Here is a guide on how to lose weight with exercise even if you can’t do aerobics or leg workouts and need a total knee replacement.

A person who needs a total knee replacement can still lose weight in time for the surgery by engaging in the right kind of strength training exercise.

A report (Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Oct. 2012) points out that obese patients are at greater risk of complications following total knee replacement surgery, and that weight loss prior to the procedure is strongly advised.

The best way to lose weight is by lifting heavy weights. Now before you think, “I don’t want to bulk up; I don’t want to get bigger than I already am!” I have something to say:

Losing weight will reduce the risk of complications from total knee replacement surgery, and the best way for this kind of patient to lose excess fat is with heavy strength training. You will lose fat, gain muscle and GET SMALLER.

Not bigger. Smaller. Yes, you’ll gain muscle, but at the same time you will lose unhealthy weight that has certainly contributed to your need for total knee replacement.

To lose weight safely and be in the best shape possible prior to total knee replacement, follow this formula:

1) Use heavy resistance so that eight to 12 repetitions are extremely difficult.

Bench Press. Shutterstock/ LightField Studios

2) Maintain good form throughout the set, though a bit of “loose form” for the last few reps is acceptable.

Seated overhead dumbbell press. Shutterstock/Syda Productions

3) Avoid exercises that isolate the shoulders, triceps and biceps, as these will burn far less fat than compound exercises that work several muscle groups at once.

4) Do only compound exercises that hit the back, chest, shoulders, triceps and biceps.

5) Make an objective to keep lifting heavier and heavier over the course of time.

6) Perform these routines twice a week, e.g., Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Saturday.

Notice that leg exercises are excluded. I’ll play it safe and assume that the total knee replacement candidates reading this article are not able to perform even simple leg exercises like a leg press or hamstring curl.

Though the inner/outer thigh machines won’t hurt your knee, avoid these anyways, as they will not cause weight loss.

Hopefully, you will have plenty of time to make a strength training approach work for you before your total knee replacement surgery. Follow my rules above.

Those isolation exercises to avoid include shoulder side and front raises with dumbbells/cables, triceps push-downs and kickbacks, and biceps curls.

Your goal is weight loss, not shaping a biceps or shoulder muscle.

The fastest way to safe weight loss is to focus only on compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups, such as the bench press, lying dumbbell press, horizontal press, any kind of seated overhead press, and any kind of pulling motion such as a seated row with a straight bar.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 
Top image: Ioana Davies,