/ Fitness training / weight loss WITHOUT legwork??

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Fiend - on 31 Jan 2013
Read this bit first:

Since 2009 I have had my main iliac and pelvic veins completely sealed by DVT clots. This is permanent and inoperable, and the bloodflow is now taken up by the smaller surrounding veins. This means that my venous return from my legs is extremely slow, and whenever I do any aerobic leg exercise, my legs quickly get filled with de-oxygenated blood and my legs, lungs and heart get exhausted very quickly. I estimate that I am now working at 20-25% of my previous leg fitness - I've gone from running 40+ mins to 10 mins max, and walking uphill I need to stop and rest every few minutes.

(Please read that again before replying, thanks ).

Other aspects of my legs physical abilities are unaffected e.g. strength - recently did 100kg squats and 130kg deadlifts, as is the rest of my body. The only issue is the blood flow problem, and that is an immovable mechanical issue, so if anyone fancies giving advice like "Oh just MTFU and keep running/walking", please supply your address so I can come round and punch your stupid face to the other side of your fcking head. Other than that, read on:


I would like ideas for alternative exercises that I can try to improve my fitness and lose weight (I have put on a stone since DVTs, solely due to the inability to do "convenient" exercise like running).

I already do the following:

Short runs (2:20 running / 0:40 walking x 5/6 sets)
Arm cycling @ gym
Recumbent cycling @ gym
Rowing @ gym
Swimming (usually around 1km)
Walking to crags as best I can (generally far too exhausting before I can feel any benefits from it)

Needless to say all of this is fcking boring and I hate it, apart from the short runs which are less boring and more painful / infuriating.

I have also dabbled in:

Skiing - surprisingly easy but "slightly" expensive as a regular fitness regime.
Dancing/raving - again surprisingly easy but a lack of regular drum'n'bass / gabber nights around here.

So I would like some other ideas please - or variations on what I already do. Bonus points if it's an activity that doesn't require buying lots of equipment, can be done in adverse weather, and isn't utterly mind-numbingly tedious (wildly optimistic I know).

Fiend x

john arran - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

metal arms on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Skipping rope? I don't know how much of this is driven by the legs though. I'd guess less than running.
mkean - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to john arran:


Pretty good upper body and core workout and good cardio if you want to break yourself then polo is utterly brutal. I had trouble driving after my first game as my core and shoulders were so comprehensively fecked
Lots of clubs about for kit borrowing etc and it is best in the kind of weather that you wouldn't want to be climbing in.
mrchewy - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: Have a look at Tabata - generally I use squats as my normal exercise but you could use arm curls with weight or some other upper body motion, maybe using kettle bells.
Doesn't take long but proper mullers people and keeps your metabolism high for a while.
Roberttaylor - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: That sounds pretty rough, good luck staying fit.

Just a thought but at the gym near me they have a hand cycling machine.

tallsteve - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to john arran:
+ 1 on the kayaking.

A few days on the coast surfing bug waves (and pissing off the boardy boys) will knacker you out and give you loads of exercise. Time passes super fast, and boredom isn't an issue. Once you've bought the boat and bits its also pretty cheap. It can be done with a modicum of skill - unlike hairy white water where you need to know yer stuff.

Any South West facing beach exposed to the Atlantic will do. I am told there's loads of surfing spots in Bonny Ecosse. Also, if you get the skill levels up, there's loads of amazing white water.
lynda - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

thinking a bit outside the box but trampolining? How about murderball/wheelchair basketball (there must be some clubs around after all the paralympics and I don't see why it should only be available to wheelchair atheletes)

Waterpolo also looks brutal.
Fiend - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to various:

Kayaking: requires too much equipment, also too much hassle getting to water, also long-winded enough to eat into climbing time.

Boxing: requires other people, unless you mean with a punchbag??

Skipping: tried it, am completely malcoordinated and couldn't do it properly after a few hours trying, also very leg-orientated.

Hand cycling: i.e. arm cycling, I do that already.

Tabata: I will look into high-intensity workouts more, this could be an option even with stuff that uses my legs. I have been recommended sprint interval training, this could be possible.

Trampolining: not sure of the cv/weight loss benefits.

Waterpolo: requires other people, don't like competitive sports either.
Fiend - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Apologies for being curt, however ideas that strike a chord with me I will be interested in hearing more about.

I should have also mentioned that single person exercises and ones that are either outdoor and/or don't require specific classes / teams / organisation are preferable.

(Yes what I am after is something to replace running / crag-walking, not easy I know)
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to tallsteve: i'm not a kayaker but have mates who are and they birn loads of energy kayaking...especially surfing and playboating i used to do long trips on flat water and felt like it was a good workout...

how about a bit of intervval training on an exercise bike... i used to do alot of fell running but have cycled alot since my early thirties as i found running was knackering my joints, you can burn loads of energy in fairly short workout but doing sprints for shorter periods of time with rests inbetween.

also boxing (on a punch bag) supposed to burn up lots of energy too.. short bursts of pucnhing the crap out of it coupled with other say something like an ab exercise or pressups or something.

some circuit training classes could also be adapted to what you need too... mayeb watch a few classes and knick soek ideas or talk with one of the instructors about what you need to do and join in with a class?

sounds really frustrating for you right now, but from what i've noticed about you .. you seem well motivated and very strong (seen ye profile and your posts over the last couple of years) and i'd be pretty confident that you'll find ways of getting the results you want once you figure out waht to do.

john arran - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

So let's recap: you're looking for a non-competitive activity that will raise your heart-rate, that you can do without leaving the house, on your own while lying down...

... nope, can't think of anything!
Fiend - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to john arran:

That could be very competitive in certain circumstances...


On the subject of which I did wonder if the pooling blood in my pelvic region would result in inflated erections so collossal I could cause traffic incidents and GBH to members of the public. Alas, it doesn't work that way. Kids, stick to viagra and those emails promising you 10 inches pleasure, don't try DVTs as a shortcut.


Interval training and punchbag boxing are sounding promising so far.

I will enquire about fitness classes but most of them seem to involve a lot of legwork and also are at specific times i.e. usually when I'm down the wall.

BTW I am very motivated, i.e. inspired, for climbing only, and very lazy with everything else :S

mrchewy - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: I mentioned tabata as it's easy to fit in to a busy lifestyle and by your profile, you don't need a new hobby.
Just tweaked my medial ligament, so leg stuff is out for me for a while and I've been looking at options for high intensity, interval training. Hope you work something out.
Liam M - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: Roller Skiing - stick some casters on a skis and push yourself around town with poles ;)
edinburgh_man on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:


The fittest (climbing wise) and leanest I've ever been was October '12 following a lot of PE circuits / high intensity interval training on a 45 board.

I was amazed what a difference it made in roughly 12 weeks of training - much more than I expected.

I've done a lot of running in the past - but never been as lean as I was after the PE / HIT work.

Good luck,


Andy Hardy on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: don't know if you caught "the truth about exercise" last night on BBC2 but it would be worth a watch as 3 x 20 second bursts of high intensity 3 days a week are supposed to have big benefits on VO2 max, for MOST people. From your post I'd say find it on iplayer and tweak to suit your needs
Fiend - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to 7bforever:

Oh god does that mean I have to become an Aero-cap / An-cap bore like shark and Duncan Disorderly?? :o

I can do more intense climbing training....once my retweaked finger has healed...
Ava Adore - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Completely sympathise with the not being able to exercise properly thing. Keep being plagued by stupid back and other problems but at least mine go away from time to time.

How about yoga? Not aerobic but good for keeping muscles toned and helpful with climbing flexibility. Go to a few classes to get the gist then buy books (I can recommend some) to follow the poses or use these new-fangled phone apps.

In this recent snow, I've been doing sets of circuit training exercises. Plucked from previous circuit classes but you can also search online for ideas. I alternate a cardio-type one (jumping jacks for example) with a strength one (eg push ups).

Swimming - bores me titless. Good luck with that.
Ali - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: What a nightmare! Probably not much to add to previous posts but boxing is knackering but may be boring if you're on your own (unless you're disciplined in setting yourself a timer for example). Have you tried doing hill reps on your running intervals? Not sure if that would increase the rate at which your legs cut out (if you get what I mean), but would def get you fitter than just doing them on the flat.

Circuits is another good one - perhaps try going along to an outdoor circuit class (e.g. BMF) - first session is usually free and you can get an idea of whether it'll work for you, and nab some ideas of things to include if you want to do your own version. I find having someone shouting at me and competition does wonders for my motivation...

Good luck!
edinburgh_man on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Well, every silver lining..., but (and I hate to admit this) I found that after the initial shock / pain (about 2 weeks), I started to find the lactic burn / pump quite addictive. You really feel like you've done a proper work out which is satisfying.

Gains were huge too - it's an aspect I've always kind of ignored previously, but not anymore.

On the plus side, it does mean you can start hanging out with Barrows ;)
lynda - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to lynda: <facetious answer> pole dancing. Have you ever seen an unfit fat pole dancer? </facetious answer>

I'll get my coat
lynda - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: <proper answer> ok. How about P90X or crossfit? is supposed to be circuit training based.

Requires a living room, weights/gym equipment/chin up bar/chair dvd and dvd player. Not my cup of tea, but your requirements seem to suggest something like this. </proper answer>
Ali - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to lynda: Having tried it once, pole dancing is pretty hardcore if you do it properly - some of the tricks the guys did were pretty impressive. But probably more core/strength than fitness training.
Ali - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali: Though I can't imagine Fiend pole dancing...now there's a thought!
johnjohn - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: may take up to 30 seconds for your new message to appear on the main forum pages
You can be notified when someone replies to your threads with a feed for RSS browsers
by - johnjohn on - 17:51 Thu
In reply to Fiend:

1. blimey, tough break and all that
2. given you clearly climb vastly harder than I'll dream of, plus stuff posted above, you're not starting from a low base exactly, but...
3. exercise to keep muscle mass up and body fat % down you don't mention. Circuits of upper body stuff can be pretty bloody aerobic. Very aereobic if you chuck in cleans, if you can cope with this. Kettlebells seem to be trendy these days too, for some reason. Don't mess about with light weights (100kg is a light weight for a squat, unless you weigh 50kg) go for muscle building exercise. (I've had a variety of knackered ankle workouts over the years.)
4. good that not everyone likes surfing, there are enough bloody surfers about as it is and you'd not be able to do it enough for exercise what with the weegie machrihanish/pease oscilation. Whatever you do absolutely don't get one of those bloody canoes.

Sebastian Fontleroy - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Hey Fiend, i'd advise circuit/interval training. Check this guy out for ideas, he puts up some seriously difficult workouts.

colina - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:the wheelchair marathon athlete david weir is obviously very fit .id have thought if you have reasonable movement in your legs this would be an advantage over someone who has little or no lower body movement.,
you could perhaps contact a suitable mobility group and ask them how their members keep fit! .
maybe some interval cycling or swimming maybe not as tough on your legs as jogging as youre not carrying your full weight .good luck anyway.
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Ali: hope you took your chalk bag and chalked up first
TheDrunkenBakers - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

What did the doctors say about revascularisation?


If I remember from my cardiology days (although I may be back to front), doesnt the body perform its own version of revascularization after a period of time. I.e. the block main arteries/veins shrink and good peripheral vessels increase in size as necessary to take up the strain?
biscuit - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

I got hold of the 20 minute insanity workout. No equipment needed just the ability to suffer.

Quite a lot of sprinting on the spot and squat thrust type stuff so not sure how you'd cope with that but it may be worth a look.

For the time it takes it's a hell of a workout.
jonnie3430 - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Is your 1km swim in a pool or outdoor? You'll burn more calories outdoor.
Kemics - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to johnjohn:

Kettlebells are definitely the way forward. You can get a serious cardio work out and should be completly fine with legs.

Check out mike maxwell extreme cardio workout. It's a 20 minute Cardio workout you do with a relatively light weight kettle bell. Designed to do as many reps as possible in the 20 mins. and it will blast you...savage workout. I'd like to think it's beneficial to climbing as it works shoulders and a LOT of core

thepeaks - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Fiend: Get a job that involves digging.
Lion Bakes on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

How about off road hand cycling as per below?


Sebastian Fontleroy - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Kemics:
> (In reply to johnjohn)
> Kettlebells are definitely the way forward.

I agree.

Lurking Dave - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend: Probably stating the obvious, but have you tried compression gear to assist with venous return?

My recommendation is burpees. You can never do enough
George Ormerod - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

That's a bit of a bugger.

If you're dead lifting and squatting OK, what about bar bell complexes? They get your heart going pretty brutally and your legs will get a break when you do the upper body bits (rows, overhead presses, etc.).

As people say kettlebells are good too, but the idea is the same.

Best of luck
benota - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend: I agree with the kettle bell idea. It has been proven that high reps and lower intensity weight training will decrease fat, and increase tone. Make sure that you keep rests to a minimum. (30secs-1min). I have used this with clients in the past and have seen effects quickly.
Fiend - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Bugger me that's a lot of answers...thanks...

Ava Adore - yoga - not sure it's aerobic enough but yes I should be doing it anyway for the general climbing benefit.

Ali - running intervals - this is a strong contender as it ticks the boxes, I will have to give them a try. Hill intervals might be too much, plus not hilly where I live.
Circuits - again a possibility, I assume that is alternating exercises on various limbs??

Lynda - pole dancing - I'm sure that would be good for climbing as well, but I don't have a pole...
Crossfit - doesn't sound like my cup of tea either, plus no space in living room.

johnjohn - weights - I am mixing weights in with cv gym work, partly because it's a lot less boring. 100kg is not a fcking light weight for me and I'm very proud of it given my legs get tired walking up stairs, thanks.

<Seb Font/b> - circuits/intervals - will look at that video.

colina - that is an interesting idea indeed, I will have a look around for "disabled" clubs and see if they have any ideas.

The Drunken Bakers - revascularisation - yes I expect that will happen, but probably not in my lifetime. Fitness progress after 3 1/2 years - none.

(Incidentally, the DVTs were caused by a congenital aplaisic inferior vena cava, obviously there was a lot of revascularisation of the collaterals to compensate for that - but not quite enough as my lower body venuous return was always slow, hence allowing DVTs to form. However that revascularisation was occuring since birth for a few decades in a growing/developing body....thus I'm holding no hope for revascularisation in my legs...)

biscuit - insanity workout - sounds like 20mins I wouldn't be able to do at all.

jonnie3430 - outdoor swimming - I'm not going in the bloody Clyde that's for sure!!

A Game Of Chance - outdoor recumbent cycling - requires too much equipment and I am not getting on the roads in anything lower than a bloody car.

Kemics - kettlebells - yes sounds promising.

Lurking Dave - stockings - http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=205320 stockings for life yeah!
burpees - not a chance.

George Ormond - bar bell complexes - sounds promising, can you explain more?
RockSteady on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

When I did MMA we used to do 'bear crawls' as part of our warm up/fitness sessions. This was basically as it sounds - walk around on all fours fast as poss. I used to find this absolutely exhausting after a couple of sets. Used to do laps round the mats in the gym and also up and down my garden. Was tough on the core and shoulders rather than the legs. If you have a bit of open space that's private or don't mind looking like a weirdo in public that could be a good one to throw into the mix?
Fiend - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Okay so the short list is:

1. Interval training - sprints / hill intervals (trying to compensate for leg issues with short bursts and rests in between).

2. Kettle Bell circuit workouts.

3. Organised class circuit workouts.

4. Boxing with a punchbag.

5. Climbing PE circuits.
mloskot - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:
> Tabata: I will look into high-intensity workouts more, this could be an
> option even with stuff that uses my legs. I have been recommended sprint
> interval training, this could be possible.

Take a look at bodyweight workouts like this one:


Properly adjusting rest times and number of intervals, you can shift such workouts towards tabata training/HIT.

Support it with low carb diet and you should see progress quickly.
George Ormerod - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Barbell complexes are just a series of barbell exercises, back to back, followed by a rest. If you google it you get loads of variety so you could tune it for a more upper body bias. Here's an example:


Fiend - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to George Ormerod:

Looks good and makes sense. I like barbells.


I don't think I could do any of those exercises, regardless of legs!
Paul Crusher R - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend: Dont think its been mentioned.. Table tennis? Just have a nice friendly non competitive game - aye ney chance. Used to play at college and a full game is knackering, good for core, leg strength and prob ok in your situation aerobic wise. Other options... darts? Serious, i play for the local pub team, an hour practice you feel it after try lifting your arm repetitively and slowly for an hour and walk back n worth the 16 foot a few hundred times. Take out the drink suppliements and its a good calorie burner.
Ali - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend: Yes, usually a mix of things like press ups, sit ups, squats, burpees, interval runs etc - huge variety of exericses you could do so sure you can sort something to build in what you want. Key thing is you don't stop! So you're constantly on the go fro an hour which definitely gets you fitter - good core workout too (I'm terrible training core on my own..)
Cappa on 01 Feb 2013 - whois?
In reply to Fiend:

As many others have mentioned above, Circuits. You can tailor them to whichever muscle group necessary, and if you aim to keep your rest periods low and your reps high they give you a fantastic CV workout. Costs nothing don’t even need a gym if you focus on bodyweight exercises.

I also wouldn't rule out squats/deadifts if you are capable, your quads are one of the biggest muscles in your body so have massive calorie burning potential.

Best of luck.
johnjohn - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

In reply to Fiend:
> johnjohn - weights - I am mixing weights in with cv gym work, partly because it's a lot less boring. 100kg is not a fcking light weight for me and I'm very proud of it given my legs get tired walking up stairs, thanks.

perhaps that came out wrong. You're being given ideas for aerobic workouts with weights, which is a good way to go. I'm saying you can do these with heavy weights, better for keeping muscle mass up and fat ratio down. You don't need to do leg specific exercise at all to spend 30-40 mins seeing through a red haze.

You probably would anyway I'd imagine, if you're used to doing loads of pullups including one arm stuff which Shirley you must be, just use comparable weights when doing chest and shoulder stuff.

(In my current, opposite of hardcore, gym - happens to be in the building where I work - I see a lot of guys whose time would be far better spent if they did less, harder. Hey ho.)

colina - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Paul R:
> (In reply to Fiend)... darts? Serious, .. try lifting your arm repetitively and slowly for an hour .

Id have to agree ,darts players are probably some of the fittest athletes in the world. look at jocky Wilson and "big George" from my local,both superb athletes.
Dont bother with the insanity workout. Take up darts..."feel the burn"
Steve Perry - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend: As said earlier get yourself a punchbag, have a go at 3 min bursts with all that you've got, it's nails. You can just step around the bag if skipping is too much.

Get one of these fixed to your bedroom door, I know it's a cash piece of gear but could suit the type of exercise your after and can be done indoors or out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtKSYFlpoTM

You thought about Pilates?
craigloon - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Google metabolic resistance training.
craigloon - on 01 Feb 2013
Siderunner - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

Off the wall suggestion: zumba? given you like dancing/raving ...

And if you can't make a class, you could get the positively reviewed Wii game (!):

May not be as efficient as most of the other suggestions, but might be more fun and therefore get done more frequently and/or for longer.
john arran - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:

After this afternoon's endeavours I can add another option: bolting routes.

Just been out equipping part of a new 3-pitch route and I can vouch for it being an impressive core and upper body workout, especially when the route overhangs or traverses and you have to hold yourself in position using creative and strenuous tactics while drilling, cleaning, hammering and tightening.

Sorry if where you are there isn't potential but around here there seems to be a limitless supply.
simon kimber - on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:
Get a handbike, then you can do your 'arm-cycling' out in the real world.

Or a wheelchair (you can 'borrow' them from most supermarkets), but be warned, if you're not used to it it's nails. I had a race with my missus once. At the first hill she stormed ahead, while a group of chavs came over and offered me a push cos I was struggling so much!

Don't know why more sport-climbers don't use them, it's great for cardio training without building leg bulk.
Fiend - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to latest replies:

Table tennis - requires equipment and partners.

Arm cycling bike - as I said, requires specialist equipment and I'm not going out in the traffic on anything that low.

Weights - on previous advice from UKB ppl I generally do less reps with higher weights than before.

Metabolic stuff - fits in with what has been suggested, will look into that.

Zumba - if I'm moaning about the lack of hardcore drum'n'bass / gabber for dancing too, I'm not likely to want to spend any time tormenting myself with pop-dance and chart music, I'd rather be fat than suffer that!
cathyjc on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Fiend:
Hi, I'm not a climber or very fit but I do have venous return problems (vein removed during cancer surgery).
Don't discount wearing compression stockings -at least when you are non-active but standing. I find if I get pooling of blood in my leg I become prone to cellulitis and then need antibiotics to clear it. I'm now quite susceptible to the infection and compression stockings definately help prevent recurrence.
Also are you sure a good vascular surgeon cannot repair the damage? I live in West Scotland area and my experience is that there is a superb vascular surgeon based in Glasgow who operated on me who may have the skills to help you. Message me if you want further details.

Good luck.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.