ACL Recovery Day 33

It’s been one month since my operation, and I’m definitely starting to feel the mental grind of going to the gym every day and doing the same exercises over and over again. One aspect of the workouts I’ve tried to change to make the exercises more fun is by gamifying sets. This means trying to get in a few more reps than normal, going to a higher weight, etc.

Since I have “graduated” from b-reddy’s one-month manual, I’ve stopped doing some of the exercises from his manual and moving to more technical and physically demanding exercises for strength and flexibility prescribed from my physio. Being able to squat with a 50-lbs weight has definitely helped with building my confidence that I will be able to build my posterior chain without too much pain or stiffness.

I’ve also changed the frequency in which I see the physio, so now I’m only seeing her 1/week on Monday mornings. She says many of the exercises I can do myself, and my dedication and commitment will determine how far I progress without see her as often as I should (to make sure I have enough sessions with my insurance to see her for at least 4 months post-op).

Exercises

As I said before, many of the “old” exercises from the 1-month manual have been phased out of my protocol. Straight leg lifts, side-lying leg lifts, active hip flexion, quad sets, etc. have been phased out and I’ll only do them as a warm up for the more physically demanding exercises. Many of these exercises are difficult to do even on my healthy leg:

  • Bike – I start at level 4 at my gym, and physio wants me to get to level 16 at her office tomorrow
  • Wall Squat or Squat – I’ll do the wall squat with two 20-lb weights which actually makes the exercises tougher on my core. The regular squat I’ll do with 50 lbs on my back and it’s difficult just because I’m trying to get equal force on both legs.
  • RDL – 4X8 with 50 lbs. Form on the RDL is much better now since I focus on shooting the hips back and shooting them forward.
  • Single Leg Press – 3X12. I do this on the leg press machine and am able to get to level 7 or 8. Comparatively speaking, my good leg is at a level 12, so I’m at 66% of full strength which is better than I thought. I still don’t get flexion to 90 degrees in between contractions.
  • Lunges – 3X10. This is a new exercise added from last week, and I step forward with each leg and lower into the lunge. It’s difficult when I’m stepping out with my left leg since my right leg doesn’t want to bend as much, forcing me to put more weight forward on my left leg than I should. Trying to fix this by making larger steps so that my right leg doesn’t have to flex as much.
  • Glute Bridges – May be phasing this exercise out since the strength stimulus is not very high compared to RDLs or squats.
  • Single Leg Squat With Weight – 3X10 with 10 lbs. This is one of the more difficult exercises since I’m training my knee to bend again and putting my entire body weight on the lift. It’s not a regular single leg RDL, since I’m bending the leg, but there’s still a lot of hip hinging involved.
  • Single Leg Calf Press – 4X8 at level 8. This is done on the machine, and much easier than doing a standing calf press/heel raise. Will mix this up this week between the leg press machine and standing.
  • Single Leg Squat With Opposite Leg On Bench – This is really a ROM exercise since I’ll put my right leg bent on a bench and lower with my left leg until I feel a stretch. Definitely gets painful since I’m doing active flexion.

Other things the physio asked me to include is massage the scar tissue and stair master. The scar tissue on the lateral side of my knee almost feels like a golf ball at times, so I’m constantly massaging to break up the scar tissue before it gets too stiff. I haven’t done the stair master yet, since I feel like walking up and down the subway and stairs at work have helped with the strength stimulus from walking and the cardio involved as well.

In other news, having more time at home has afforded me the ability to focus on fixing a broken Samsung LCD TV. Replaced a 2200 micro-farat capacitor (which I think was the issue) and also chipped away a lot of the gunk and glue that has melted on some of the power supply board. TV works for now, but will check tomorrow to see if it turns on again!

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