T Nation

Coming Back From Injury

Hey guys, I’m just wondering if anyone has had to come off of a major injury or surgury, and how they did it. I have to get an ACL reconstruction and am wondering (after phys. therapy) how to train. The leg has got me really bummed out because atrophy has set in so much. Let me know if anyone has gone through the same thing. Thanks.

Ya, I blew my ACL playing football. Make sure you do ALL you phys therapy…that’s very important. A possible reason you blew your knee is because you quad is much stronger then your hamstrings (at least is was that way for me). Make sure you work the hell out of your hamstrings and build those suckers up. Flexibility is also VERY important. IF you do any running you want to make sure that you get all you previous flexibility back. If you ignore this important aspect it will screw up your leg stride and give you problems in your hips. Also, don’t do any plyometric trainig until you get all your strength back (and then some). To replace your ACL ligiment your surgen will either take a piece of your hamstring or patella tendon, he then grafts that and uses it as your new ACL. The problem with this is it takes a long time for blood to circulate through this new graft. This leaves your new ACL vunerable to rupturing until blood finds it way into the graft. So don’t do any plyometrics until your physio-theripist says so. Lastly, once your done your physio perform a unilateral hypertrophy program that will help get some of that mass back into you thighs…hope some of this helped.

You should have no problem with your upper body workouts at all and you can start them any time (as soon as you feel good enough). Just find some exercises where you can sit or lay and where you don’t have to worry about using your legs (that includes racking the weight, stabilizing your body, etc.). Find out what is comfortable for you (you’ll find working out now much easier with a training partner) and keep control over the weight at all times. Maybe machines will be more suitable for you now since they usually provide more stability compared to free weights, but that’s totally up to you. For your legs (or generally lower body) your problem will probably be to find the right load for your muscle without putting too much load on your knees. www.orthopedictechreview.com/ issues/may00/pg28.htm may be of interest to you. You might consider different loads since I assume you have better developed legs than the average guy. But you will have to find out what is right and when you go too far. In that context I think that www.stoneclinic.com/acltips.htm gives very useful advice (and not only for ACL).
BTW, I hope that you will get some outline from your PT on what they are planning to do with you over the next couple of weeks/months.