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Chris Williams 07-11-2005 05:24 AM


I'm just about recovered from ligament & meniscal tearing in the knee. I can now do most CF WODs but the knee is very sore & weak for a couple of days afterwards, so I can't often do more than 2 prescribed CF WODs a week.

Because I really want to strenghten the muscles around the knee, i'm wondering whether i should concentrate on specific exercises such as low squats, cycling etc rather than say KB swinging/ OL, which tire the knee without really focusing on it. But then this would sort of bring me back to BB type split routine.

The usual answer at CF about balancing the need to work a particular body part / technique is too simply add it to CF WODs, but i can't do any thoughts about how to combine both/ or whether i need to? Is CF all i need to strengthen the knee?

Thx in advance

Albert Clayton 07-11-2005 07:35 AM

What rehab did your orthopedic prescribe?

Chris Williams 07-11-2005 08:30 AM

I did the usual, air squats, cycling, & swimming, but i'm beyond rehab now, i'm just not quite able to do several WODs a week, and i also want to focus on strengthening up the knee in particular.

Albert Clayton 07-11-2005 10:42 AM

I have had this problem and it seemed like dare I say it leg lifts or leg extensions helped alot. I would concentrate on squats until your knee feels comfortable with the work load.

Ryan Atkins 07-13-2005 10:05 AM

Hi Chris,

I've gone through a similar experience recently (had ACL surgery in February of '04). A couple of thoughts regarding your situation:

1. CrossFit exercises represent the best rehab tools available. Don't get me wrong, I did the rehab exercises I was told to do (for a little bit anyway), but I would regularly pick those that I thought had the most benefit (i.e. most like functinal movements as CrossFit defines them, like an air squat) and practice those 3x as much as the other stuff and would often add in other exercises from CrossFit's pool. I started out slowly with full range non-ballistic or limited-range ballistic movements (air squat, front squat, overhead squat, deadlift, power cleans, push-press). As recovery continued, I worked my way back to the full range ballistic motions (squat versions of the clean and snatch, box jumps, etc.). I started off with just the bar for weight and built from there. I also used bands for thrusters (low stress on the leg at the bottom, but good intensity for the upper body at full extension). According to the rehab schedule I wasn't supposed to be back to full activity until around December of '04. As I was doing box jumps at the October seminar for FGB, someone asked me how my knee was. My recovery had gone so well that I had to stop and think for a second what exactly it was they were asking about.

2. Have you tried cutting back your intensity for exercises involving the lower body? Right now, I'd suggest your #1 priority is to (re)strengthen your knee. Easing up to the point where following a 3-on-1-off schedule is, IMO, more effective to your recovery than hammering yourself so hard that you're unable to workout for a few days afterwards.

Hope this helps. Good luck.


Chris Williams 07-20-2005 02:31 AM

OK thanks a lot guys. Ryan I've already read about your amazing recovery with much jealousy!

Thx for the advice, I'll try doing 3 easy days rather than one intense session.

By the way, following on from another recent thread, any thoughts as to whether plyo exercises might be good in the long term to strengthen the connective tissue? And if so, which exercises and how often do you do them?

Ryan Atkins 07-20-2005 07:17 AM


I don't have the knowledge/experience to have a strong opinion regarding the plyos. I didn't use them in my rehab at all (except where they showed up in the WOD). If I would have, I probably would have incorporated them later rather than earlier, with the other ballistic, full-range motions.

FWIW, I don't do plyos consistently outside of what's presented in the WOD, though I've recently played around with some pattern jumps from the Gambetta tapes. These and what's presented in the WODs (i.e. box jumps, jump rope, etc.) haven't BOTHERED the knee at all. Movements that have given the knee difficulty include:

Muay Thai kicks (torque on the supporting leg)
Breast stroke kick
Pistols (although this could have been attributed more to my possible poor form at the time rather than to the exercise itself)

Sorry this wasn't more helpful,


Chris Williams 07-21-2005 06:34 AM


Yes I used to do a lot of MT, and think it will be a very long time until i feel comfortabe at even trying the twisting motion the supporting leg goes through for a kick.

My physio also warned me against breast stroke for the knee, and I think someone on this site (Eugene?) even mentioned it once.

I've found the steady peddling of road cycling very useful, even from quite an early stage, and you got a lot more done than just sitting on an exercise bike.

I'm thinking I might eventually add some plyos, working up from skipping to box jumps, because I injured my knee twice when I fell badly on it, so I figure I can gradually improve its resistance by getting it used to controlled "falls".



Ryan Atkins 07-21-2005 01:07 PM


Rolling and breakfalling are your friends. Let us know how it goes with the plyos and your recovery.


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