I had hip surgery over a year ago, upshot being that I can no longer do any exercise that compresses my hips - like running, jumping, squats, lunges with weights, etc. etc. etc. I'm 43, so this is a big drag.

Unsurprisingly I've lost a lot of bulk in my legs (wasn't a whole lot there to begin with either). I've been doing leg extensions and hamstring curls, but I need some variety. everything I've researched seems to be a variation on a squat or lunge. Someone suggested using therabands, but I'm not sure how.

I swim as well as workout and do a fair amount of kicking, but it doesn't build much muscle.

Any suggestions?

  • 4
    If you have trouble walking or running, let alone squatting, perhaps its worth booking a follow up with your surgeon or speaking with a physiotherapist.
    – user2861
    Jan 7, 2014 at 10:50
  • 1
    Does the leg press hurt too ?
    – e1che
    Jan 7, 2014 at 11:09
  • Have you tried a leg extension machine? Is that painful too?
    – rrirower
    Apr 1, 2014 at 12:29

2 Answers 2


First, and foremost, I recommend you see a physical therapist and work with your physician to reclaim at least some use from your hip. Your primary focus should be on rehabilitation. 43 is far too young to have such limitations. As such I recommend you run these suggestions and any others you receive across your physio to make sure they make sense in the grander scheme of rehabilitation.

  • Leg Press: The amount of hip involvement is different depending on your foot placement and range of motion. Set it up so that your range of motion is just before the hips would start to hurt to full extension.
  • Exercise Ball Leg Curls: These are a change of pace, and really challenging. They hit the hamstrings well, your hips will not be compressed at all, and add a stability challenge to the exercise.
  • Squat Partials: The same concept as the leg press for range of motion, but stick with weights you can control while not going to full ROM. Make up for it with reps.
  • Farmer's/Yolk Walks: Low impact, and limited range of motion. Most of it is whole body being tense, kind of like isometric exercises.
  • Deadlifts: These might require some finesse to find a variation and set up that doesn't hurt.

These might give you enough variation that you can build size. It might be worth using the leg press to determine if you can increase the usable range of motion over time. As with any time you are dealing with an injury or post-surgery take your time getting back in the gym. Start much lighter than you normally would, and build up weight even more slowly than you would normally.

Reiteration: Please seek the advice of someone who really knows their stuff with hip related problems. A good physical therapist can help you regain as much use of your hip as is possible.



Unfortunately, the legs are tied to the hips and there aren't many leg workouts that would really strengthen the legs without some form of squats or lunges.

You might try some Yoga moves; they might not give your legs the bulk you need, but they might be able to tone them or give them more flexibility.


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