Before the fall that tore my quadriceps tendon I worked out by running and doing Tae Kwon Do. Unfortunately, both of these activities tend to require two functioning legs (although there are exceptions). Since I have no desire to become fat, insane and weak during my long recovery, I had to find exercises that I can do that will meet my needs.
In some cases, I can keep doing my old workouts. For example, although I cannot do the proper stances with my leg locked in a brace I can still punch my punching bag. Naturally, I have to be careful to avoid damaging my knee, but I can still get in a decent workout. While I cannot kick properly, I can still do leg lifts with my bad leg. I suppose if I was really ambitious, I could rig a suspension harness so I could kick with my good leg. But that would be just a bit too weird, even for me.
Since running is out, I had to find something that would work my good leg and also help keep my cardio up. I can’t swim yet (no bending the knee and the brace foam shouldn’t get wet). Fortunately, my friend Dave came through for me. He had an exercise bike he was not using and brought it over and set it up for me. It is the type that has the pedals with the toe straps, so I can pedal with one leg. I replaced the factory seat with the nice gel seat from my bike (won’t be riding that for a while) to keep my bits from suffering too much.
When biking one legged you have to be careful not to overdo the leg-after all, it is doing all the work on the down pedal and up pedal. If your leg is immobilized like mine, then you also need to get it out of the way-I prop mine up on a padded stool. I’ve found pedaling a stationary bike to be rather boring-I cannot get into that runner’s groove yet. So, I watch TV as I pedal away. While it is not as good as running, it does help satisfy my need for exercise and it is helping to keep my cardio from dropping too badly.
I have also started using a home gym. I first started with the “Chuck Norris” home gym that my friend Dave loaned me. But, the device works with a slideboard: you provide the weight/resistance by lying on a padded board that slides. I used it for a while, but before the surgery the doctor warned me to avoid hard landings. Looking at the machine, I had a vision of the board sliding off and my foot slamming into the wall (interesting, Dave said that assembling the device scared him out of using it).
So, I bought a Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym. When I bought it, Amazon had a great deal-I got $300 off the base price, then $100 off because of some special and also free shipping. It arrived yesterday and Ron and I set it up today.
It was quite an adventure. While taking me to my appointment this morning, Ron managed to trigger some awful back problem that has plagued him on and off over the years. So, whereas it was supposed to be one disabled person going to the hospital, it ended up being an adventure of handicapped proportions.
After we got back, Ron surprised me by wanting to set up the Bowflex anyway. It was quite a show: I couldn’t bend my left knee and Ron couldn’t bend his back. I also cannot move around without a crutch, so I had to one hand carry things. Although it was hardly sensitive, I couldn’t help but joking that we should have filmed it and put it up on YouTube as “two crips and a Bowflex.” Yeah, I probably bought some time in PC Hell for that remark, but it seemed funny at the time.
Once we got the Bowflex assembled, we gave it a quick try. While I haven’t done a proper workout on it yet, it appeared to be well constructed and seems like it will work well. I cannot do anything with my left leg yet, but the Bowflex makes it easy to work out. Rather than needing to deal with free weights (try moving those around on crutches) I can just sit on the Bowflex chair and do a decent upper body workout. I can also work my good leg, provided that I am careful. So far, I’m pleased with it. Naturally, I know that a Bowflex is not going to turn me into some sort of bulging beast. But, that is not my goal-I want something to do while I wait for my leg to heal. Also, I have been wanting to do more moderate weight training and now I have the motivation to do it.