T Nation

ACL Reconstruction and Olympic Lifting


During spring break I was involved in a car accident and my left leg's ACL was completely torn.

Even though I compete as a powerlifter, my routine incorporate many olympic style movements, and explosive drills which sucks because all of these movements are high impact and need the ACL.

there is not a whole lot of information out there about oly lifts and even less about specific injuries relating to oly lifts. if there's anyone who had a prior or current ACL injury, can you please share your experiences and the progress of your recover with me?

also if you are fully healed, how long did it take you before you could go back to doing stuff like heavy or your "normal weight" cleans, pushes, and snatches? it would be a tremendous help. thank you :slightly_smiling:


This kid did, so maybe if you contacted him or his coach they could provide some good insight:

The description says he tore his 9 months ago so it seems like he recovered pretty quickly.


Yeah mate get a solid solid rehab program that you are super consistent and frequent on. I find when I'm rehabbing people the ones that are hyper frequent [ie. do their Quad/ham/ant thib/Decel Drills 1 or 2 x per week] recover like a hot damn. Those that are only semi frequent [ie. do drills 3-4x/week] recover less quickly. How many weeks ago was your surgery?

include in your program some Full ROM lifts with the bar or a stick. Keep your mobility and work your upper body hard to keep the CNS fast.



I assume ou mean per day??


I tore the ACL in my left leg 7 years ago playing rugby, didn't get hit, just 'created' too much knee mobility lol.
I got a graft from my gracilis, semitendinosus(sp?), and there might have been another one.
If you're going to get it reconstructed, I would recommend going with an allograft from a cadaver. That way the coordination won't get fucked up. I can walk, run, play sports(basketball, soccer/football, badminton, volleyball, martial arts, whatever) better than most people b/c I train and brought up my weak leg(and other areas).
Do lots of single leg work, lots of hamstring work(1:1 ratio of strength if you can manage it or at least 60:40). Make sure your training is balanced.
For me the mental aspects are the hardest to overcome. Back when I injured myself, I had no sense of training at all(it was in high school, one week out of grade 12), it did squat, bench, deadlift, probably shitty form too. Now I do single leg work, keep things balanced, do agility work etc.

Are you going to be getting it reconstructed?


Yup you win. Goddamnit. Where can i buy more sleep?



avocado, my surgery is scheduled for may 18th.

Matty, currently I'm going with an allograft from a cadaver, although i'm having second thoughts. the idea of my body rejecting the graft and thus having to get a second surgery is not too appealing. and you're right about the mental aspects being the hardest to overcome... i can't grasp the thoughts of being bed ridden for 3+ months.

the ironic thing is even without an ACL i can still do 80% max rock bottom squats and front squats but i can't do simple things like box jumps or even close to 50% of my normal snatches/cleans without my knee popping or giving out altogether. i wasn't going to get surgery but then i realize my options were limited to close-chain exercises.

hopefully my surgery and rehab will go smoothly and i will be able to return to lifting like that guy in the video. thanks for the responses guys. i really appreciate it.


You shouldn't be bed ridden for 3 months. 2 wks to a month maybe, but they sooner you start rehab, and get your ROM back the better off you'll be. One thing I did at therapy that hurt like hell but definately helped was riding a stationary bike in reverse, at first your knee will be super tight, but it helps so much.

Keep track of your gait as well, it will probably get fucked up and you don't want injuries jumping around b/c of this.

Also, I opted not to wear a brace for sports, simply b/c I didn't want to depend on outside assistance for stability. Been 6.5 years without any issues.