View Full Version : Pain, flexibility, and mobility causing strong concern

03-22-2010, 12:31 PM
Hey guys,
I'm not sure how much help I can get here, but I will take any at this point. I'd always like to apologize if this post sounds kind of "bloggy", but I want to be as clear as possible what my situation is. For about a year and a half I have struggled with small aches and pains seemingly all over my body (mainly knees and back) that have made exercising difficult and frustrating. I am only 19 years old, and I am getting very concerned and frustrated with this.

I'm an avid basketball player and skier, and after playing a few hours of basketball or skiing for a day I basically have to spend 2-3 days without any kind of physical activity because of my small pains in back, knees, and other random places depending on the day. I could definitely push it and work out and fight through the pain, but it doesn't seem worth it. I take great pride in being a good athlete and sports like skiing and basketball are bar none my two favorite hobbies. I had a meniscusectomy in October 2008, and my legs have not felt the same since the surgery. It's difficult to describe but my knees just feel weak and stiff, and there is definitely a strength imbalance within my two legs.

I've been told (and I agree) that my small aches and pains are from a lack of flexibility and from overuse. I was a 3 sport athlete in high school and didn't put any thought into stretching or exercises to work on my mobility. I've tried stretching somewhat consistently, but never with a great routine or really knowing what I was doing. I did physical therapy a bit for my knee, and was told that it was just weak. I've also done Joe DeFranco's mobility drills a bit and never noticed any results. I even went to a few yoga classes, which I think would be beneficial, but my schedule moving back from school to home makes it difficult to attend classes consistently. Yoga classes were frustrating because how tight I am caused me to struggle with the poses, but It seemed beneficial I guess.

In summary- I'm curious what I can do to get my body to start feeling better and be back to being able to play sports and exercising without feeling too much pain/aches/weakness. I love working out and lifting. But I haven't been able to do it consistently in over a year and it has gotten extremely frustrating. It just doesn't seem right that I am in a situation like this at only 19 years old.

Thanks a lot guys.

Edit- If you look at some of my earlier posts/threads here there are a couple videos of my squat form and what not that led to me finding out I had a knee injury, and which caused the initial concern about flexibility/mobility.

03-22-2010, 08:33 PM
It sounds like you've tried a lot of things half-assed... did this and that "for a bit", took "a few yoga classes", It will take time and diligence to remedy the things you've mentioned. Find something you believe is reasonable and give it enough of a try to KNOW whether it helps or not.

In addition to the things you've mentioned, my guess is that poor hip function is an issue as well. Whether that is a cause, or a symptom (that turns into another underlying issue) or what, I don't know, but it's a concern.

"The hips make a bad neighbor" is a Cook/Jones quote and it is, imo, perfect for a lot of lower back and knee issues. The point is that when the hips, which should be a prime mover, are not doing their job, the brunt of the work gets shoved on the lumbar and knees, which are not nearly as strong nor as resilient. Proper functioning hips are key to athletics and living a healthy, mobile life.

03-22-2010, 08:49 PM
Thanks a lot for the reply, Sensei. You are right about my lack of diligence, I have been impatient when it comes to fixing my issues as I was accustomed to not worrying about them for so long. I realize it's time to make a change now. The routine from higher-faster sports looks good to me, but I am curious if I should incorporate any other flexbility/mobility drills. I'm also wondering what toe-walks and buildups are, haha. Thanks again! Cheers!

Phase I

Session 1:

Toe Walks- Hands on hips - concentrate on flexing the glutes and rolling off the big toe 2 x 20 yards

Buildups- 3-4 x 20-40 yards - a natural extension of the toe walks - gradually pick up the pace from a walk to a medium paced sprint

Single leg deadlift- 2 x 10 (or max reps per side)

Single leg Romanian deadlift- 2 x 10-12 per side

Glute Ham or single leg back extension- 3 x 10-12

Session 2:

Toe Walks- 2 x 20 yards

Buildups- 3-4 x 20-40 yards

Reverse hyper or single leg back extension 2 x 12-15

Deadlift with pause- 3 x 3 (When lowering the bar, pause for 5 seconds just below knee level - be sure not to lose your arch)

Bent legged deadlift- 1 x 10

Cable pull through- 2 x 20

Phase II

Session 1:

Buildups- 4 x 60 yards (accelerate nice and smooth over 60 yards up to 90% effort)

2 hand dumbell swing- 2 x 20

Bulgarian Split Squat with pause- 4 x 5/side (pause for 5 seconds at the bottom of each rep, concentrating on flexing the glutes)

Glute Ham raise or single leg back extension- 2 x 8-12

Session 2:

Buildups- 4 x 60 yards

2 hand dumbell swing- 2 x 20

Deadlift- 1 x 3 at 100% (work up to 3 rm), 2 x 3 at 90%

Glute Ham raise or single leg back extension- 2 x 8-12

Phase III

Session 1:

3 step single leg jump for max height- Perform in sets of 1. Alternate legs. Stop at first sign of drop-off

Lunge Jumps- 3 x 4 per side (From lunge stance explode up, driving from the glutes)

Session 2:

Flying 20 yard sprints- Stop at first sign of drop-off

20 yard single leg bounds x 2 per side

03-22-2010, 09:10 PM
Thanks a lot for the reply, Sensei. You are right about my lack of diligence, I have been impatient when it comes to fixing my issues as I was accustomed to not worrying about them for so long. I realize it's time to make a change now. The routine from higher-faster sports looks good to me, but I am curious if I should incorporate any other flexbility/mobility drills. I'm also wondering what toe-walks and buildups are, haha. Thanks again! Cheers!

Toe walks are simply walking on your tippy-toes. Build-ups are walking on your tippy-toes and gradually picking up speed to a run.

...btw, the reason that those crazy-funky-vertical-jump-shoes work at all is NOT because they strengthen the calf muscles - it is because the hips are forced to activate! Ankle extension does NOT provide much in the way of 'air-time' - it is THE HIPS.

Yes, IMHO, you will probably need to incorporate other flexibility/mobility/strengthening work. I don't know that incorporating Kelly Baggett's routine as is is what you need, but it's good info.

03-23-2010, 05:47 AM
Thanks again, Sensei. I didn't see anything about vertical jump shoes...sounds interesting though. In regards to programming- do you have any suggestions? I think Bagette's would be alright If I added in a significant amount of stretching and mobility drills l. I'm not quite sure what I should do in that department though. I think that I definitely have the glute and hip problems discussed in that article, but I definitely need to focus on loosening up/strengthening my entire lower body, back, and core.


03-23-2010, 06:00 AM
Without seeing you and/or knowing what your specific issues and limitations are, I can't give you a responsible recommendation. I think whatever program you want to do is fine as long as you aren't exacerbating existing issues. Most people have horrible hamstring and hip mobility, tight pecs and poor thoracic extension - just about everyone can start with those. http://squatrx.blogspot.com/2009/04/daily-stretches-for-health-strength.html

Others may have great recommendations - hopefully they'll chime in as well.

03-23-2010, 06:52 AM
Thanks. I'm going to try the first one of Kelly Bagette's routines today and report back. I will also do some foam rolling, stretching hamstrings/hips with a belt, mobility drills from DeFranco's sites, and static stretching after. I'll be sure to report back.


03-23-2010, 09:01 AM
Sorry for the double post- just got back from the gym. Overall I would say my body felt OK. The extreme upper and lower (basically my tailbone) felt a little tight and like they needed to be cracked after the glute-ham raises and planks, which was slightly uncomfortable but not too bad. I didn't feel any pain in my knees. It's difficult to describe how they felt other than 'really, really weak' and sort of unstable. Here a little outline with some comments if anyone is interested-

Toe walks (2x40 yards)- I liked these, pretty easy and could feel my glutes working.
Buildups (4x40 yards)- I liked these even more, felt great to sprint a bit. Definitely experienced the 'weakness' feeling in my knees after.

Single leg DL(1x10,1x3ish each leg)- These were very tough. Got about 10 on the first set each leg and about 3 on the next. I had a hard time getting all the way down and I was pretty off balance and unstable coming out of the hole.
Single leg RDL(1x10,1x8ish each leg)- These were also tough, but went a lot better than the the previous exercise. Again, pretty off balance coming out of the hole and I'm not sure if I was able to get down far enough, but I definitely felt like I was working. Both these exercises contributed to the 'weakness' feeling in my knees.

GHR(1x10,1x8)- Call me crazy, but I don't think my glutes were working too much on these. I felt it more in my lower back and quads. This is when the stiffness in my very low back popped up, but was manageable. I'm assuming the stiffness is from tight hamstrings and what not, but I can't be sure.

Planks(1x1min, 2x30sec)- Abs are weak. I used to be able to do 3 sets of 90 seconds on these. Again, felt like I was using my lower back mostly, but I definitely felt it in my abs.
Side planks(2x30sec each side)- Same as above. Never done side planks before though.

Lots of static stretching (I will write down what I do in my journal next time).

03-23-2010, 11:26 AM
Are you glutes strong? If not, you could find a way to incorporate heavy hip thrusts into your routine.

03-23-2010, 02:10 PM
Thanks for the reply, KoSh. After looking at a few videos on youtube hip thrusts look like a good idea, although I'm hesitant to deviate from the program. Perhaps I could do them in place of GHR's since GHR's are a little tough on my back?

Also- which form would you recommend?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8nFGuY77CE&feature=related (looks tough on the knees)


03-23-2010, 02:30 PM
I'd go barbell... But I don't think I'd remove GHRs... The effect those have on the hammy is amazing.

03-23-2010, 04:15 PM
I'll toss them in at the end of my workout and see how it goes. Thanks again!

Other than the prescribed workouts 2 days a week, here are some daily measures I'll be taking:
-Focus on engaging to glutes on heel strike while walking
-Kneeling hip stretch
-Planks (build up from 3x30sec front/both sides)
-Pilates prone leg lifts (maybe 2-3x10 each side?)