T Nation

Lower Body Workouts w/Torn ACL

I have an ACL tear in my right knee that has kept me from participating in sporting activities. Due to my lack of insurance and money, this has been the case for the past year. I haven’t worked out in about a year as well and wish to at least train what is healthy and functioning properly. I’ve looked up information on this site as well as elsewhere online. I have been told to avoid all resistance training on my injured side but I have since regained all ROM for that knee. Am I safe to perform deadlifts and basically all single leg exercises that load the posterior chain but should avoid exercises such as squats or can all movements be safe with caution? I have seen responses say that they were able to perform all close-chain movements but am curious as to whether they injured any other ligaments in doing so.

Further information that you might find useful in answering is that I have no noticeable swelling and no pain in my knee anymore. I have complete ROM and only really notice something is off when I apply weight on my knee when it is fully flexed. I plan on following the Maximum Strength program by Eric Cressey but tweaking lower body days to remove unfriendly ACL movements. I would really appreciate anyone’s time to read this and all advice is welcome.

I am ACL defecient in one knee. I had partial tearing with a complete avulsion in 2002. I will sometimes have instability with rotation but as far as everything else is concerned I am doing great this far down the road. I am currently training for RAW Powerlifting and was very active in submission wrestling up to two years ago. I really am having no problems at all, I did pursue having surgery and the surgeon recommended I continue as I was since I was doing well without an ACL. He sid it was the strength of my leg muscles that allowed me to play as I was. Get your hamstrings SUPER strong.

You should know you do risk further injury to the knee without the ligaments stabilizing action but you will just have to be carefull and learn what you can and cannot do.

Fair enough. I will examine what feels comfortable and perhaps post a log. Thanks for the reply.

I have had 3 ACL reconstrunctions, some of my advice based on my rehab would be to definitely focus on strengthening the hamstrings, glutes and hip abductors. Avoid exercises that place shear forces on the knees, like knee extensions in open chain or squatting with knees going in front of toes. Would also incorporate some balance training to work on proprioception because you need to train the muscles surrounding the knee to provide the stability at the knee that the ACL did.

I have had my ACL and both lateral/medial meniscus repaired on my left knee so I agree completely with your advice. I currently have a torn ACL in my right knee and I was just curious as to whether people were able to train the injured side long term and not accrue further damage. Thanks for the reply.

No repair? Was the MCL and/or meniscus involved? What was the MOI?

My surgeon determined it was an ACL tear from the various physical tests(lachman, pivot etc.). He told me it seemed pretty obvious but said he never attempts to give a complete diagnosis without an MRI test and I have yet to get one. If I am not mistaken, your last question is how I injured my knee. The injury occurred while playing basketball but it was a combination of someone colliding with the side of my knee and the awkward positioning of my leg. There was minimal swelling and more of a cracking noise than pop. It definitely hurt like my previous ACL tear but I was able to put weight on my leg a limp to my friends car within 20 minutes and the swelling was mostly in the back of my knee and side.

its best to get the acl repaired, is it a partial tear or is it fully torn?, if its fully torn you need to get it repaired or replaced, i ran around and lifted weights for 10 years without an acl in my right knee and it led to arthritis in the medial region. if its just a partial tear then id just let it heal and brace it until it does. but really surgery is something you need to get if its fully torn or torn to fuck.
do what you can to get medical help or some form of coverage, even medicaid. you cant really be a serious trainee without health insurance, and some money to cover things. i think there should be more articles on this site on how insurance and funds for maintenance of the body is important. because were all going to get fucked up, well most of us. but seriously, i had to learn this shit the hard way.

I wish you God Speed and good luck, send me personal messages if you want to talk further. i know all about the arthroscopic surgery of the knee. and how to overcome it.