Anxiety About Gym Machinery for TKR Recovery

Hello all. I was a dancer for 40 years, retired now, after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1996. I came up in dance in the 50s and 60s, starting with folks fom the grand old traditions of the Ballet Russes, and later in the traditions of German Expressionist, Mary Wigman. My current workout incorporates these traditions, a little yoga, and now all the pre-op exercises for my TKR on 2/29. I also garden a huge yard and walk a mile/day, cane and all.

None of these things have ever involved gym type machines and they scare me. I'm not sure why. I don't even know what kind of shoes to wear. I do my workouts barefoot. I can see how they could be efficient, and I will have a good physical therapist. Just another scary aspect of this process! Oh and this will be my first hospital stay since The D struck. That's scary, too!

Would appreciate a little reassurance and pointers from all you good folks who work with these things regularly.......Thanks......Judith in Portland

You will do fine. Gym machines are kind of like training wheels in a sense; they usually limit your movement to a fairly rigid path of motion. In a lot of ways, these exercises may be less challenging then dance or yoga where you have to master both the strength and balance of a motion all at once. They might look scary if you haven't tried them but you'll realize they are pretty simple in practice. Good luck with your procedure.

Sounds like a very interesting dance background:). If you're working with a good PT person then they should explain what the machines do, what you'll need to do with each of the machines you'll be using (and there are probably several you'll never even touch), and the reason you are using the machine and what the benefit is, what your goals are, etc. Bottom line, nothing to fear (truth be told I go to a gym where I have no idea what 75% of the machines do - I could look at the little pictures and figure it out - but don't have the desire/need to do so based on what my routine is). Having been to PT for shoulder problems over the years it seems that there is usually a bit of camradarie that is built among those recovering from TKRs, hip replacements, back injuries, etc. and the PT person often facilitates that (again, my experience) and tries to make it more pleasant for everyone (maybe a little fear in all of us and they help us try to relax and get through it together). Hopefully the hospital will pay a little extra attention to the D diet for you. Would ask the dr. and or PT person about shoes - but from what I've seen people are generally in comfortable clothes (sweatpants) and gym shoes. Hope all goes well with your surgery and good luck with your recovery!

Lots of people in my gym wear barefoot-style shoes for weightlifting, but I bet you'll be fine in any comfortable athletic shoe.
Gym machines are easy. They usually target one muscle or small group of muscles at a time, and they usually only move one way, so there's not a lot to think about and you really can't get it wrong. Your therapist should help you adjust the seats, etc., to fit your size and help you pick an appropriate weight. You'll be fine!

Yup, what everybody else has said.

Like any other exercise, focus on the form and technique, the weight is secondary. Luckily, it's all about adjusting the machine to comfortable settings. Once you've done that, the range of motion just sort of happens. Should be a piece of cake for a professional dancer!

As crazy as it might sound Judith, from a workout standpoint, that's one of the drawbacks about working out on machines. In a real sense, the machine does control a lot about your range and path of motion. You don't have to do much except contract a few muscle groups.

Eventually, you either get used to the limited range of motion, or it starts to feel awkward, and it's time to move on to free weights. That's where the training wheels come off and you have to control everything about the range and path of motion for the weight.

I'm not saying you can't get a good workout with machines. It's just that you can get a much better workout with free weights.

Ankle Weights are basically just sand bags with velco strips. You can check your local sporting goods store and they should have any number of models in stock. Which ones to get just comes down to personal preference and comfort.

Here's an example from amazon: