View Full Version : Alternative to Leg Extensions & Leg Curls

04-25-2002, 09:56 AM
I'm back into weightlifting and bodybuilding after several years in cycling and running. I have patella-femoral arthritis in my left knee, and my orthopaedic surgeon says NO leg extensions or curls, which aggravates the symptoms (not to mention, it hurts like hell). I'm able to do leg presses, and I love cable work with an ankle strap for abductor/adductor work. Question: is there an alternative weightlifting exercise to replace the leg extensions and curls? I'm at a loss. Thanks.

04-25-2002, 09:59 AM
Everybody say it with me now.....

04-25-2002, 10:00 AM
Marshall, I'll start it, you finish it off. Ready?


04-25-2002, 10:00 AM
Lucy - leg presses substitute fine. Do Stiff Legged Deads for your hams.

and of course..... <drum roll>


hey - welcome to the site.

04-25-2002, 10:02 AM
Damn Shamkik - I should have waited! I saw that it was her first post, so I went back to answer seriously. :)

04-25-2002, 10:03 AM
You and I would make a pretty good team. You, of course, being the alternate...because we know where you plaque is, right?

04-25-2002, 10:08 AM
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the song and dance.....you make a good chorus line (it's the short skirts)... I can't do squats, because the knee is blown out. SO! I'm in a real jam. Which is why I've made the post. Get it?

04-25-2002, 10:16 AM
Well...hmmm...maybe some kind of hydro classes. I'm not really sure if swimming alone would help with size, but I'm sure there are some water exercises that you could do. It would help to keep the pressure off your knee at least.

04-25-2002, 10:28 AM
But you can do Leg Presses - what's the difference? I personally find the Leg Press harder on the knee joint, it's a less natural motion.

Regardless, you can do Leg Presses for your quads and SLDL's for your hams. Which is what I recommended. What more do you need?

Shamik - I'm working on getting that plaque moved. ;-)

Paul Stagg
04-25-2002, 10:39 AM
If you can do leg presses, you can do squats, unless you are using a leg press machine I have never seen.

Some leg press machines are FAR more dangerous from a knee standpoint than squatting is.

SLDL for the hamstrings. GHR, pullthrus, goodmornings, or hypers if you like

You'll be all set.

04-25-2002, 11:30 AM
I would think that with proper for you shouldn't have any problems with squats. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. You can also try supplimenting some glucosamine. I've heard that, using a smith rack, you can bring your feet forward so that you are leaning into the bar, and that will take some of the stress of the knees. However, this could possibly open up a whole knew list of problems that you could encounter with the back. Just make sure to keep your back STRAIGHT.

04-25-2002, 01:44 PM
Everyone of you is correct regarding the leg press and squats, and I thank you all for posting. I think I've dreaded squats because of the knee for so long that it's just become a phobia. However, my old workout partner says I can start with sissy squats, or do 1/4 or 1/2 squats instead of the full. My legs are strong, so it's more of the supporting ligamenture surrounding the knee that's whacked. That's the Catch-22. I need to keep weightlifting to stay strong and keep the knee from further degeneration, but the degeneration that's already occurred has altered my weightlifting.

Paul Stagg
04-25-2002, 01:52 PM
Do youknwo if you have any muscle imbalance between quad and hamsting?

Sissy squats can be tough on knees, too.

I understand the phobia. If you are comfortable on the leg press, keep at it, and add in very light high rep full squatting. Add weight slowly and progressively. Maybe 2x15, and don't work to your limit until you feel comfortable doing so.

04-25-2002, 01:59 PM
Could also try lunges.

04-25-2002, 02:41 PM
Paul, I don't think there's an imbalance between quad and hamstring. I'd have to get it checked out through sports ortho. It doesn't matter if I'm on the press machine or not, it still hurts some. It's just the nature of the arthritis. I'll start on the light weight/high rep squatting although I can't promise it's going to be a full squat to start. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Lunges are like the squats: I totally dislike them. But I'll do them too, just to be cool..... :)

04-25-2002, 02:49 PM
good luck lucy

Paul Stagg
04-25-2002, 02:52 PM
The full squats are probably going to be better for you in the long run. Adjust the weight to make them comfortable.

if that means free squatting, start there.

Keep your doc in the loop, and report any pain.

04-25-2002, 03:34 PM
I've had ACL reconstructive surgery on my knee and I wouldn't dream of doing sissy squats. However, I can do squats and leg presses with no problem.

Leg presses can seem safer because you're not moving your whole body through an area. However, I think squats may actually be a little better for your knee because you position yourself naturally where the weight is balanced, whereas with a leg press you can put your feet in awkward positions causing problems.

I think you should start out with some very light weights on squats (even just free standing squats to get the form down). I would also recommend a slightly wider stance and point your toes outward, takes a lot of stress off the knees this way.

chris mason
04-25-2002, 03:34 PM
First, I live in Charlottesville as well! I am the GSM at Brown Honda Dodge right across from the Fashion Square.

Second, I would suggest that you stick with the leg presses, you don't need anything else. Sissy squats, properly performed will aggravate your knees, as will most of the other exercises. If you can perform the leg presses without pain, then you should be just fine with them.

One more thing, superslow exercise may be in order here. Superslow is performed with a 5 second negative and 10 second positive. With this style of training you will use significantly less resistance, thus reducing the stress on the involved joints. If you train in this fashion, you may also be able to include the extensions and curls.

the doc
04-26-2002, 08:12 AM
lucy if i were you i would try to train a few sessions with mason!

the doc
04-26-2002, 08:17 AM
I definitely agree about the squat to parallel being somewhat less stressful than leg presses (on the knee and lower half of the body).

I think lunges would be an extremely poor choice due to the great deal of foward mementum that is absorbed whilst bending the knee. I also think that any other leg exercises besides sldl would be poor because of again, lateral stresses on the knee joint, maybe leg extensions would be ok.

It would seem to me most logical to keep with exercises where there are only vertical forces involved. I really like mason's superslow idea as well

04-26-2002, 01:30 PM
I think this was already implied but a 1/4,1/3 or any squat other then to parallel is harder on the knee because your knee joint halts the descent.

when you go to parallel the glutes and hams are in a better position to help stop the bar