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 Рwrap those knees tightly. Two РDo 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 Рdo not step out straight to the front, but step out at a 45 degree angle with each lunge.  Four Рdo 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