A couple of athletes have come to me recently with knee pain. One, a very good runner, the other, an alpinist with a history including an ACL rebuild.
The thing they had in common was that in the last year they had done some excellent gym work, building up their leg strength and proprioception. However, for whatever reason, in the last 6 to 8 months this level of rehabilitation, or in fact any level of work in the gym, had completely tailed off.
Despite this, their levels of activity in sport had stayed the same or became greater.
Everything has been fine for a good number of months. Increased endurance activity in the hills and mountains, long days out etc. Nothing wrong there – however, as gym work became a dim and distant memory, these athletes began to notice their knee pain come creeping back. Insidiously- not massive rupturing pain, but unpleasant, nevertheless.
From talking with these 2 people, it was not long before the penny started to drop and each came to the same conclusion. The start of their pain occurred within 6 months of stopping gym work.
I’m not saying that you should lift heavy things ALL the time, but within the cycle of a year, or a training cycle there should be at least some point that you are lifting something of significant weight in order to keep your brain and your muscles engaged at a level which it would not be from just “running around”.