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It’s been just over a year since my meniscus surgery (right knee) and almost a year since I tweaked my other (left) knee.  The past year has been great, but it has seemed that I’ve been in a constant state of managing nagging injuries and pain.  I’ve completed two Tough Mudders, but I didn’t feel great in either and cramped up at the end of both.  I know I’m getting older, but I’m not old enough to 2012 Summer Olympics Mens Fencingaccept constant pain, particularly given the fact that I’ve seen the X-Rays & MRI’s and my knees look pretty good.

The other day I was watching the local (LA) news, and they had a doctor on who was a specialist in lower back and knee pain, as well as migraines.  Given that I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy all three, I had to watch the segment.  They had a gentleman on who had pretty bad knees by anyone’s standards, and the doctor talked about a) how the pain immobilized the patient for a number of years, and b) what simple exercises he prescribed that turned things around dramatically.  The answer could have come straight from Jack Lalanne himself…  squats and lunges.  Before a few months of doing the exercises regularly the patient could barely do one squat, and had trouble moving around.  After a few months, he cold do 50 jump squats, and more importantly could walk, jog and run in a relatively pain free manner.  I don’t have a link to the newscast, but there are a number of great links to routines to end knee pain, including Knee Strengthening Exercises at knee-pain-explained.com.

The principle is simple.  Build up the muscles around your knee, so that your body is working as a more efficient system, and the load on the somewhat poorly designed part of your knee (meniscus, ACL, MCL, etc.) is greatly reduced.  Although I’ve been a fitness nut since 1989, I have focused on upper body and running (aka cardio), and have been happy with my lean, somewhat chicken legs.  However, this video and the cramping during my last two mudders made the decision easy.  My Squats N’ Lunges regimen started about 10 days ago.  Now, every-other-day, on my running day, I do 50 squats and 50 (per leg) lunges.  I’ll see how this number goes, and whether I need to adjust it, but according to the report I saw, combining this with my normal routine may do the trick.  Important that you do them right, so you don’t risk injury, so check out the following videos.

How To… Squats:


How To…  Lunges:


FYI… the first two times I did my 50 squats and 50 lunges, I could hardly walk down stairs for the next few hours.  That means it’s working, and I totally dig that kind of workout aftermath.

Small steps (or squats) add up!!!