How to train legs for growth with weak or bad knees

How to grow legs when you struggle with your knees?

Sounds impossible, but it can be done.

Your will never have freakish size legs but you can add very good size by following these basic principles.

Note – I am proof of this, my knees are genetically “bad” (many in my family had knee replacement surgery) and I cannot take much weight before they start aching severely, but I have managed to add decent size to my legs. They are not nearly as big as I want them to be but they are one of my best assets and pain-free.

OK, let’s get down to business…how must you train those legs?

1. Focus on your calves. You can train them very hard and very intense without any knee related pain. The bigger the calves are the bigger the legs look. Be wise…grow what you can grow. And don’t worry…your calves will never look oversize…calves is a difficult muscle to grow at best!

2.When doing any upper leg workout, wrap your problem knee/s very (!) tightly with an elastic wrap. I found that this allow you to lift safely up to 40% more weight. But I have to unwrap them after each set to allow blood flow again. Yes, it is a bit tedious, but nothing good comes without effort.

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3. Your main mass building exercise for the upper legs should be the leg press machine. It places far less strain on the knees and you should be able to press a fair amount when the knees are wrapped tightly. Slow, very controlled movements and place the legs up high and wide. Do not jerk, that is knee injury territory. I always start my leg session of with this exercise and sometimes even finish it off again with it.

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4. The normal squat is a killer for the knees. But I still do it pain-free. First of all, those knees must be wrapped very tightly. Secondly go light, very light. I only do 20kg plates on each side. Thirdly do high reps…I do between 30-35 reps per set. It is gonna drain you (I nearly puked the other day) but with that light weight your knees can cope. If not, go even lighter and increase the reps even more per set. Slow controlled movements. NO JERKING! (For those that want to read up a bit more on squat technique: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-the-squat )

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5. A GREAT leg shaper is lunges, especially when you put some weight on your shoulders. But the normal lunge is also a knee killer. Four rules must be followed here to make it pain-free. One – wrap those knees tightly. Two – Do NOT let the lower and upper leg angle be smaller than 90 degrees, maybe even a bit bigger. This is one of the main reason why lunges kills knees. Three – do not step out straight to the front, but step out at a 45 degree angle with each lunge.  Four – do not step out and back again at the same place, but step forward each time. Staying in the same stationary position for lunges is not knee friendly.

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This is my bit to help those with bad knees adding some size. It can be done…. Be wise, do controlled and slow movements and make sure your technique is perfect.

Here is my latest (2 weeks ago) comparison photo from the day I started bodybuilding to my current shape…nearly 9 years ago. In 7 months I am 50 and want to be even in better shape!

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Wish you all a blessed 2014 and may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

Gert Louw

Author: gertlouw

In the deepest south of South Africa you will find me. Dwelling in the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town. I live close to God and try to follow in the footsteps of Christ as led the Holy Spirit. Other passions include Karate and Judo and wrestling (and off course surfing for many years). Karate I did for many years, Judo 4 yrs and for a short period kickboxing until I was knocked silly one time with blood all over and teeth protruding through my lip, but if I have to choose over, I would choose wrestling…simply because of the brutal power against power game with your opponent. Love it. Love my home theatre hobby, my youtube channel and spending time with family! And off course me and my son's new adventure https://mediax.photography ...and love flying my drone - DJI Phantom 4 Pro For those interested, this blog is my database of all my fitness and transformation knowledge. And NO (!) I am not getting any money for it and neither do I promote anything on it or getting sponsored by anybody. My blog is simply where I want to help other guys living a healthier life and become the best they can be, inside and out and ultimately it is my legacy I want to leave my one and only son – now 13 y/o and already eager to get his 6-pack! So donations very welcome! Just click the donation button... I started my healthy living after a very close call with death at age 40. After much hardship one of my main aims now is to assist other guys with healthy living and transforming themselves inside and out. I don’t know how much grace will still be given me, but I live now every moment to be the best I can be. To be the best bodybuilder I can be, the best father, best husband and best friend to those whom my paths crosses. I want to live a life worth living and not just do what excites me or pleases me. Feel free to contact me directly if you wish. Reading this far, the last bit important info on me you need to know, is that my anchor in life is Jesus Christ. Please bear in mind, English is my 2nd language and as a result their might be spelling, grammatical and other language errors in my blog – I do apologise for this! Wish you all many blessings. Gert Louw

3 thoughts on “How to train legs for growth with weak or bad knees

  1. Great post, Gert…Legs do make difference in the overall development of our body building journey. Nothing worse than a great upper body and some chicken legs to go with it. Wishing you a Happy, pain free and blessed New Year to you and your family.

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