Zone 3 Exercise

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  • #59855

    Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating

    I guess myself & Bill are in the same situation 🙂

    I can’t run (at least for a few months) due to knee issues (overuse injury). For now, I am mainly training in the gym & using the treadmill. So far, it has been going great, for Zone-1 about 05% incline walk & zone-2 15% incline (upper limit of the machine) at brisk pace walk.

    I am afraid I can’t get into zone-3 and no way near Anaerobic Threshold without converting those walks into a run/jog, which I can’t afford with my current knee position. Could you kindly advise alternate exercises or some suggestions to get into Zone-3 without running?

    Also, Looking into the training plan, there is some tanking work for the Knee (Zone-2 Weighted Incline/Hilly Hikes). What are your recommendations considering knee issue?

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    Anonymous on #59860


    If you have a knee problem I don’t think you should even be thinking of using weighted hill climbs to hit Z3. The highest priority for you needs to get healed up. Until then training has to come secondary. Trying to train like you are proposing when dealing with an injury will only delay the healing process. My recommendation will be to stick with the lower intensity work while healing. This will help maintain the aerobic base you have built.

    Good luck in your recovery

    Umer on #59875

    Hi Scott

    Thank you for the prompt response & good wishes 🙂

    Well noted, healing will be the priority, and I will be careful not to run, which reactivates the irritation. With my condition (fat pad impingement); Joint mobilization & Low-Intensity Activity training is actually helping as these result in increased strength and endurance of the muscles closest to the joints. I will be careful with weight exercises and will not target Z3 with weights. And will definitely not run anytime soon.

    Having said that would you suggest some exercises to hit Z3 & Anaerobic Threshold other than running? Or should I discard/change the Z3 intervals in the training plan?


    Nate Emerson on #59907

    Hi Umer
    That’s great to hear that things are improving with participation in this program.
    If you have any concern about a flare-up of impingement symptoms, check with your PT. The inflammation could be coming from a combination of factors but doing too much with too little rest is a great way to provoke it.
    If you’re cleared for other footborne activity besides running: steep uphill hiking is preferred for mountaineers. If that isn’t an option, try to substitute with one of these options – in this order: steeper treadmill, a stairmaster, a stairstepper, or an elliptical. Going steeply uphill is a great way to get into Zone 3 and you don’t need to carry weight (carrying weight can change which systems are affected most by the session). Even if you’re cleared for it, you might want to ease into a new session and make sure that you’re tolerating it before a full session or the AnT Test.
    Best, Nate

    Umer on #60015

    Hi Nate

    Thank you for the detailed feedback.

    My PT & Consultant has warned against running & too much training too soon.
    However, steeper treadmill walks are advised as a great way to strengthen & increase mobility around the joint. To hit Z3, I need more than a 15% incline treadmill; I will hopefully be able to find one soon 🙂

    Also, I am now looking for a stepmill. Would you recommend a stair-stepper or stairs-climbing (stepmill)?


    Nate Emerson on #60038

    A stepmill is more sport specific than a stairstepper.

    A steep treadmill is also more sport specific than the stepper, if only because you’ll have a normal walking gait. While 15% isn’t very steep, it should suffice for now for your low-intensity workouts, where the primary goal for now is working on your aerobic base. Doing some workouts with less steepness would be helpful to regulate the total weekly load on the musculature around your knee joint.

    I couldn’t tell if you meant “looking” to purchase a machine, or just to use at a fitness facility. If a stepmill is within your budget, that’s a better choice than a stairstepper. If you’re considering a purchase, be aware that there are big differences in quality from one manufacturer to another, and you tend to get what you pay for.

    You don’t need all of your workouts to be on stairs. But it’s helpful to modulate your training so that some of the sessions are on stairs or a machine simulating stairs. That way you’ll be on a 75-90% grade. Clearly that will involve your muscle mass in a much different way. 15% seems pretty low angled when you make that comparison.

    Good luck with the search!

    Umer on #60139

    Hi Nate

    Thank you for the detailed reply.

    Considering the probable gym closure due to Omicron and long-term goals, I am now getting equipment for my home gym. Found a good deal on StairMaster 7000pt stepmill, which is due to arrive this weekend and a treadmill (however, it is limited to a 15% incline).
    These and some other essential equipment such as Chinup Stand, Aerobic Stepper, Wooden Box, etc.

    I am looking forward to more gear/equipment recommendations from coaches and fellow participants.

    Umer on #60140

    Yesterday I did try 10 minutes of Cybex ArcTrainer in the gym, and I was able to hit Z3 easily. The Arc Trainer seems to be relatively less straining on knees & joints.

    I guess I can use ArcTrainer / Stepmill for Zone 3 & Intervals workout.

    Looking forward to your valuable remarks

    Nate Emerson on #60165

    Umer, It sounds like you’re going to have some great options for training at home.
    As Scott said, your priority is to get the fat pad impingement issue resolved. Make sure that you are following your physio’s guidance. The Cham Mtn Fit could be a great adjunct to PT exercises, and might even contain some version of them. Biomechanics often plays a major role with these overuse injuries, and cleaning up your movement via the Cham Mtn Fit could improve biomechanics to the point where you symptoms resolve.
    Don’t do any workouts that are considered contraindicated by your ortho or PT. The gym equipment can give you a more controlled environment which could be less aggravating for knee inflammation, but will also be more repetitive with less variance – which could be more aggravating if your mechanics still provoke inflammation. Doing aerobic sessions differently each time might avoid some overuse issues.
    ArcTrainer is less specific, but if your goals are in the spring/summer that shouldn’t be a problem. The current general aerobic training doesn’t require too much specificity.

    Umer on #60186

    Nate, Thank you for the guidance.

    My goals are in summer. I will use Arctrainer / Stepmill for zone 3 exercises.

    Yes, the Cham fit & Inclined treadmill workouts are showing increased mobility & strength in the muscles around my Knee. My symptoms/irritation has decreased ever since Cham fit introduction.

    “Doing aerobic sessions differently each time might avoid some overuse issues.” that is excellent advice, and I will try to mix aerobic workouts.

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