From strength to strength?

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.

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