As many of you know, I recently underwent hip replacement surgery. I performed a series of prehabilitation exercises designed to strengthen my hip joint in preparation for the surgery, and since my surgery, I have designed a series of rehabilitation exercises, which I have been performing. These rehabilitation exercises have made a huge difference in my recovery from hip replacement surgery, which doctors told me would be about four times longer than it has been. In this article, I’m going to talk about using fitness machines to perform these rehabilitation exercises.
I should start by saying that I have a very good, functional garage gym, where I conditioned my hip structure prior to hip replacement surgery. Once my hip joint had recovered sufficiently to start strengthening it, I utilized 5 lb ankle weights to do basic strength exercises such as leg extensions for my thighs, leg curls for my hamstrings or rear upper leg. Knee-ups and sideways leg movements completed my workout. But four weeks after surgery, my hip joint demanded rehabilitation exercises using more than a 5 lb weight.
There just happens to be a new fitness gym a few blocks north of my home, so I bought a one month membership, thinking after that time, I would be strong enough for my own gym and body weight exercises.
I have built owned and managed 20 fitness clubs across Canada, so I’m conversant with gym protocol. Unfortunately most participants are not, and this irks me terribly. Therefore, I attend the gym during the slow times which generally are between the hours of 2-4 pm. when nobody goes for a workout. Having the equipment to myself, I can now make a little circuit of exercises up without waiting for a piece of equipment between sets.
My routine consists of 5 exercises, 3 times around, or sets, and 12-15 repetitions of each. I begin my rehabilitation exercises with a compound movement, known as the seated leg press, where I place only my weak leg against a steel plate and push straight out. This works the entire leg complex and prepares my weak hip for stronger impact. I use a relatively light weight to slowly build up my strength gradually without injuring the hip complex.
I do 3 sets of 15 repetitions with about a minute of rest between sets. Next I start on my prearranged circuit of machines that are all isolation moves (meaning they isolate a specific muscle) for specific muscles.
My first machine is the leg extension for my quadriceps or front upper leg muscles. Although this particular machine was designed ergonomically incorrect, I am using such light weights, it doesn’t seem to matter.
The leg curl machine comes next, where I now work the opposing muscles to my thigh, called my hamstrings or rear upper leg.
The outer thigh machine is next, and is the only machine where I work both legs together. That exercise strengthens the outside of my legs from the knee to the hip, directly on the surgical site.
Lastly, I move to the seated calf machine and again only insert my weak leg and work the lower part of my calf muscle known as the soleus.
That makes up my circuit and I go around twice more with little rest between exercises as I am working a different muscle with each machine, for a total of three sets. Each week, I add another 10 pounds to increase the resistance and make my weak leg closer in strength to my strong leg.
And soon, that will be my machine rehabilitation exercises completed.
I have one week left on my gym membership, and I am already walking without help from my cane. I believe that after next week, just eight weeks after surgery, I will return to full strength workouts in my own gym.Google+