Legs Workout

             LEGS    -    WORKOUT

People with lower limb amputation may tend to
focus on developing only upper-body strength . They
often do not understand the importance of developing
strength in their sound leg and residual limb.
Leg conditioning helps to retain symmetry of the
body, improve the walking gait, and combat the
natural process of atrophy that takes place in the
residual limb . Weight training helps keep the muscles
of the legs strong and protects the joints from
injury. Strong leg muscles reduce the stress placed
on the sound limb of the person with a unilateral
amputation during walking, running, and sports
Each person's residual limb is unique in structure.
For this reason, the way one person with AK
amputation accomplishes a particular exercise while
wearing a prosthesis may be quite different from the
way another person with AK amputation does the
same exercise . Method greatly depends on the
structure and length of the residual limb . However,
a variety of weight training and resistant exercises
are available, and one may select those which best
suit the conditions of the residual limb and prosthetic
fit. It is a good idea to switch exercises
periodically to work the muscles at different angles.
The knee is one of the largest and most complex
joint structures of the body and is surrounded by
numerous tendons and ligaments . Tendons connect
muscle to muscle ; ligaments connect bone to bone.
You cannot strengthen tendons and ligaments directly

through weight training . Training the
quadriceps muscles will help to strengthen the
tendons and ligaments in a secondary fashion, but
not directly . The stronger the muscles, the more the
muscle structure can give support to the tendons and
ligaments . Strength of the knee muscles and stability
of the knee joint structure via its ligaments is vital to
the physical abilities of individuals who wear belowknee
prostheses . For those with an above-knee
amputation, a strong knee on the sound leg is
important in maintaining mobility and agility.
Weight training exercises that require standing
may be difficult for some people with lower limb
amputation because standing exercises require balance.
Also, additional weight is placed on the
residual limb when lifting weights . In turn, this
weight is transferred through the socket . For weight
lifting exercises from a standing position, extra
socks may be necessary to help withstand the added
strain on the residual limb . Seated leg exercises,
using equipment such as Nautilus or Universal, are
preferred for many individuals with lower limb
amputation because they are better able to isolate
the muscle group they want to work, as well as
eliminate balancing problems.
The following exercises strengthen the
adductor/abductor, hamstring, gluteus maximus,
quadriceps, and gastrocnemius/soleus muscles . This
type of program should be performed every other
day on a regular basis.


Always do warm-up exercises before lifting weights.

Start with a minimum of 8 repetitions with a given weight. If a minimum of 8
repetitions cannot be completed, the weight is too heavy for you and the
resistance should be lowered until 8 repetitions can be completed.

When 12 repetitions can be successfully completed, the weight should be
increased by 5-10 pounds . When 12 repetitions can be completed with the
increase in pounds, the weight may be increased again.

Work up to 15'20 repetitions per set for muscle maintenance, endurance, and

When performing exercises with free weights, it is recommended that 2-6
sets for each particular muscle group be used.

Beginners are encouraged to use free weights with a spotter present . Certain

exercises will require a spotter regardless of skill level (e .g . ' squats) .