View Full Version : O-lifting with bad knees

Max Murphy
11-01-2007, 02:57 PM
I'm very new to O-lifting. I actually haven't even done one O-lifting session yet. It's recently caught my eye and looks like something I would enjoy. The only problem is I have horrible knees (So does everyone in my family).

Almost every O-lift makes great use of the legs and I'm almost positive would wreck my knees.

I have tight lateral structure of the patella which makes my knee cap track wrong. I also have a good case of chondromalacia. I'm pretty sure this came from jogging upwards of 30 miles a week for about 6 months (3 years ago). Too much of a good thing, I guess.

I've been to several doctors who've all tried to put me on anti-inflammatories and who prescribed I take 12 Aleve a day for 3 months. Fish oil helps greatly, so does eating mostly paleo.

I'm curious to know what some of you guys think would benefit me in this situation. Thanks for any help!

josh everett
11-01-2007, 03:38 PM
You could do the "power" versions of the lifts. This wouldn't fix your knee problem but may be a way you can still do the lifts without causing more knee pain.
Hopefully someone smarter than me will chime in w/corrective measure you can take.

Derek Simonds
11-01-2007, 04:24 PM
Start slowly. I think Josh is correct that the power versions would be a good starting point. Best of luck and keep us posted.

Mike ODonnell
11-01-2007, 05:01 PM
Before doing the whole lift, can you do a simple bodyweight squat without any issue? How far can you go down? (Use something behind you to sit on just in case you lose balance). If you feel a weakness right below parallel then you have a very common overdominant quad and weak (prob tight too) hamstring. Full ROM squats are great for helping that, but of course start slow and safe. I would move next to trying some deadlifts as you progress. Also dont forget the overhead squats...as you do not want to get into OLY lifting if you can not do an OHS properly...since the weight in a snatch ends up in that position. Then you should move into move advanced snatches and cleans. But I would definitely stick with some full range squats, all the way down....ass to ankles. Build up your hamstring strength that way first to help stabilize the knee. (Lunges also can help with the stabilization) That helps many knees out....but I am not a doctor.

Derek Simonds
11-02-2007, 04:27 AM
....but I am not a doctor.

Yeah but you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night :D

Max Murphy
11-02-2007, 06:47 AM
I can do a bodyweight squat with no difficulty. My form is horrible my knees cross over my toes several inches. I'm currently working on my flexibility. I do have very tight hams. I'm 6'4" as well I don't know how much of an impact that will have.

I'm working on putting a schedule together. I will post it when I come up with something I like. Thanks for the help guys.

Are there any foods or supplements you guys have used with success or recommend for with joint health?

Mike ODonnell
11-02-2007, 06:53 AM
My form is horrible my knees cross over my toes several inches. I'm currently working on my flexibility. I do have very tight hams.

Are there any foods or supplements you guys have used with success or recommend for with joint health?

Dont sweat the "knees over the toes" myth...if you have to squat all the way t the floor they have to go over now don't they? Most people stop at the parallel point which actually puts MORE stess on the knee joint.

The best practice exercises I would recommend is facing a wall 6" away (or as close as you can get), keep your hands over your head....now squat all the way down (ass to ankles). You will see all your instability issues. It's a great ham activating exercise as well (basically a forced OH bodyweight squat). You can also practice holding a broom stick. Keep working on using the hamstrings to "pull yourself down", much like if your feet were stuck in cement and you were trying to jump and tuck your knees up.....except you pull yourself down.

Glucosomine/Chrondotin (sp?) seems to work for joint issues. Of course fish oil is a MUST.

Max Murphy
11-05-2007, 08:23 AM
Thanks for the info guys!

I'm doing my first Oly workout tonight. I'm used to more of a bodybuilder type workout but I'm excited to change it up a little bit.

I'm not sure about what rep scheme I should be using but these first few weeks I'm planning on low weight high reps. I want to get my form down before I start pushing any relatively heavy weight. Probably 4 sets of 10 reps maybe a 10-8-6 here and there. I plan on starting with Clings (in the past these have irritated my wrist), Military presses, and front squats 2-3 times a week. If i stick with this as long as I hope to early next year I'll incorporate some jerks, overhead squats, deadlifts, more traditional O lifts, etc...

I'll warm up every session with 3-5 minutes on a row machine. After the workout I really want to focus on flexibility so I'll stretch for 10-20 minutes. I started taking a joint support sup late last week and I doubled up on my fish oil. If all goes well I will try to to record some max weights around Thanksgiving so i can log improvements later on.

Max Murphy
11-05-2007, 08:53 AM
Well, after re-reading some of this I might sub the clings with deadlifts, probably sumo style.

I'll try doing them in this order tonight and see how I like it.

Military presses
Sumo deads
Front squats

4x10 with minimal rest between sets. Hopefully I won't gas too early! :)

I'm not a fan of bench pressing in case anyone was wondering. I might try these again soon too but my chest explodes from a minimal workout and I don't like having such a big chest. If I do, I will probably do strictly incline presses.

I'll let you guys know how everything goes tomorrow!

Jesse Woody
11-06-2007, 06:55 AM
Glad you're able to start incorporating the lifts, even if it's just a little at a time. A couple of points;

It's Clean, not cling ;)

I would stick with a much lower rep-range, preferably under 5 reps per set, maybe 5 or more sets for skill work. The O-lifts usually don't lend themselves to mid-range reps as they are so dependent on power which drops off pretty quickly.

Max Murphy
11-06-2007, 07:26 AM
Glad you're able to start incorporating the lifts, even if it's just a little at a time. A couple of points;

It's Clean, not cling ;)

Ha, well I didn't stay a Holiday Inn Express last night!

I will eventually drop the reps and up the weight. Right now I'm trying to get some sort of form and make sure I'm flexible enough just to do the movements. I noticed last night at the bottom of my front squats my hips hurt. It wasn't bad I just want to get the right areas loose enough that I don't hurt something.

Last nights workout was good. My ego took a hit because of the light weights but I'm trying to not let that bother me. It went like this:

5 minutes on a row machine to warm up

Military press
2x10 with the bar
2x10 @ 95
2x8 @ 95 (I had some pain in my left shoulder)

Sumo deads
2x10 135
2x10 225 (I liked the sumo stance, I've never tried it before)

Front squats
2x10 with the bar
4x10 with 95 (I moved slow and controlled, tried to focus on pushing with my heels rather than my toes, and going ATG)

I could actually feel almost instantaneously if I pushed with my toes. My knees would let me know real quick. The good news is this morning my knees have no pain what so ever. I think I'm going to stay with these weights for the rest of this week, I might up the deads, they felt easy.

I'm thinking about keeping a log here. I like PM because it's not covered with tester logs, hormone cycles, and hype over the newest coolest whatever supplement. If any one is interested let me know and I'll set it up. I'll probably do it anyway just because the wealth of knowledge here. I'll gladly take any feed back given.

I'm happy with my first semi-Oly workout.

Max Murphy
11-07-2007, 11:00 AM
The second workout
I just did pretty much the exact same thing. I don't want to jump in too quick and hurt something. I also got a copy of Dan Johns from the ground up. I like it a lot. I might try a couple of the workouts when ever I feel comfortable with what I'm doing now.

5 minutes walking inclined on a treadmill.

Military press
2x10 with the bar
4x10 @ 95 This seemed a lot easier today. Left shoulder still tight, uncomfortable.

Sumo deads
4x10 135 I stuck with light weight and focused on form a little more today. I didn't go up in weight because I had a little more crackle in my knee than I wanted.

Front squats
2x10 with the bar
4x10 with 95 This seemed a little easier today as well. I need to work on bar placement. It was pinching my delts pretty good by the last set. I'm currently grabbing the bar off the rack at about shoulder level and crossing my arms. Would it benefit me to clean the weight to my chest and do it from that grip at all?

Ego still took a hit today, light weights. I think it's funny I'm using the same weight for military presses and front squats. My upper body is IMO much stronger than my lower. I'm going to move this along with Mondays workout over to the log section tonight.

Mohamed F. El-Hewie
12-25-2007, 09:47 PM
I'm 6'4" as well I don't know how much of an impact that will have.

I once wrote an article of the impact of lifter's height on competition. Here is its link:



Rick Deckart
10-03-2010, 02:20 PM
Nobody on this board has knee like I do, well perhaps Dave, OK OK his are worse... :D

if you care it's possible to lift with bad knees, I know in person elite lifters who do it, just be carefull with max attempts

Kevin Shaughnessy
10-04-2010, 06:26 PM
Im surprised and disappointed that no one has mentioned knee wraps or knee tape. I'd use both if I were you, Max.