The hamstrings form one of the largest muscle groups in the human body. So you can imagine the pain when performing strengthening exercises is pretty immense.
I’ve never been a fan of leg curls; one of the reasons I’m in this mess. I approached the leg curl machine with trepidation. I was right to do so.
The gym has two machines. A seated leg curl machine, which uses both legs, and a lying leg curl machine, which exercises each leg separately. This was the machine I had been instructed to use. My plan is to start on a low weight and do 10 reps per leg. Increase the weight, and do 8 reps. Increase again, and do just 6 reps. Starting with the injured leg, just in case I couldn’t do the full set.
I set the weight to 5kg, this being the lowest. Yeah, a bit of a cop out, but no need to push it, I thought. Not on the first day. No, the best thing is to see how the land lies, and take it from there.
I positioned myself, and lifted my calf towards my backside. I have to admit, I did well not to scream. The physio said it would hurt. The muscle is very weak. I didn’t expect it to hurt this much, though.
I persevered through the routine. Surprisingly, the last set, at 10kg, hurt less than the first and second.
I then moved onto the single legged squats I’d been given. On one leg, squat down so bum touches a seat, and the stand up. Repeat 9 further times. Rest, and start again. When I went through it, yesterday, it hurt. “Do them after the leg curls,” the physio said, “it won’t hurt, I promise”.
Did I believe that? Hell no!
I found a seat I could use. I performed squat number one. I nearly lost my balance; it did not hurt!
My final exercises are calf raises. Single legs. I’ve been doing both at the same time for a few weeks. I was warned my calves would feel like exploding. They did, in fact, feel like exploding. This, I was told, is good, as it means blood flow to the area has been increased, which helps the muscle recover.
I finished off with 30 minutes on the cross trainer, as part of my cardio work. It was relatively pain free, which I have not experienced for many months.
Tomorrow is pure cardio and then I go again on Friday. Despite the pain at the time, I am feeling okay now, though I have had several hours to recover. I’m still dreading the leg curl machine, and probably will do for some time.