Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Home gym


I use the term “gym” loosely. It’s not so much a gym as a corner in my spare room where I keep the stuff that I use to do my physical therapy exercises at home. When I started this journey to recovery after my DeNovo NT graft, I was using only about 3 of the things in the picture, so I’ve clearly progressed! It’s not all that exciting, but it’s proof that you don’t have to have access to a fancy gym in order to keep up with PT at home. Once my exercises progress to include more walking and biking, it will be more difficult to do everything at home. But in the meantime, I’m set.

Home PT "Gym"

1. I use the fitness ball for core strengthening exercises now that I can use my leg enough to keep me on the ball. It’s not part of my official therapy, but it helps improve my overall balance.

2. I call this a wobble board, but it might actually be called something else. I can’t remember where I got it, but it was only about $20. I use it to work on my balance. I stand on one leg at a time and balance for one minute six times a day (3 times during 2 PT sessions).

3. This is a towel. A hand towel, to be specific. I use it to do towel stretches. I’m not sure this could be more self-explanatory.

4. I don’t drink the Dew. I use this because I’m too cheap to go out and buy a foam roll. I use the 2-liter bottle to prop my foot up while doing quad sets. It definitely helped me regain extension initially, and I still use it to warm up.

5. These are the bands that I use to add some resistance to some of the exercises. I use them for ankle pumps, terminal knee extensions, and the crab walk.

6. Adjustable ankle weights are a must for my PT. I picked these up at Dick’s Sporting Goods, but you can likely find them anywhere that sells fitness equipment. These are adjustable from 0-5 pounds by half-pound increments. I use them for prone hangs and the straight leg raises (SLRs). When I first started, I couldn’t do SLRs without assistance, but I’ve slowly improved over the course of several weeks. I’m currently using 3-lb weights for my SLRs.

7. This belt came in handy for my stretching exercises. Plus, it was really useful when I wasn’t able to engage my quad (doctor’s orders). I looped the end around my foot and used it to move my leg around.

8. I’m unable to really get in a good workout right now, but I don’t want to ignore my upper body completely. I use the weights to do various upper body exercises just to add some balance and variety to the routine.

9. This chair might not look like much, but it was essential when I started active flexion exercises. I now use it when I’m working on active extension. It’s more supportive than my bed, and I can park it in front of the TV when I’m bored.

10. Who knew my old biology textbook would be so useful? I use this for my 2-inch step-ups. I’m getting much better with the step-ups, but I haven’t worked much on step-downs yet because there’s still quite a bit of pain.

The good part is that I only had to purchase the ankle weights this go round. I’d already collected everything else for one reason or another. The bad part is that I have enough stuff at home to do my therapy exercises, so I’ve been quite lazy about doing anything outside my home. I need to get out more.

Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

2 thoughts on “Home gym

  1. Hello There:-) Wonderful Gym room Laura.. Yes the fitness ball is also called thera ball or physio ball. Wobble board is also called balance board. The idea of using Dew bottle as a foam roller is amazing! Just my 2 cents , if you wanna do quad strengthening you can also use a pillow and fold it into half (if you need something soft).
    I used to have physio ball, and I used to sit on it while watching T.v doing all that pranks of lifting one leg up from the ground and balancing.

    I wish I could have all this at my home right now! However, I am unable to find that pretty sandbags that you have. Need to check out at Modells.

    Thank you once again for the superb ideas to make a fit room at home.

  2. Yes, thank you! A balance board. I knew there was another name, but I just couldn’t come up with it. Thanks for the pillow tip for the quads. I had used a towel in therapy before, but I might try the pillow now at home. I definitely need to work on my quads some more!

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