Friday, June 7, 2013

Fit Friday - Let's Talk About Legs

Did you know its National Donut Day?  Yikes!  Let's talk fitness instead, hehe.

Going through physical therapy to rehab my knee showed me that I had major weakness in a very important muscle - my vastus medialis obliquus.  My what?!  I've learned that most people just call it the VMO.  Where is that muscle, you ask?  Its a large muscle of your quadricep, the medial section, hence the name, which means that its the side of your quadricep that is toward the midline of your body.

One way that my physical therapist determined that I had a significant weakness in my VMO was with the leg press (you know, the machine at your gym that requires you to sit with your legs nearly at 90 degrees, feet on a big plate, and, depending on the machine, you are either sliding the plate away, or you are pushing your seat away from the plate).  Ideally, you should at least be able to do your body weight on this machine.  For me, I couldn't even do that.  I could barely press about 15 pounds under my body weight.

But now?  Working carefully but aggressively over the past few weeks, I can now press about 20 pounds over my body weight.  Win!  AND, do you know what one of the best parts is?  My knee is getting better.  Now, I won't be ready to run a half-marathon in October like my awesome friend Kristin, but I am getting there.  And its exciting.

Now of course, this is what has been working for me, in addition to handful of other strengthening activities I have been doing (mostly hip strength).  You absolutely should listen to your doctor and/or trainer and never do anything beyond your comfort level, or anything that causes you pain.  There were days when we thought I was ready for more weight, but I had to back off.  It was a slow process.  But, I would encourage you, even if you have no injuries, to evaluate your lower body strength to make sure you're staying balanced.  I used to hate having to do anything other than running, but now I am doing everything but running so that I can get back there.

I hope you're off to a great Friday, and an even better weekend!