ACL Rehab Update and the Latest Workout


The last post I sent out was sort of screwed up. Something was wrong with the code. Here’s the new and improved version.

Thursday was a full week since my ACL reconstruction and it was the day of my first PT appointment. According to the PT, I’m weeks ahead of schedule in terms of strength, mobility and gait. This was fantastic news and I’m completely convinced that my pre-surgery workout routine was the key.

The current thinking on ACL reconstruction and recovery is to engage in what’s known as prehabilitation (as opposed to rehabilitation) prior to surgery. Surgery is a type of controlled injury. Though the overall goal of surgery is to improve function and “fix” an injury, the immediate outcome of surgery is pain, poor movement, weakness and maybe instability. The aim in prehab is to make the involved area as mobile, strong and highly functional as possible so as to minimize the impact of surgery.

My prehab consisted of lots of squats and single-leg work, deadlifts, walking, and bicycling as well as various stretches and plenty of upper body and trunk/core work. Most of my work consisted of sagittal plane (front/back) movement. This was the most stable plane of movement available to me. I also did some frontal plane (side-to-side) work but only a little work in the transverse (rotational/twisting) plane. A torn ACL typically results from way too much twisting so I was very careful not to twist and I used anti-rotation exercises in which I worked to resist forces trying to twist me.

On Friday I did my first workout.  Here’s what I did. Take note of the single-leg work. This was a big part of my prehab and will be a huge part of my rehab.

Super set 1

    • Barbell press: 65 lbs. x 5 reps – 75 lbs. x 5 reps – 85 lbs. x 5 reps – 95 lbs. x 5 reps – 105 lbs. x 5 reps – 115 lbs. x 5 reps – 120 lbs. x 5 reps – 120 lbs. x 5 reps – 70 lbs. x 12 reps
      • That last set was a back-off set. I’ll be employing back-off sets with various exercises and I’ll probably discuss back-off sets later.
    • 1-leg exercises: Watch the video for an explanation
    • Toe raises (aka heel raises or calf raises): 2-foot x 30 reps – 1-foot x 10 reps.  I alternated this pattern throughout the super set. I only used my body weight.

Super set 2

  • Leg lifts: 12 reps – 10 reps – 10 reps
    • Haven’t done these in forever.
    • I got sore and tired in the abdomen very quickly!
    • Might be sore tomorrow
  • Band walks:
    • Went to exertion in the hip abductors
    • I was very careful to keep my right knee from caving in, which is an example of working to avoid transverse plane movement as I mentioned above.

    Finally, I was able to just turn the cranks on a recumbent bike. I couldn’t generate much force with my leg but still, to get a full revolution was good news. I figure I’ll be on a real bike in maybe a week.