I have a 74 year old male client who is awaiting a knee replacement (the other knee has already been replaced). He has had numerous surgeries (quadruple bypass, brain stem, removal of fluid from his knee, etc.) and is a real trooper. He cannot stand for very long so I have been doing most of my workouts with him in a chair. He would like to build more leg strength so he can stop using his walker and use a cane but it is very difficult to work his lower body with strength building exercises. Any suggestions on what I should be doing to (1) build his leg strength up and (2) keep him from getting frustrated until he gets his knee surgery?
Without knowing how long ago the other knee was replaced, his pain level, or what meds he’s taking for pain, or when surgery is going to happen here’s my answer other than the great ideas like water for ROM and walking, nu step or sci-fit, TM or bike(as tolerable) ~that haven’t been suggested already:
1. Why not work him lying on a bed or table (or floor if he can get there)? I think most people consider this “post op” or “rehab” but a lot can be gained. The following exercises can be done perhaps without pain? Lying straight leg lifts, bridges, ball rolls/heel slides, abductor, adductor ball squeezes, hip extension, prone leg curl with band resistance, pilates ring work, clamshell, and lots of core work too! Often when folks are in chairs they aren’t aware of their core especially if they’re worried about leg pain. This will go far helping his rehab. Good leg can help then progress to single leg if tolerable and ankle weights.
2. IMO: If someone feels pain standing, squatting might produce more lower body imbalance. I’d stick to partial squats with him holding on to something (standing) and work upper body in chair.
Difficult exercises first.
3. Calf raises too.
4. Bike with upper body (schwinn) so he can help himself too.