Perfect your Form with Light Weight

I started the frequency decompression training, but about 4 weeks before that I had sprained both MCL's squatting. I got MRI’s done and that is what the doctor let me know.

My question for this email is what do I do? The training calls for front squats supersetted with leg curls and then standing calf raises. I still feel a twinge here and there that keeps me leary of doing any leg work. I feel very lucky that I did that and not needed surgery. I was told that after about 6 to 8 weeks I can go back slowly and do either leg press or leg extension and leg curls. I don’t think I will do any legs for a least another couple weeks.

Help me out I don’t want to regress.


My Answer: You're going to have to stay away from leg exercises for 8 weeks.  It's not going to matter if it's machines or not.  Your primary concern is recovery, and that means taking it easy and laying off the legs for now.

When you get back to leg work, then I would experiment with a wide variety of leg exercises to figure out what exercises you can do without any pain.  If you feel any pain or twinge, then chuck that exercise.  This will take some time and experimentation on your part.

Once you've narrowed down a bunch of leg exercises you can do without any pain, then work with what you've got.  Stick with higher reps (8+) and focus on pumping the area with blood to help you heal. 

What I usually find is people take on too much weight too early with new exercises.  Your body needs time to learn a new exercise before it can tackle the heavier weights.  If you try to squat heavy right off the bat and you don't have your exercise form perfect, then you are likely to get injured.  Perfect your exercise form with higher reps and lighter weight.  This can take months for beginning lifters.

And for the love of God, perfect your form on an exercise before you add it to a compound set or triset.  Don't string together three exercises that you've never done separately.  Set extenders require that you use somewhat lighter weight, because fatigue naturally sets in.  The weight you use to squat a single heavy set is not the same as the weight you're going to use on a squat, followed by 2 other exercises.  You're going to use lighter weight, because you don't want to gas out on the next two exercises.  If you gas out with heavy weight, then that's dangerous.

Bottom line: lay off for now.  When you return to leg training, perfect your form with light weight, high reps.
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