ACL Exercises … your next step to getting back on the ice

Okay, so now you have that pesky swelling out of there and you can bend and straighten your knee – maybe not all the way, but it is definitely feeling better. You are walking around and it feels pretty good as long as you don’t get into one of “those” positions where it feels unstable.

So what’s next?

Your first priority is getting your hamstrings firing. As I explain in the video, your hamstrings are a key dynamic stabilizer of the knee and when they are strong enough and SMART enough, they can take strain off your ACL. Again, it is all explained in the video.

If for some reason you can’t see the video above – maybe your cat is sitting on your computer… save this link and check it out later >

So how do you get strong and SMART hamstrings?

You want to work them in different ways, your hamstrings cross both your knee and your hip, so you want to put them in a position to both flex/control extension at the knee and extend/control flexion at the hip.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curls

– will help with the knee flexion/controlled extension while teaching you to use your glutes and lumbar extensors to stabilize your hips and torso. It is a tough one, start with 8 reps for a count of 3 up and 3 down (3030).

Single Leg Stiff Legged Deadlift

– you worked on your single leg balance in the first phase of your recovery, so now it should be pretty good. If it is still shaky, then you better leave this one out for a week or two. This one works your hamstrings and your glutes in a closed chain pattern, which means your foot is anchored to the floor. Start with 8 reps on each side for a count of 3 up and 3 down (3030).

Hip Drive

– this is an awesome exercise that will get your glutes and hamstrings working together to generate a lot of force. You are in a stable position for this one, so you will be able to really load it up as long as there is no pain.

A little secret…

These are great phase two recovery exercises if you tweaked your ACL, but they are also some of our bread and butter exercises in the gym for building strong stable hips and reducing your risk of ACL injury, so even if your knees are feeling awesome – give them a try.

All of these should be pain free. If you are experiencing pain, stop right away and check with your physiotherapist.

Be smart, remember you cannot force that ACL to heal faster, you can just give it the right environment to heal.


PS – I have two other progressions to help you get back on the ice after ACL tear – if you want me to share them, just leave a comment below and I will post them for you in the next day or two.