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  1. #1
    TANSTAAFL Baloothebear1's Avatar
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    Leg Press vs. Squats

    I have artificial knees. I had two total knee replacements in 2009.

    My surgeon and physiotherapist both say that I am forbidden from doing heavy weight squats. I am limited to 85-ish lb. (It has to do with "stability" of artificial knees). I was doing hack squats in the 285-300lb range before surgery. (Well, before the arthritis left me able to barely walk). The leg press in the very basic gym I use only goes to 330lb. I figured I should be able to do a leg press in the range of 600+ lb (body weight plus BB weight). even allowing for being away from this I figured I should be able max the machine since I can do body weight squats by the dozen. (They have been my constant companion as a range of motion exercise since my surgery).

    No such luck. I can do about 250.

    Why is this? Should I be able to move my body weight in a leg press? Why the difference?

    Thanks in advance.

    FRED
    "A good carpenter can work with indifferent tools"-Sir John A. MacDonald

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    Registered User halogenic's Avatar
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    I can't give any advice on this topic. But just as a side note - (if you're not already) try using knee wraps as these add a bit of stability. Other than that I'd be taking it slow.

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  3. #3
    H = T + V mslman71's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Baloothebear1 View Post
    I have artificial knees. I had two total knee replacements in 2009.

    No such luck. I can do about 250.

    Why is this? Should I be able to move my body weight in a leg press? Why the difference?

    Thanks in advance.

    FRED
    Well, I'm assuming you've spent a fair amount of time off the weights, recovering, doing PT, etc? Pretty major surgery there with no heavy activity for some time. Not intending to be critical, but why worry about how much weight you can go straight in and lift? Seems like going easy and getting a feel for your new arrangement and building up overall confidence would be the way to go, letting the strength come naturally with time. As far as I know there is no rule that says one should naturally be able to do his or her own weight on the leg press, cold. I assume you've explained your intentions on the leg press to your physician; high loading is high loading and even leg presses require stabilization.
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  4. #4
    Cutting since 10/20/2014 Brackneyc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Baloothebear1 View Post
    I have artificial knees. I had two total knee replacements in 2009.

    My surgeon and physiotherapist both say that I am forbidden from doing heavy weight squats. I am limited to 85-ish lb. (It has to do with "stability" of artificial knees). I was doing hack squats in the 285-300lb range before surgery. (Well, before the arthritis left me able to barely walk). The leg press in the very basic gym I use only goes to 330lb. I figured I should be able to do a leg press in the range of 600+ lb (body weight plus BB weight). even allowing for being away from this I figured I should be able max the machine since I can do body weight squats by the dozen. (They have been my constant companion as a range of motion exercise since my surgery).

    No such luck. I can do about 250.

    Why is this? Should I be able to move my body weight in a leg press? Why the difference?

    Thanks in advance.

    FRED

    Fred my man, you weigh 343 lbs, and you have two new knees to contend with. You have much bigger concerns than the number of plates on some leg machine.

    I am truly sorry if this seems insensitive, but srsly....
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  5. #5
    Registered User beachguy498's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brackneyc View Post
    Fred my man, you weigh 343 lbs, and you have two new knees to contend with. You have much bigger concerns than the number of plates on some leg machine.

    I am truly sorry if this seems insensitive, but srsly....
    Nothing like the god-given knees for ultimate strength, the artificial ones are geared for getting you from point A to point B and not for BB abuse. I would err on the side of common sense and listen to your health care professionals.

    BG
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    Master Yourself First NYkarate's Avatar
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    I am sure you already know this. However it is important to consider your situation. When you have a knee replacement your bones are cut and partly hollowed out. While the artificial part is pretty strong and bone is also pretty strong, the two together probably can't handle as much weight as natural legs can.

    So your first goal should be to shave off some of that weight. It really stresses your knees and will burn though those new knees of yours much faster. To do this, diet is key. But swimming would be a great exercise to start with to help you shave down and work almost all the muscles in your body.

    That said, leg strengthening after a total knee is very important. You really should be able to do barbell squats, just not very heavy weight. The question is how heavy can you safely go, especially weighing as much as you do. There is nothing wrong with a leg routine filled with high rep barbell squats, the legs respond well to high rep routines. If you are uncomfortable with your PT, try to find one who is more knowledgable about lifting. There are some real good PT out there who don't know squat (pun intended) about lifting. There are some that do.
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  7. #7
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    Originally Posted by Brackneyc View Post
    Fred my man, you weigh 343 lbs, and you have two new knees to contend with. You have much bigger concerns than the number of plates on some leg machine.

    I am truly sorry if this seems insensitive, but srsly....
    this is ALL that needs to be said!
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  8. #8
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    besides
    if your just wanting to do your bodyweight, dropping 100 pounds will make that much easier
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  9. #9
    TANSTAAFL Baloothebear1's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    I appreciate the honesty.I know my real problem is that 343lb doesn't fit well on 6'-1" unless your workout includes curls with a Volvo. I appreciate honesty (I didn't come here to be told everything is OK because I know it isn't.).

    My PT actively encouraged me to get back to the gym. I showed he my WOs from before the surgery. She said absolutely no leg extensions or leg curls because they stress the knee too much at the implant. She said among other things that dead lifts are not restricted. I'm building on that. She mentioned swimming (because it is weightless) and cycling (because it is no-impact) as the best cardio I can do now. I hit the exercycle regularly. Swimming is still a problem (I get cramps in the calf muscles still), but I am motivated to work on that so I can dive again. I also walk as much as I can (my dogs are happy).

    I'll look into knee wraps.

    Thanks again.

    FRED
    "A good carpenter can work with indifferent tools"-Sir John A. MacDonald

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  10. #10
    Registered User Dave76's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Baloothebear1 View Post
    No such luck. I can do about 250.

    Why is this? Should I be able to move my body weight in a leg press? Why the difference?
    I'd have to see the leg press. The fact that you say it only goes to 330 tells me it's not the standard plate loaded leg press. The angles and leverage could be such that it's not a true 330 lb leg press.

    FWIW, (and I'm not saying you should try this) I have a friend with two artificial knees. He's a retired competitive power lifter. I've seen him squat 500 lbs on those knees, against the advice of his doctor and the manufacturer of the knees. Since he insists on doing it anyway, they're doing some further studies on the strength/stability of those knees.
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    Ummm. Jay Cutler weighs 330 in the off season and he is 5'9". I would say if done properly thatuch weight on 6'1" would be fine. But your knees are not "your" knees any more. They are manufactured joints attached to your brittle bones. That said... You may want to change priorities. Good luck what ever you decide. I know it sux sorry.
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    Master Yourself First NYkarate's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Baloothebear1 View Post
    I appreciate the honesty.I know my real problem is that 343lb doesn't fit well on 6'-1" unless your workout includes curls with a Volvo. I appreciate honesty (I didn't come here to be told everything is OK because I know it isn't.).

    My PT actively encouraged me to get back to the gym. I showed he my WOs from before the surgery. She said absolutely no leg extensions or leg curls because they stress the knee too much at the implant. She said among other things that dead lifts are not restricted. I'm building on that. She mentioned swimming (because it is weightless) and cycling (because it is no-impact) as the best cardio I can do now. I hit the exercycle regularly. Swimming is still a problem (I get cramps in the calf muscles still), but I am motivated to work on that so I can dive again. I also walk as much as I can (my dogs are happy).

    I'll look into knee wraps.

    Thanks again.

    FRED
    The stress on the knees for deadlifts is similar to barbell squats. You should really speak them in more detail regarding BB squats and acceptable poundages with your weight. You can do wonders with lighter weight and very high reps on the legs by the way. I completely agree with them on curls/extensions. Squats are so much better anyway.
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  13. #13
    Registered User JOHN GARGANI's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rab71 View Post
    Ummm. Jay Cutler weighs 330 in the off season and he is 5'9". I would say if done properly thatuch weight on 6'1" would be fine. But your knees are not "your" knees any more. They are manufactured joints attached to your brittle bones. That said... You may want to change priorities. Good luck what ever you decide. I know it sux sorry.
    whoa!!! wait until you see a picture of the OP before you start making a comparison like that!!
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    The show goes on chodan9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    whoa!!! wait until you see a picture of the OP before you start making a comparison like that!!
    LOL
    yes
    Jay Cutler is a 1 in 100 million individual.
    comparing his workouts to anyones is not a good idea
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    Thanks

    The machine I use in the gym at work is a Lifefitness seated leg press/calf machine; its not a plate loaded machine. I sit with my knees up to my chest, and press on a foot plate that is connected by cables to the weights, which are beside me. I know it is inadequate like the rest of the gym. But the gym is free, I like the atmosphere (do your sets and get to your desk / the shop) and its easy to get to (two floors below my desk)

    My reward for loosing the first 53 lb (to get me to 299 from the 352 I started at) will be membership at the only gym in town. It's better. (Don't like the vibe, but I've had worse)

    Jay Cutler, now THAT'S funny. Maybe if I'd listened to the football coach in 1975...

    I'll ask about the deads again.

    I should add that both the surgeon and the PT say mine is thebest double knee they have ever seen. I already do stuff I'm not supposed to be able to: I can sit cross-legged on the floor (for half an hour; they say I should be screaming at about three minutes), kneel in a canoe (one on a pad one outsrtetched, but they said I shouldn't have the flexibility) and I can get up off the floor without using a chair or desk or something to pull up from (it ain't graceful, but I did it at 10 months out for my checkup and the surgeon's jaw about hit the floor). I was told to keep the squats under 100lb, and I'll stick to that for now. I still use a stability ball for my squats every day (I do 30-50 depending on what other exercise I did), but I'm using the smallest one now and pushing against the wall less all the time. I've been adding a few free body weight squats every day. I'll build on that.

    Thanks again.
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    Originally Posted by beachguy498 View Post
    Nothing like the god-given knees for ultimate strength, the artificial ones are geared for getting you from point A to point B and not for BB abuse. I would err on the side of common sense and listen to your health care professionals.

    BG
    true^^^
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    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post
    this is ALL that needs to be said!
    Listen right here!
    "It ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth."
    - Rocky Balboa

    "DeathtoToasters. A man barely alive.
    Gentlemen We can rebuild him. Better than he was. Better. Stronger. Faster.
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    TANSTAAFL Baloothebear1's Avatar
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    OK, I get it: I'm a big fat guy. I already knew that. Thanks.
    "A good carpenter can work with indifferent tools"-Sir John A. MacDonald

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    Registered User gbg's Avatar
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    Why do you think the leg press is okay to do but not squats? IMO you are getting greater stress at the knee joint with leg presses, particularly shearing force. There is also less recruitment of the hamstrings which serve to stabilize the knee joint during flexion of the quadriceps via co-contraction than there is with squatting. Squat training has also shown a measurable increase in knee stability as measured by drawer test (anterior-posterior stability).

    To say nothing of the simple fact that you need to squat when you sit on the toilet.

    Multiple studies show the usefulness of squatting in rehabilitative therapy following various re-constructive surgeries.
    Being a real lifter is not about a number, or a medal, or somebody else telling you that you are a real lifter. It is about commitment to the iron and strength of purpose.
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    Originally Posted by gbg View Post
    Why do you think the leg press is okay to do but not squats? IMO you are getting greater stress at the knee joint with leg presses, particularly shearing force. There is also less recruitment of the hamstrings which serve to stabilize the knee joint during flexion of the quadriceps via co-contraction than there is with squatting. Squat training has also shown a measurable increase in knee stability as measured by drawer test (anterior-posterior stability).

    To say nothing of the simple fact that you need to squat when you sit on the toilet.

    Multiple studies show the usefulness of squatting in rehabilitative therapy following various re-constructive surgeries.
    ^^^^This

    A very good friend of mine had both his knees replaced. And he squats without a problem. But the first thing he did was to lose a considerable amount of weight to remove a lot of the stress carrying all that weight around was causing.

    IMO I would go light on the weights, concentrate on the diet and get down to a healthy weight for your height, and then slowly build your strength back up. You are going about this backwards IMO.

    Also they do make special braces you can use during your workouts, I have seen people at my gym using them, and yes they squat with them on.
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    TANSTAAFL Baloothebear1's Avatar
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    Thanks again to everyone. I changed my W.O. a bit today (it was Leg day by coincidence), keeping the weights low, but increasing the reps. I will talk to my PT again about Dead lifts, Squats and Leg Presses.

    FRED
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    NAS Strongman bigtallox's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brackneyc View Post
    Fred my man, you weigh 343 lbs, and you have two new knees to contend with. You have much bigger concerns than the number of plates on some leg machine.

    I am truly sorry if this seems insensitive, but srsly....
    Yeah, I mean weighing 340 pounds automatically means you're morbidly obese and ready to die at any time.
    6'8" 306 pounds

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  24. #24
    The show goes on chodan9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gbg View Post
    Why do you think the leg press is okay to do but not squats? IMO you are getting greater stress at the knee joint with leg presses, particularly shearing force. There is also less recruitment of the hamstrings which serve to stabilize the knee joint during flexion of the quadriceps via co-contraction than there is with squatting. Squat training has also shown a measurable increase in knee stability as measured by drawer test (anterior-posterior stability).

    To say nothing of the simple fact that you need to squat when you sit on the toilet.

    Multiple studies show the usefulness of squatting in rehabilitative therapy following various re-constructive surgeries.
    I was kind of wondering this myself.
    I have not heard of anyone moving from squats to leg press to avoid knee issues, its usually back issues that prompts such a move.
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    Cutting since 10/20/2014 Brackneyc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bigtallox View Post
    Yeah, I mean weighing 340 pounds automatically means you're morbidly obese and ready to die at any time.

    340lbs at 6" 1". Well, when I hear hoofbeats, I think horses. I stand by my contention that at his weight and height with two fake knees, he has bigger issues than how much he can leg press.
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    TANSTAAFL Baloothebear1's Avatar
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    It's going to blow her away when I ask about co-contraction and recruitment of the hamstrings. She's on vacation for two weeks. In the mean time I will struggle through. I modified my WO today (its in my journal).

    BTW: I'm not 343 anymore. I weighed in at 339 today. Still morbidly obese but I guess I'm not gonna die today eh?

    Fred
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    TANSTAAFL Baloothebear1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brackneyc View Post
    340lbs at 6" 1". Well, when I hear hoofbeats, I think horses. I stand by my contention that at his weight and height with two fake knees, he has bigger issues than how much he can leg press.
    Workin' on the weight. I won't worry about setting any personal records.

    Thanks

    FRED
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  28. #28
    Cutting since 10/20/2014 Brackneyc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Baloothebear1 View Post
    It's going to blow her away when I ask about co-contraction and recruitment of the hamstrings. She's on vacation for two weeks. In the mean time I will struggle through. I modified my WO today (its in my journal).

    BTW: I'm not 343 anymore. I weighed in at 339 today. Still morbidly obese but I guess I'm not gonna die today eh?

    Fred
    Good job bear. Everyday you can get up and do it again, is a day not to be wasted.
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    same boat here
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    Originally Posted by Baloothebear1 View Post
    Workin' on the weight...
    You can't change the past but you can change the future. Glad to see you working on it.
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