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Acl tear and exercise

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by nagofdc, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. nagofdc

    nagofdc White Belt

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    So I tore my ACL (PARTIAL TEAR to be exact) in the spring of 2008 while playing rugby in college. Unfortunately, because I don't have health insurance I haven't been able to have reconstructive surgery or rehab.

    I'm still relatively fit and I do quite a bit of biking for my legs' strength/cardio. Overall my affected leg is relatively strong, but not nearly as strong as it used to be (preinjury i was leg pressing 650 lbs). Over the years my legs have gotten a bit smaller, particularly the affected leg, as my calf and lower quad region (the area right above the knee) is noticeably smaller.

    Does anyone have any experience working out with a torn acl? I understand I can't go back to the heavy days of lifting, but are there any exercises I can do to put on a little muscle SAFELY and/or strengthen my legs? Right now my body looks kind of odd because I'm have a slightly larger upper body (even after cutting out quite a bit of lifting).

    I'd appreciate any productive advice.

    Thanks folks
     
  2. Shpala

    Shpala Orange Belt

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    I've had problems with knees for some time, and the way I see it, walking up the stairs is the best for the whole joint, and ligaments in it.

    Just don't push it, don't hurry it up, don't overwork it, be patient and walk it up , not run it up.

    If you have that kind of machine in your gym, do it for like 5-10 minutes on each training.

    After a while increase the speed and duration.
     
  3. pliftkl

    pliftkl Green Belt

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    Does it hurt to squat and deadlift?

    I think with good form you could probably go pretty heavy before the ACL comes close to being the limiting factor. The ACL is far more important as an injury prevention ligament in sports than it is in the simple bending of the knee.
     
  4. big_john127

    big_john127 Profess¡onal Lurker

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    This is pure bullshit. You have many days of heavy lifting still in front of you.

    Learn how to squat. Do it a lot. Use proper form. Leg press is not the same as squatting. This will make such a difference in how your knee feels it's not even funny.

    I've squatted 515 without either acl, dl'd 585 without either acl, flipped a 700lb tire 5 times in 23 (or so, I don't remember exactly) without either acl etc. If you squat enough you don't need them.

    Good luck with your knee troubles, and squat!
     
  5. 89vision

    89vision White Belt

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    Boo leg presses. Read the FAQ.
    http://www.sherdog.net/forums/f13/strength-power-faq-v2-0-a-1339105/

    You are wrong, you can lift heavy. You can squat and deadlift just fine with a partial tear. Mine was completely blown and I had zero knee pain from squatting in a progressive routine for 5-6 months. I only got stronger and the knee felt more stable.

    Several people here have past/current injuries. Search. I had a log for my training this year prior to surgery. http://www.sherdog.net/forums/f49/89s-ss-before-knife-1228712/
    It isn't very long because I was logging on paper before that, and I had surgery in july. Hamstring graft ACL replacement.
    I received some helpful advice from big_john127 and read his log here:
    http://www.sherdog.net/forums/f49/woe-knee-knee-rehab-after-my-double-acl-replacement-939254/
    He had the same surgery over a year ago, and is fully recovered. He attributes his recovery to heavy squatting before and once safe to again after surgery.

    Read the FAQ, start a real program, and squat! I started very light on squats because of the lack of ACL, I wanted to have very good form. ZERO knee drift.

    Getting surgery is not necessary. A doctor will tell you this, it just depends on your goals. If you have no plans to do any cutting sports or serious combat sports, then surgery probably isn't worth it. I tore mine doing judo, and I quit doing things that would cause the knee to give out. When it gives, cartilage is damaged which is not a good thing. I want to do judo, bjj, and soccer again, so I chose to have the operation. You can do these things with your torn acl, they are just higher risk.

    Whether or not you plan to have surgery, strengthen your leg with squats and deadlifts. It make life better, and your knee. If you decide to have surgery try to avoid having the knee buckle, cartilage damage must be repaired during the operation and will make recovery longer.
     
  6. nagofdc

    nagofdc White Belt

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    Hey Big_John,

    So you've done all those feats without either ACL? Do you experience any pain or swelling as a result of performing these exercises? How long have you been training like this?

    If I was to start lower body lifts again, how does 3X15 (for squats/lunges and RDLs). I'm not interested in lifting heavy like I used to because I'm not competing anymore. I just want to stay fit. Appreciate the advice man.

    Oh yeah, what about the hypertrophy of your legs since tearing you ACLs? Any difference with the training?
     
  7. milano

    milano I am the Walrus

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    I tore my ACL in 2008. I got lazy and stopped going to the gym but I could have and should have.

    Basically you should avoid all open chain kinetic exercises, which are exercises where your foot isn't on the ground and is free to move (leg extensions and leg curls.

    Closed chain kinetic exercises are fine though. So that means you can squat, deadlift, clean, snatch and pretty much every other useful exercise. Lift heavy, build up your quads and build up your hamstrings and you might not even need surgery.
     
  8. big_john127

    big_john127 Profess¡onal Lurker

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    Partial tear of the right acl in highschool. Got it tightened with a heat probe in '01. This was the coolest new technique at the time, but it turns out it kills the tissue after a couple of years. The doctors don't think I have an acl but they don't think the joint is unstable enough for reconstruction. I wish I had just rehabbed it at the time and not had the surgery.

    Full tear of the left at some point during college. Finally popped it again two years ago playing racquetball. Went to the doc and had surgery scheduled. After that point, but before surgery I completed everything I mentioned above.

    I didn't notice a whole lot of pain and swelling, and my knees feel substantially better all of the time when I'm squatting regularly.

    I would advise against the high rep sets for knee health. You want to keep your volume low, but your tonnage high. I'm doing the 5/3/1 at the moment, but the 5x5 works just as well. You end up doing at most 30 reps vs. the 45 from the 3x15. It takes a little longer, but it totally worth it.

    I don't really understand what you mean by hypertrophy here. My thighs are thicker than my waist is about the only response I can think of that might be helpful.
     
  9. J Storm**

    J Storm** Banned Banned

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    why oh why did nature give man such a shitty ligament to brace our knees?? i partially tore my ACL and it lasted about a year before it completely blew out. based on my own experience i'd find a way to get it fixed asap over anything else.
     
  10. pliftkl

    pliftkl Green Belt

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    What astonished me more than anything else about my ACL tear was the fact that we still fix ACL's via tendon graft. It seems like in the 21st century that you could replace an ACL with something much stronger that would have similar stretch properties but which would simply not break.
     
  11. Mumrik

    Mumrik Silver Belt

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    Or woman rather. They're several times more likely to blow out their cruciate ligaments than men.
     

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