Strengthening Leg Before ACL Surgery

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by spaceman82, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. spaceman82

    spaceman82 Yellow Belt

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    I'm scheduled to have ACL surgery in about a month and want to do everything I can to strengthen my knee and leg before going in so that I have the best chance of a quick recovery possible. I've gotten a list of leg lift exercises from my physiotherapist, but looking through some past threads on here, I've noticed that some people do a little bit more to prepare their leg/knee and are better off for it. Any suggestions for things to try and/or avoid? Thanks!
     
  2. Hagelslag2

    Hagelslag2 Brown Belt

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    I don't know about training before surgery, but I know proper training after surgery really helps. Then I'm not talking about some exercises given to you by a physiotherapist, but pretty hardcore strength training with a knowledgeable personal trainer, even just a few weeks after surgery. If you have the time and money, that would be a worthwhile investment.
     
  3. corpse

    corpse Bannned

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    search for isometrics for rehab/prehab and listen to your therapists. don't overdo it.
     
  4. Sano

    Sano Red Belt

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    Whoaw, slow down.

    TS, I've just been through ACL surgery myself and am now 5 months into the recovery. I am also studying to be a PT.

    Increasing, or maintaining, leg strenght is important before surgery. You should stick to what you PT tells you and perhaps to the exercises you are already comfortable with. Remember, technique, form and control will mean everything in the next few months. Two primary concerns going into and after ACL recontruction is the hamstrings and the vastus medialis(part of the quadriceps). The hamstrings hold your shin in place, which is a common problem with ACL injuries and the medialis/quadriceps let's you extend your knee, which can become an issue after surgery.

    More importantly, what you do after the surgery matters a great deal. You will probably get some BW exercises, like knee extensions on the floor, ab/adductor, hip, hamstring and glute workouts. At first they will seem ridiculously easy, but as you will soon experience, hardly being able to bend your knee or straightening it, or walking even, will let you appreciate the difficulty.

    Don't overdo it and don't bend your knee more than the allowed range, but don't slack off either. Follow the programs and do the work everyday, even if it takes time. At all costs, listen to your PT. Have patience, the strenght will come back.

    For all that is holy, do NOT go crazy with "hardcore" exercises a few weeks after getting surgery(especially if it's reconstruction). It will jack up your knee even more. The recovery stage is important for your future. Remember, control and discipline.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Hagelslag2

    Hagelslag2 Brown Belt

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    Hardcore was probably not the right word, more like intensive. As in, actually working out multiple times a week.
     
  6. Sano

    Sano Red Belt

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    Sure, then I agree.

    The plan I got from the hospital was a daily training program and then when the inflammation and swelling went down, a few weeks later, I started slowly direct rehab a few times at the hospital and then about a month in 2-3 weeks each week at a rehab center, up untill now. I don't know how it works it other countries, but all was given to me by PT's and paid for by the government.
     
  7. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

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    Bodybuilding work focused on hamstrings and quads. Eat as much as humanly possible. If a time traveling drug dealer had gone back to two months and offered steroids to pre-reconstruction me, future me would be like "do it son"

    You're going to have a forced deload immediatley after surgery, so literally as much volume as you can handle up until the day of. Hopefully delayed transformation will help to offset atrophy.

    Some more info- My reconstruction was a hamstring graft, and I focused the 2 month period going from having slacked off on lifting completely to to deadlifting every day with the puny weights I could handle. My surgeon and PT were both pretty jazzed at the increased health and strength of my hamstrings prior to surgery, and I've spent a LOT of time thinking about how I could have done it better.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
  8. spaceman82

    spaceman82 Yellow Belt

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    Thanks for the help, everyone--especially Sano1 and selfcritical! I'm definitely not planning to overdo it, especially after the surgery, but do want to do everything I can to make a quick and full recovery.

    I should mention that I'm in South Korea and don't really have ready access to a lot of great physiotherapy, which is why I'm trying to get outside help with possible exercises. What I've been given so far is basically a worksheet that says to lift my leg six inches off the ground, from a sitting position, 30x a day, etc., up until the surgery. If that's all I need to be doing, I'm fine with that--but I get the impression that most PTs provide more extensive pre-surgery workouts to follow.

    selfcritical, would you be willing to go into more detail about the exercises/sets/reps you were doing (or wish you had done) and any adjustments you made to avoid exacerbating the injury to your knee? It'd really help me out.

    Thanks again to everyone!
     
  9. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

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    I had a clean ACL tear, so technically as long as I didn't have any "slipping" I could have squatted, but I was physically uncomfortable doing them. I did straight power to the people as soon as I was cleared for the ROM for a sumo deadlift. So I started with the bar and 10lb bumpers, did two sets of 5, and added 5-10lbs every day. If i was feeling especially fresh, I would do 3 or even 5 sets of 5 instead of 2. I did this EVERY DAY. I lost strength rapidly after the accident, and hadn't been lifting for 6 months. I went from being scared of 65lbs to 225lbs from the beginning of august until the end of sept.

    In retrospect, I would have done assistance work every day, waving volume, and probably jumped onto the 6 day version of juggernaut as soon as I was able.

    Assistance work would have included
    -romanian deadlifts for volume
    -hamstring curls for volume
    -terminal extensions.

    I did the proscribed isometric work every day, but I ran my resistance training by my PT, who is a sports specialist.
     
  10. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

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    Hypertrophy ranges, so 60-80 percent, 5+ reps, lots of sets. View your isometrics as assistance you can do away from the gym.
     
  11. spaceman82

    spaceman82 Yellow Belt

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    Thanks, selfcritical! The detail really helps. I'm headed into the gym tomorrow to get started. I'm planning to start off with deadlifts and hamstring curls and then add in squats and romanian deadlifts later if it feels right.

    By the way, did you take any days off at all, and if not, did you find your body handled doing 60-80% every day okay? I'm willing to put in the work--just don't want to have it be too much and end up being counterproductive.

    Thanks again!
     
  12. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

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    I was doing straight power to the people and starting with a very light weight, so I didn't take any days off, because at the beginning the weights were incredibly light, and at the end I didn't give a fuck about overtraining (I'll recover just fine when I'm stuck in bed 12 hours a day). If I had known my percentages I would have had more recovery and a high-lo structure.
     
  13. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

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    With less than a month you could probably do something on the level of Smolov and still not manage to overtrain too badly. As long as an individual days intensity doesn't prevent you from training in the following days, jut pile on the volume and eat like an asshole.
     
  14. spaceman82

    spaceman82 Yellow Belt

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    Will do, thanks. I got started yesterday and definitely didn't feel comfortable with anything more than a small amount of weight. Still, it felt so good to get back to doing physical activity and I felt stronger afterward. Gonna push hard, eat hard, and see what kinds of gains I can make in the next month.
     
  15. ironwolf

    ironwolf Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    Lots of good advice here. I've had 2 acl surgeries but I was lucky to be able to get them fixed very quickly after the injuries happened.
     

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