May was pretty interesting. The split squat got easier and easier. I think to progress with it further I need to add load. Early in the month I went on a run and kind of messed up my feet. New shoes that put my stride on my forefoot, hadn’t been running much, my calves were already tight, running too far, doing hills- a lot of factors came into play that gave me a bout of plantar fasciitis. So, I had to take about a week off of the program. Did lots of stretching though, and I got through it.
But then I was able to get back to it. I stopped doing the calf raises because I think mine are pretty strong already. But kept up with everything else.
The KOT squats had been really challenging. The coach kept giving me feedback on my form, and I was able to lower the platform a bit, but they were tough. Finally at the end of the month I got a thumb up from the coach. I am a lot stronger now. I was actually surprised I was able to stay in control all the way down. Felt pretty magical.
I also have done a little sprinting and jump rope and have had no issues with my knees. So overall I feel really good. I think I’m at the end of the ZERO program now. I want to get some more use out of my legs to be sure, but I think I’ll be able to recommend the program strongly. Although maybe not in-season because it can be tough on the body!
Oops. Sorry for not updating recently.
I’ve been progressing in the exercises (namely, the split squat and squat). Overall things are going well, although for a week there I actually had a fair amount of right knee soreness that bordered on pain. I still have confidence in the approach, although I think it is a pretty tough workout if your knees aren’t used to it. I’m glad the program progresses slowly instead of bringing on load too fast. The coach also suggested I try knee flossing, which is basically taking a big rubber strip and wrapping it around the muscles above and below the knee, and then doing a minute or so of bodyweight squats. Supposedly this brings bloodflow to the knee, similar (but better?) to the way icing does. I got a band off amazon and tried it and it seemed good. For people with a lot of knee pain this is apparently a huge help.
The split squat has been getting easier. It’s not ‘easy’ yet, but I’m not too far away from that I think. I tried the KOT squat last session. The coach pointed out my form wasn’t really right (I was bending my hips- they’re supposed to be straight) so I’ll work on that tonight.
I went down to one book, and got a thumbs up on my form from the coach. And then progressed to flat ground, and again got a thumbs up. After that flat ground workout, I felt good, but then the next morning I woke up and my knees were pretty sore. It wasn’t pain exactly, but it was different than soreness I had gotten from lifting in the past. I.e., it wasn’t a big muscle like my quads. So I was a little concerned. But the coach said this was fine and soreness was normal.
I guess this makes sense. If the exercises are causing adaptation in my the smaller muscles around my knees, then I should expect some soreness, especially in the beginning. Anyway, it went away pretty quickly, and then I had another good workout yesterday and didn’t experience any soreness today.
I asked the coach about loading up the split squat and they basically just said that’s not what this ZERO program is for. So even though I feel like I could progress to loading soon, I guess I need to go the full six weeks and then the next program will load it. But, that’s fine. No need to rush, and I definitely don’t want to induce injury by going too fast (I’ve done that before!). There is another optional exercise for this program (the knees-over-toes squat) so I’ll try that tomorrow.
I’ve been pretty good about stretching, but mostly only on the days that I’m doing the exercises, which I think is fine. I do feel like I’m gaining flexibility. Also, walking up stairs feels a little different in a good way. But I could just be imagining that! I’ll need to run around and jump a bit to see if there’s any real difference.
The coach said my form was good on the split squat, so I lowered the step a bit (only a few books now) and the coach again said my form was good. It’s still a little tighter with my right hip flexor, but overall it feels like a good natural motion. It doesn’t feel like I’m unduly stressing my knee or anything. I do think I could load it up in not too long (and I need to get to the floor first of course). I guess it’s been about 3 weeks now, and it’s a six week program, so either there’s still a way to progress before I can load it, or maybe the coach will say it’s fine to start early.
I think he said in a video that the couch stretch was another benchmark. And I don’t feel that great at that yet. So maybe it will take 3 more weeks to get there.
I tried the split squat on an elevated step. Felt good and the coach said my form was good. So then the next time I lowered the step (just going up onto a stack of books) and they again liked the form and said I could lower the step again. The movement has been feeling a little more natural, and with all the exercises I’m feeling a bit stronger. I’ve also been keeping up with stretching pretty well.
I liked the split squat. It was challenging in a good way. One side felt a lot better than the other. I think maybe it’s because of my right hip flexor, which has given me trouble for years. Hopefully this program will help with that. I actually asked the coach about that and he kind of ignored my question… But he did advise me to straighten my back leg and elevate my front leg to make that a little easier at first. Would be nice to have gotten a more in depth explanation, but I do have a good path forward so it’s no big deal.
I’m stronger at the beginning steps. I didn’t have to take any breaks during the set for the first time.
On my friday workout I went up to the next part, which they call the Patrick Step. The first few exercises seemed easier (I didn’t have to take as many breaks) and the last couple were challenging but doable. Still no pain or anything. The coach said my range of motion looked good so I could try out the split squat today. I’ve been pretty good about stretching, but I think I have missed a few days over the past week.
The coach messaged the day after and said my form was perfect on those first few steps. Yesterday I went up to the next step, which was a different kind of angled calf raise. Seemed fine, but I didn’t go to max angle, and they said I shouldn’t go to the next step until I was at the max angle. So hopefully the coach says my form is good and tomorrow I’ll push it further.
I figured out a pretty easy way to film with my ipad. I set it on the floor on its stand, and wedge my keys in to adjust the angle. And then iOS has a built in video editor that’s quick to use to edit down to the last 3 reps. It’s less of a hassle than I thought it would be, and they tell you to stop filming an exercise once you’ve got the form right.
I’ve been stretching every day.
Did the ‘lazy’ stretching routine on saturday. I liked it. Easy to do all in my bed. Did the stretching ‘standards’ on sunday. Some of them were pretty tough for me; my hamstrings are probably the least flexible thing I have right now. And then more stretching on monday. Not like this guy invented stretching, but if I keep it up I’m sure that alone would make me feel a lot better.
Did the first knee zero workout today. I made it through 3 steps (out of 10). The warmup is basically walking/running backwards. Wasn’t much of a challenge for me, as I don’t really have much knee pain. Would be fun to add resistance to, but hard b/c of pandemic logistics.
First step reminded me of duck walks, which I’ve used in the past to fix shin splints. This seems like a nicer way to progress it though. (Not that I ever thought it was something I needed to progress.)
Second step is a kind of angled calf raise. I haven’t really done calf raises since high school; they never seemed like a weak muscle for me, and actually too strong relative to others. But I guess a big idea here is ankle flexibility.
For both of those, he was clearly way more advanced than me in his videos. So it gives something to shoot for. The next step was a different kind of calf raise so I decided to stop here for today and avoid annihilating my calves on the first day. But I’ll go further next time. I uploaded my videos and I guess I’ll get feedback before the next workout.
So far- they seem like PT exercises where in the past I’d probably say ‘eh I’m good enough. I go back to lifting real weights and doing sports again’ so the magic here I guess is in taking this stuff to a higher level. Looking forward to the next one.
So I bought in today. I thought I would do the workout immediately, but after I signed up they said I would write down some info about myself and a coach would reach out to me within a few hours with the plan they wanted me to do, which was fine. I clicked through the website content. I’m looking forward to the ‘standards’, b/c in the past I’ve struggled with knowing whether I was ‘good enough’ on some exercise, and eventually just got bored. Obviously with loaded big movement exercises you just keep increasing the number, but less obvious how far to go with bodyweight and lighter weight exercises.
Anyway, someone did message me (mostly a stock intro) and loaded up a plan into my app. Predictably it was the Knee Ability ZERO. Looks like they give a set schedule of basically M-W-F, which is fine for me. I wonder how flexible it would be if I needed a different schedule. It’s easy enough to message the trainer at least; maybe they could adjust it if I ever needed. It says today (saturday) is for rest, but optionally there’s a stretching routine and also an upper body routine. Again, I like how the stretching routine has standards, b/c I think I’m too tight in some areas but not really sure how bad I am. I’ll do it tonight before bed. I don’t think I can do all the upper body routine b/c some of the stuff requires equipment; not sure. Nbd though.
Sunday is just a rest day by their schedule, and then I’ll start the real workout on monday.
Looks like the real workout is setup as basically the same plan every day (for 12 weeks), but you might not get through all the steps at first. You stop at any step that where you feel pain, and over time you can do more steps, and I guess work toward the standards?