to a birth defect in my eyes. Recently I've figured out I can alleviate the pressure a bit by wearing an eye patch when walking (arrr, matey) but a *lot* of wear and tear damage has been done to that leg. Especially since I became overweight (even now, at below 20% body fat, I am still technically obese... and my leg can feel it).

Cycling's not a bad idea, though it's been years since I owned a bike and I'd have to find a place to put it in my apartment because my building doesn't have a storage room for each unit. Last I checked it didn't hurt my leg any.

I found the eliptical **** for actual real world endurance... but really, if I want 'real world' endurance I could always do real world things. If walking to the store winds me, walk it until it doesn't, etc.

08-02-2008, 04:11 PM
If you can row, then definitely do that. It's excellent cardio. I do a lot of running/rowing/swimming, and I think rowing is the best cardio workout of the three.

Also, I don't know why you're interested in doing 20-30 minute cardio... there may be good reasons, but if not, I strongly suggest changing your mindset as far as cardio goes and give CrossFit metcons a try. If you can squat/deadlift then you can do all the metcons. They are going to be about 10x more effective than steady state cardio.

If you're good at pull-ups, give this one a try:
21 squat thrusters (you do a front squat all the way ATF and go up to a push press in one smooth motion), 95 lbs
21 pull-ups (bodyweight)
15 squat thrusters, 95 lbs
15 pull-ups
9 thrusters, 95 lbs
9 pull-ups
You start the stop watch on your first thruster and end on your last pull-up. You have to do all the reps of one exercise before moving on to the next (so, exactly as it is listed above). You can rest in between your sets... i.e. maybe you can only do 8 pull-ups, so you might do 7 pull-ups, rest 30 seconds, another 6, rest 30 seconds, another 5, rest 30 seconds, and then another 4. Try to finish it as fast as you can. If you go through it incredibly fast and aren't tired at the end, then you can say it's a lame workout. If you get a slow time, then you're not working hard enough.
The record is 2:02 and there's hundreds of people under 4:00. Give it a shot.

08-07-2008, 09:12 AM
Doctor's orders. I *must* get an additional half hour a day of cardiovascular activity. That said, there's nothing saying that it has to be steady state cardio... other than the fact that weights alone for 30 to 45 minutes at 3 to 10 rep set intensities quite clearly wasn't enough (my hdl cholesterol is floored, hence the doctors orders to keep doing what I'm doing PLUS 30 minutes of cardio each day). Crossfit has always seemed less boring than being a human hamster and a lot of it can be done at home.

But at the same time I don't want to look like a dumbass going back for bloodwork in 3 months to find nothing's changed because I *didn't* follow the 30 minutes more thing. Not that anything's saying the 30 minute thing is going to do squat for my levels ... bad cholesterol runs in my family, so for all I know training like Lance Armstrong wouldn't do a thing... but I want to give their advice a try.

08-07-2008, 09:35 AM
Well, obviously the weight training isn't doing anything for you cardiovascularly, but I wouldn't group CrossFit with that. I'm guessing that the doctor just isn't really all that familiar with other types of cardio and I'm guessing that CrossFit would work just as well if not better at lowering your cholesterol. (That said, I've always assumed high cholesterol is primarily due to diet and genetics rather than exercise) I would mix the two up. 30m/d for 7d/w of steady state cardio would suck.

08-07-2008, 06:08 PM
I do need to mix it up. After 10 minutes of rowing after my lifting today I just ... couldn't be bothered to finish out the last 5 minutes on the timer. Went back and did some conditioning work for five minutes instead (the other 15 of the 'extra' thirty is walking to and from the gym since it's nice out for now). I'll be checking crossfit for less boring alternatives.

08-07-2008, 07:07 PM
What was your pace at for the rower?

Also, try the workout I posted above. It is the quintessential CrossFit workout. (Well, maybe that and "Fight Gone Bad")

08-08-2008, 08:43 AM
2:20 for 500 meters for the first 5 minutes, then 2:40 for the next 5. I'm really out of shape.

I suck at thrusters. I can military press the 95 pounds there a dozen times without rest, and before my injury I could squat 225 for reps... but put them together and I struggle with 40 pounds. Keep losing my balance (all the more reason to do them, really, since it could indicate a weak core). My shoulder injury kept me away from pull ups for more than a year, but I can do one or two before it starts to hurt these days.