I am continuing my exercise system into 2020. I began working on building general strength in a low-impact way and with emphasis on strengthening my knee joints. I took this step in response to a diagnosis of early stage arthritis, which explained the swelling and pain in my left knee joint.
Helped by a physical trainer for the first few weeks, I learned more about my fitness situation and needs. First, I learned about core strength, which is the capacity of the abdominal area, chiefly the diaphragm but also the sides to the hip tops; core strength affects all body movement and balance and coordination. Back and other muscle strains can occur if the back and other muscle areas are compensating for the weakness in the middle of the body. Lack of mid-body strength can also be a factor in explaining falls and coordination weakness. We did exercises to build core strength and lead into work on balance and coordination of the legs and feet.
Then we shifted the focus onto shoulder, quad, back and upper body strength-building. I kept up abdominal work, especially with various types of crunches, too. The most important thing regarding the condition of my knees is the conditioning of the upper front muscles of the thigh known as the "quads". Over the weeks, my physical state improved a lot. I could add weights and extend the sets of squats and presses. We also worked on the upper arms as well as the lower legs and ankles
I was using the ropes for awhile. Holding the ends of a heavy rope anchored to equipment, one whips the ropes up and down with each arm for 30 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes. I usually tried at different speeds for a minute in each set. In the same set, I would swing the ropes sideways a few times, then launch into whipping the rope up and down with both arms at the same time for about a minute.
I have been continuing to build on this routine since last summer, without a personal trainer. I have been learned new movements and extended the sets and the weights.
Sometimes I just exercise at home. I can do push-ups, sit-ups (aka crunches) and squats or lunges there. I have a pair of 7lb. dumbbells. I can stretch and do leg raises, as well. I still go to the local fitness centre. Most weeks, I go to there once or twice a week, sometimes thrice. At the gym, there is a selection of weights as well as machines. I choose two or three of them when I plan the workout of the day. The workouts concentrate more on the legs at times, and more on upper body or core at others. I use the cable-pulls for inside leg and upper arm and shoulder exercises. I've taken to using the butterfly press, which builds pectoral muscles, and the seated, upward shoulders press on and off. Recently, I have been using the quads press machine which is done from a prone position, legs raised. I can handle 22kg or 60 lbs doing tanding squats or 90 lbs with the machine quad presses. As for the upward should presses, I do up to 60 lbs. I generally do all the exercises in three sets of 10 to 25, depending on the movement and my energy on a given day.
At home, I'll do 3 sets of 20 push-ups, from the knees and hands raised on a surface. I'll do backward lunges while doing bicep curls for 3 or so minutes in a stint. Else, I may do 20 squats while holding 14 lbs on my shoulders, and repeat this set twice. On my back, I'll do three sets of crunches, either with knees bent while raising the shoulders each time or flat out and grabbing a cushion with my ankles then raising the legs to pass the cushion to my raised arms and lying down (20 arm and leg raises in 3 sessions).
At the gym today, I chose to start with heavier leg work, and some upper body work. I usually do a warm-up to get the blood moving and muscles ready by using the standing cycling machine or the rowing machine or both for 20 minutes. Today, however, I skipped the warm-up. I stretched for five minutes and did three sets of 20 quad presses on the machine. Between each set, I did a set of 15 upward shoulder presses. Then I worked on the should tops, raising an arm weighted with five kg on one side 10 times while extending the other arm horizontal to the floor, then performing the weighted arm raises on the other side 10 times. That set was repeated twice. Finally, I moved to the butterfly machine, pressing 30 kg forward with both arms 10 times, and repeating this set twice more. Job done. I headed home.