Knee reconstruction....what exercises?

Hi guys,

just had my knee reconstructed ie replacement of the ACL ligament using an Allograft.

Anyway I am back in the gym doing upper body exercises and have been doing the rehab for the knee.

I cant load the leg atm but I was wondering if anyone had some good exercises that dont involve loading the knee that can work on my posterior chain in some way.

I have thought of doing seated good mornings but I cant really come up with anything else.

I am 11 days post op if that helps. I want to do whatever I can without affecting my knees recovery so i cant run or load it yet…but that will change in a few weeks.


Maybe give some single leg work for the other side a try, remember the bilateral crossover effect (It’s seemed to work for me at least, no probs with imbalances).

Examples - single leg Hyper/GHR. Maybe Hops/jumps on uninjured leg, when you start to regain range of motion. But be careful!

An alternative way of looking at it is to use all your energy for upper body now (so should progress faster here than when training full body), and hope for some crossover to lower body (seemed to happen for me also), and then go to maintenance level on upper when you return to full workouts for lower body.

I had one of the worst knee injuries ever, my self. But then one thing I want to tell you. Don’t rush it. Take your time. I liked the static work. Extend and staticlly hold. Different exercises an different angles. Static work gives you the full extension sort of loading which does come into saving u from injuring your self later.

i’ve had an ACL replacement so i know what your going through! make sure you continue to stretch the hamstring and calf!

start with simple exercises, like a prone hip extension, DON’T RUSH IT!

i was playing touch football within 4 months of my operation, so it can be done.

Agree with last 2 posts also, rehabilitation exercise is no1 priority at all times.

Well, let´s keep this thread up because after the 4th game between Minessota and Lakers i guess O´neal (from Lakers ) will need this soon…

Derek Woodske, Canada’s top hammer thrower, came back from a major knee reconstruction and has written a bit about it. His website is , I think there is an article on there about it, and you can find his email on it and ask him.

EMS. Skip the neural cross-over stuff. Work on getting a full ROM back. That’s most important right now. Protect the graft as much as possible. Any meniscus repair?

Lots of methods to recovery…

If you were doing specific strength training for that knee before the op I would expect you to recover pretty quickly, if you weren’t then I’d be asking your doctor why this was not recommended (because in the majority of cases it helps significantly).

During rehabilitation there are basically two variables you should be concerned with:

  1. Range of motion
  2. Mechanical strength of muscles surrounding the knee joint

Your aim is to increase both variables as much as possible. There are numerous methods of achieving this as others have pointed out – manual resistance, isometrics, static holds, medical grade exercise equipment etc and your choice depends on what you have available – your PT should help you out with this.

Whichever you choose make sure that you:

  1. Increase the force of contractions smoothly and slowly – both when contracting and relaxing the muscle (e.g. work up to full contraction/relaxation over about 2-4s)
  2. When moving dynamically through the range of motion, keep you movement smooth and steady (do not jerk). This can be usually be achieved by timing your repetitions so they last 4-10 seconds in each direction.

As others have pointed out, even if you cannot load the knee joint it is important to exercise the muscles of the ankle/calf and hips so they don’t end up atrophied and unusable. Try dorsiflexion exercises with rubber bands or against manual resistance, seated calf raises (if you can do them), good hip extension machines, sit ups or anything else that uses the hip flexors/glutes – such as lower back machines.

If speed of recovery is important to you and you have the money to spare I suggest you look for a MedX clinic in your area equipped with the Medical Knee Machine – there is a list here.

Good luck, I’m sure you will be back sprinting in no time.

Like my man here, I just had my acl replaced. My question is how long did it take for some of you to recover from this. My biggest problem is range of motion and it has been 5 months, but my athletic trainer says I’m getting close.
Please reply

Answer some questions. Anything else repaired along with the ACL? When you say you have loss of ROM, is it in ext or flex? What have you been doing since the surgery rehab wise? Give us some numbers as far as degrees of flexion and extension with the injured and the non-injured knee.

I loss both but I pretty much have my flexion back. My problem is extention. As of right now my right leg is at -3 degrees at normal. My left leg (injured knee) is at +1 at normal. My atc’s work on my stability, explosion, flexibility, etc. They (my therapist’s) say that I have extra scar tissue in my knee. Also my doc said that I had some extra pieces floating in their and also that I am developing arthritus in that knee. So basically instead of an 45 min easy prosedure it turned into 90 min but he said it went well and that my shin (they drilled thru my shin to get to everything). As of right now, I am at 5 months of rehab. I heard that alot of football and track athletics take about 6 to 9 months.
Please respond, Thank you in advance

Highlander, +1 is too much, and at 5 months post-op there is not much more to be accomplished without a second surgery. How do you get measured, prone or seated with your quads contracted? Do you have equal mass bilaterally in your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves?


They measure me with my foot elevated about 2-3 inches off the table. I do have just about equal strength in both legs. My left hammy is now stronger than my right and my left quad is at 80-85 percent to my right as far as strengthwise. (They test me on the cybex strength testing machine). As far as mass goes my left leg is getting bigger and is close to the same mass wise (calves, hams, quads). It’s funny you should mention that there isn’t too much more they can do because they just told me to go seek a 2nd opinion because of problems with my rom. The doctor is at Michigan State and he is a D.O. He is a former a.t.c. and he specializes in rehab and is also a former student of
Dr. Shelborne (aka-Marshall Faulks surgeon and team doc to Indianapolis colts and Univ of Purdue). I just called to make an appointment. I apprieciate your comments, Thank you in advance