I recently found out that I have a tear in my meniscus and need to get surgery but I cant get surgery until September. My question is what strength training program would be best with a torn meniscus and only dumbbells, a bench(90, 135, 180, 215 degree angles), a curling bar, and a doorway pullup bar? I am 6 2" and 200 lbs and want to get down to about 185 and be lean. I also sit at a desk for most of the day, and am unsure what kind of diet would work well since I cant do much cardio because of the meniscus. I currently eat mostly fruit, vegetables, beans and chicken and only drink coffee and water. I have been losing weight and gaining little strength but want to go about this the best way. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  • 3
    Your best bet is to consult a physical therapist.
    – rrirower
    May 20, 2015 at 18:49
  • Went thru physical therapy for my left knee with a Chiropractor and it helped but it still hurts if I walk more than a block and now my right knee gets real stiff in the back and it's even hard to get in and out of my car because I can't bend my knee much. It happens most of the time but no all the time.
    – L. Torres
    Feb 7, 2017 at 16:40

1 Answer 1



I never get tired of saying this. Swimming! It's the miracle exercise for anyone who has some sort of injury. Obviously, some injuries are beyond swimming, but those injuries are "hey doctor" injuries, and not "hey, Internet" injuries.

Swimming will not only provide good cardio, but because of the superior resistance of water, it's also a strength exercise. As with any other exercise, varying how you do it is key to covering the entire set of muscles, but even if you just do 2-3 different strokes, there are a lot of benefits to be had.

Weight training

As for strength training with weights, there doesn't seem to be any reason why you can't develop a strong and lean upper body. There is always the "don't skip leg day" mentality, but at least you have a solid reason.

I would strongly suggest going to the gym, unless your selection of dumbbells is really substantial. Our gains come from "progressive overloading", whereby we either increase the weight (intensity) or the set/rep scheme (volume). If at any point you can do 8+ reps of an exercise using your heaviest dumbbells, you should really be looking to get heavier ones, which is where a gym membership pays off. Not to mention getting to work with a bar, as well as other proper equipment.


As far as your diet it seems you have things sorted out. I can of course list other types of meat that are good for you besides just chicken (which tastes like rubber after a while), but you probably know this stuff.

If you're looking to lose weight even faster though, you might want to drop the fruits, which contain quite a bit of sugars. I normally don't advocate such exclusion based dieting, and I'm not doing that right now either. But it's something that can be done if only just to see what you can get out of it.

  • I also like the idea of swimming. Experiment with a few different strokes to see how your knee feels. When I tore my meniscus, free style was fine, but breaststroke agrivated it. Also, I had to be careful pushing off the wall. Check with your doc to see if you have any restrictions. I was also able to ride the stationary bike without any pain.
    – Ed W
    Feb 8, 2017 at 3:03

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