Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.

Project HUGE: My First Leg Workout After Active Release Technique (ART)

By Ben Nadel on

I haven't worked out my legs since before my first Active Release Technique (ART) session with Dr. Christopher Anselmi here in NYC; I've wanted to let the muscles around my knee heal as much as possible while Dr. Anselmi worked away the knots and scar tissue. During last week's ART session, Dr. Anselmi gave me the go ahead to try a leg workout. Unfortunately, the week proved quite hectic and I was not able to workout until yesterday. With three Active Release Technique treatments under my belt, I have to say that I was quite nervous to put my knees to the test.

The last three weeks have been interesting. At times, my knees were 100% pain free and I would actually lose my balance going up stairs as my body automatically compensated for a pain that wasn't there. Other times, I felt a pinchy feeling in my knee, more lateral than usual, but there nonetheless. I honestly didn't know what the gym would hold for me.

Naturally, I went straight for the Back Squats. If there's anything that's gonna test my knee pain, it's gonna be the king of all exercises - the Squat. I took it slow, warming up thoroughly, letting the muscle and joints heat up properly. My knee felt a little pinchy during the warm up, but the pinchy feeling went away. My right wrist started to bother me, but that's another story (and a doctor's appointment). When all was said and done, I got this done:

  • 135 x 10
  • 185 x 5
  • 225 x 5
  • 245 x 5
  • 275 x 5
  • 295 x 3

The set at 295 was really difficult. I was disappointed that I didn't get up to 315, not because I thought it was realistic, but because it had been a fantasy that I had for the day. But, when I stood back and thought about it, I realized something kind of cool: I haven't squatted in a long time (maybe a month or more). And, when I was squatting, I wasn't going up to no 295 very often. So, what I think this means is that while I have most certainly lost leg strength from not working out, my lack of knee pain allowed me to recruit my quad muscles more thoroughly, allowing me, in turn, to lift more than I normally would have been able to.

Now, the day after my leg workout, my leg muscles are already starting to ache post-workout; however, I am quite happy to report that my knee feels no pain at all. I bounded up the stairs from the subway and am just now able to squat down to the ground without issue. Looks like things are really on the up and up for my knees! I have to believe it's time to get HUGE!


SQUAT - Cause Somewhere Out There, A Girl Is Warming Up With Your Max.  

Reader Comments

Congrats on getting unbroken. Feels great, eh?

Around Thanksgiving I screwed up my leg doing interval training while running. I finally got around to seeing a doctor, who told me to chill out and let it heal. So I waited ... and waited ... and waited ... and a month later I finally got to run again. The weather was bad and I hadn't eaten right, but it was still the most memorable run I've had in a while. Being unbroken feels awesome.

Oh, and nice motivational poster. I'll have to remember it to use on my gym-rat buddies.


Yeah, it feels great! I am trying to be as optimistic about it as possible. I am trying to keep the gravy train running on that one, not get sucked into worrying if the "fix" will stay with me.

That's good to hear. I was sick over the holidays and the first day back on squats I was really sore as well. Took me almost three weeks to get back into the swing of things.

@Big Mike,

Hey man, haven't heard from you in a while. Sorry to hear you were sick over the holidays. Hey, you going to cf.Objective() or anything this year?

Congrats on getting back into the workout, Ben.

In general, how is your month of health developing. I bet I'm not the only one curious about your changes, achievements, etc.

Oh, and about the squats, I just recently read that squats are not as bad for your knees as people tend to think. If done with proper technique, a deep squat does not put too much strain on the joint, only on the muscles.

Interesting about this was that I found this in several places, among others a physician that is active in sports and supports athletes for RAAM and the like.

Congrats! I was a vanity work out man (chest and abs) before I grew up and realized that I even had other muscles. They've been playing catch up ever since. I used to go heavy on squats (6x6) but I started getting knee problems so I went away from the power lifting routine and went to (10x3). I also have a nagging wrist issue from a way too heavy for me at the time dumbbell incident that hasn't gone away. It was one of those, spotter screaming "all you" but it's really mostly him type of moments.

Hi Ben!

Where do you find those pictures? ;-)

My version of your Kinky Calendar is now fully integrated into our CMS, it's multi-language and has seen these two recent deployments: (click on Agenda)

and (scroll down for the reservations calendar)

We'll keep you posted how the tool evolves (newest additions: CFTextArea, LSDateFormat, WDDX-config files, etc).

Thanx, and good luck on getting HUGE in your month of fitness ;-)


It's not easy to find these pictures, so I have to put a lot of hours into it :)

Glad that the calendar stuff is really working out nicely. Looks slick.

Something to think about is the overhead squat. As you know it wont boost your max or anything but it helps develop core strength while at lower weight. Way to get back into squats!