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Athlete's Training w/ Sprained Knee?


In need of some training advice.

I am a wrestling and football athlete and will be playing collegiate football next year starting with workouts in July and camp early August. The spring has always been my time to come out of wrestling season very lean and pack on the weight and train extremely hard through the summer.

However on the final day of wrestling, in the finals of my final tournament lol, I had a particularly large heavyweight fall onto my knee. They assumed acl and mcl tear but after swelling went down a bit miraculously it was only a sprain. I just started Pt to get some ROM back, but am still on crutches and basically unable to use my legs for the next few weeks.

At the PT place I go to they have a decent gym but I also am a member of a gym near my house. Basically I am looking for everyones opinion on what to do about training. I can not afford to not hit the weights but always have been a full body workout with 2-3 explosive Olympic lifts kinda guy. I can not do my usual cleans and snatches that prepared me so well for football until my knee is 100%. I am trying to figure out what my new training split should be. I was thinking this but again I am in desperate need of opinions.

Monday- Upper Body Push Day/Core
Wednesday- Upper Body Pulling Day/Core
Friday- Upper Body High Rep and Cardio

Again, I am an athlete and will be entering my freshman season at a d1 college so I can not waste any time.

Thanks in advance for all your suggestions.


How did they determine it was only a sprain (assuming grade 1)? Was an MRI taken? Who evaluated your knee?

Assuming it is just a sprain and no significant ligament or meniscus damage is present, I would just slowly progress to training with your injured knee as tolerated. Begin by just being able to walk without crutches and without a limp. Then progress to basic body weight squats and lunges. Then add weights. I know you feel like you cannot "waist any time", but you will be truly waisting your time if you do not get your injured knee right. I would put the majority of your focus on rehabbing your injured knee. That doesn't mean neglect your uninjured knee and upper body though.

As for everything else, train upper body as normal, as long as it doesn't require significant stability/strength from your injured lower leg until that leg is ready. Also, train your uninjured leg as normal. People will argue that you will create an imbalance, but it is highly unlikely that you will be able to. Also, research has shown that training the uninjured limb has resulted in a quicker return for the injured limb.

I'd recommend following a similar program that you would normally follow, but substitute single leg variations to train the uninjured knee as normal until the injured knee is recovered. On an almost daily basis I would do low volume, basic rehab exercises for the injured knee and on training days, incorporate higher volume and intensity rehab exercises on the injured leg during your normal training.