John Wooden, Bobby Knight and Knee Pain

Bobby Knight and John Wooden are two of the most successful coaches in college basketball history.

And their styles couldn’t be any more different.

During the game, Wooden would most often sit quietly on the bench showing little emotion regardless of what happened.

Knight was known to rant and rave and throw things.

Like chairs.

Yet, they both shared a common attitude when it came to practice.

Train and practice so hard, so precisely that the demands of the game feel easy.

To boil it down, build your reserve so when you need to do stuff, you won’t fade or find yourself in over your head.

This is what you can use, this idea of training above the level at which you need to function, to help you with achy joints.

But there’s a catch.

If your joints ache or hurt, that means you have to rebuild your joint strength. Remember, to work and play in Gravity, you have to train in Super-Gravity.

But, if your joints ache or hurt just walking around and doing daily activity, you have Sub-Gravity joints.

Not Gravity or Super-Gravity joints.

There’s a Gravity mismatch.

So what do you do?

Most rehab programs for achy knees, for example, use exercises that are Gravity, Sub-Gravity and Super-Gravity levels all mixed together.

You might see Quad Sets (low end Sub-Gravity), Straight Leg Raises (low end Gravity), Hip Raises (low end Gravity), Step up / downs (moderate level Gravity), and Wall Sits (high end Gravity). The program might also include Resisted Band Walks (Super Gravity) or Sit to Stand from a chair (high end Gravity).

The focus of the programs is on strengthening muscle not the joint. The problem is in the joint though. Look at what WebMD suggests. It’s a muscle based program.

To help strengthen the joint, you need joint exercises, not muscle exercises.

Here are a couple of examples:

The low forces and repetitive motion improve the quality of the synovial fluid and gently compress and decompress the joint surface. These stimuli are key in nudging the the joint to become tougher, more resilient.1)Jeon JE, Schrobback K, Hutmacher DW, Klein TJ . Dynamic compression improves biosynthesis of human zonal chondrocytes from osteoarthritis patients. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 20: 906–915, 2012. As you do this over and over, a small improvement gradually compounds itself into larger improvements.

You feel better and can do more stuff.

As your joint strength improves and you find Gravity no longer painful or difficult, then you move into higher end Gravity and lower end Super-Gravity exercises.

There’s no question that having strong leg muscles helps knee pain.2)Imoto, A. M., Peccin, M. S., & Trevisani, V. F. (2012). Quadriceps strengthening exercises are effective in improving pain, function and quality of life in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Acta Ortop Bras, 20(3), 174-179.

But to get strong muscles, you have to use higher loads, Super Gravity loads. When you have a joint that is Sub-Gravity capable and you introduce it to Super-Gravity, you end up with more aches and pains.

We use the term “Gravitate” to describe this process of matching your ability to your training. Move to the level that your body can keep up with and then gradually move the demands up. If your joints are Sub-Gravity, then you start with Sub-Gravity. If you start with Gravity or Super-Gravity, there’s a good chance you will see little to no progress.

It’s just how the body works.

That’s all I have for now.

Thanks for reading.

_________________

PS – If you’re interested in what I do for exercise and training, go here. For my books, go here.

References   [ + ]

1. Jeon JE, Schrobback K, Hutmacher DW, Klein TJ . Dynamic compression improves biosynthesis of human zonal chondrocytes from osteoarthritis patients. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 20: 906–915, 2012.
2. Imoto, A. M., Peccin, M. S., & Trevisani, V. F. (2012). Quadriceps strengthening exercises are effective in improving pain, function and quality of life in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Acta Ortop Bras, 20(3), 174-179.