Hi, I'm Stephanie.
Food blogger, food lover, runner, yogi and reality TV junkie.
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Tag Archives: Fitness
Week 12 Post Op
Friends. We’ve made it. Week 12 Post Op. It’s pretty incredible to look back on the past 12 weeks and see how much progress I have made in only 3 months. I’ve gone from not being able to walk without a crutch or brace to being able to take SoulCycle to getting back on the treadmill. The human body is pretty cool. The past 3-4 weeks have been a “danger zone” for my new ACL and i’ve had to remain cautious during this time as my new ACL was very weak during this time period. My physical therapist explained that my new ACL was transforming from the Patellar Tendon that it was into a ligament. PT has been a great workout the past week and it leaves me pretty tired after the hour long session. I will still be in PT 2x per week until the end of July and then I will be going down to 1x per week.
- Elliptical- 5 minutes to warm up
- Single Leg Squats- 30 each leg
- Double Leg Squats on the Bosu- 30 reps
- Inchworms- 3 laps
- High to Low Boats- 30 reps
- Walking Lunges- 3 laps
- Lateral Lunges- 30 reps each leg
- Mountain Climbers- 3 reps of 45 seconds
- Foam Roll vs The wall- 3 reps of 45 second holds, Both Legs
- Step Ups- 18″, 30 reps each leg
- Curtsey Lunges- Using TRX for support, 30 reps each leg
- Exercise Ball Plank to Hip Hike Up- 30 Reps
- Single Leg balance with Weight- 30 reps
- Goblet Squat- 15 pounds, 30 reps
- RETURN TO RUN PROGRAM!
Outside of PT I am staying very active by going to yoga classes at Core Power Yoga. I was only taking HPF (Hot Power Fusion) which is a set sequence class and once I felt strong enough I graduated to my favorite class C2 which is the level 2 vinyasa flow class. I take about 3 yoga classes per week. I also fit in a few spin classes at studios around Chicago. I usually take 1 Soul Cycle class per week, 1 FlyWheel class on the weekend (which leaves me BEYOND sweaty as you can see in photo below) and then another class at the gym or the new studio in the West Loop, CycleX.
I’ve added swimming into my regular workout regimen and I’ve found that swimming is a good way to spend 30 minutes exercising that won’t leave me completely exhausted. I start triathlon training in a few weeks but for now I am focusing on my Return to Run Program. This program has 3 workouts per week and builds the amount of running time on the treadmill form 30 seconds and adds 30 seconds to each run rep every exercise day. I started yesterday with 5 reps of 30 second runs and then walking for 4.5 minutes in between. It tests my patience but that seems the be the theme of ACL Recovery all together.
In 4 weeks I am going back the doctor for another check up. I also can start jumping at 16 weeks post op. This road to recovery is long but only gets better every week. I’m beyond grateful that I have made it to 12 weeks post op and can focus on the next stage of my recovery.
9 Weeks Post Op
Well it’s been 9 weeks post op from ACL Reconstruction Surgery. This week I have been focused on getting better flexion (bending) in my knee. My measurement as of last week was 130 degrees and my physical therapist challenged me to a flexion of 140-143 degrees by the start of Week 9. I successfully made it to 140 degrees. I’ve started back at Core Power Yoga doing Hot Power Fusion classes. Between PT twice per week, Yoga, and spin classes… I am beyond busy getting my knee back to pre-op strength.
- Heel slides on table with stretching strap- 30 reps
- Hamstring Stretches- All directions, 30 seconds each direction
- Inchworms- Walk hands out to plank then walk feet behind hands- 3 laps up and back
- Single Leg Sit to Stand- Both legs, 30 reps
- Balancing Knee to Opposite Elbow- 30 reps while standing on Airex pad
- Squats to 16″ Block- 30 Reps
- TKE- Total Knee Extensions with resistance band- 30 reps
- Step Ups to 14″- 30 reps each leg
- Side Step Downs- 30 reps
- Front Step Downs- 30 reps
- Wall Sits- 3 reps of 30 second holds
- Walking Lunges- 3 laps up and back
- Stationary Lunges- 30 reps, each leg
PT hasn’t changed too much this week, but we did add lunges and frontal step downs. These exercises are prepping my knee to be able to run in 3 weeks!! I’m getting pretty antsy to go out for a run because the weather has been so nice lately. Next week I am cleared to use clipless pedals and shoes which means I can officially go back to SoulCycle and FlyWheel classes! I am also entering the time period where my new ACL is transforming from a tendon to a ligament, so I have to be extra careful.
I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Chris and I will be celebrating our 1 Year Anniversary on Sunday! This past year of marriage has flow by even with the hiccup of my ACL tear in February.
8 Weeks Post Op
It’s officially been 8 weeks post op. 2 months. That’s insane. The past two months have been some of the most difficult moments of my life thus far (first world problems. I know). I’ve spent days in bed icing my knee, learned how to walk again, regained much needed strength in my hamstring, calf and quad and improved my confidence in my operative leg. 4 Weeks ago I was able to stop wearing my brace full time and now I am looking ahead to 4 weeks from today and being able to start running again. This past week I spent a lot of time at the gym doing PT exercises, upper body strengthening and core work, took 2 spin classes (cage pedals only), and took my first yoga class post op. I am limited in my yoga capabilities but it felt amazing to spend 90 minutes going through the Bikram sequence. My Core Power membership is currently on hold until next week but I cannot wait to get back to CPY and take some HPF classes and gradually add in C1 classes to build up to C2’s.
My PT schedule was taken down to 2x per week instead of 3x which means I am making progress. My extension is perfect and I can bend my knee to 127 degrees which is something my PT and I are working on improving. To improve my flexion, my PT gave me the exercise of heel slides on the floor with a stretching strap around my heel. I lay on my back and bend my knee, then pull my knee towards my glute to bend my knee, then once I reach my max flexion I hold for 5 seconds. I am assigned to do this exercise 2x per day for 15 reps each time. I already feel my knee loosening and allowing more flexion just from this exercise.
- Hamstring stretching: 30 seconds, all directions, both legs
- Calf stretching: 30 seconds, 3 reps
- Hamstring curls on exercise ball: 30 reps
- Lateral Step downs: 30 reps
- RDLs (Roman Dead Lifts): 30 reps, 7.5 lbs
- Single Leg Sit to Stand: 30 reps, both legs
- Step Ups: 14″, 30 reps, both legs
- Heel Slides (as described above), 30 reps
- Planks: 3 reps of 30 second holds
- High to Low Boats: 30 reps
- Forward Reaches on One Leg: 30 reps, both legs
- Elliptical: 5 Minute warm up on days I have PT, 30 minutes on days I do not
- Spin Class/Stationary Bike: 45 minutes on days I don’t have PT
A lot of my PT involves utilizing my core for stability, so I have always added in core strengthening to my workouts as soon as I could after surgery. The next few weeks I will be adding in more and more exercises to my PT program in hopes of strengthening my leg for week 12 (running). I am officially cleared to go down stairs again but I am required to always use the handrail just in case I misstep or get clumsy…
It’s weird to look back at my progress and remember how desperately I wanted to be able to bend my knee just to make a full rotation on the stationary bike or how I would avoid drinking water during the night because I didn’t want to have to get out of bed and attempt to walk to the bathroom the week after surgery. In 10 months I hope to look back at this and feel gratitude for all that my body is capable, but also that my mentality was positive and confident during this process. Most people would say I’m crazy for wanting to ski again after tearing my ACL skiing in February, but skiing is something I am passionate about and have been since I was 4 years old. I may not be the daredevil I once was, but I hope that this process will strengthen and condition me to get back to the slopes again.
7 Weeks Post Op
Here I am. ACL Reconstruction 7 weeks later. It’s hard to believe that next week will be 2 months post op. There are days where it feels like my surgery was forever ago and other days that feel like I was just in the operating room. My knee is feeling pretty good these days. I am going down to PT 2x per week starting next week because I am looking stronger each day. My balance is improving and I am capable of doing more things. I still cannot run, jump or use the stairmaster but HEY, who likes the stairmaster anyways?
I do miss running though. I am only 5 weeks away from starting to run again. These next few weeks are busy for me, so hopefully time just flies by and i’ll be at 12 weeks post op in no time.
- Hamstring curls on the workout ball, 30 reps
- Wall Sits, 3 reps of 30 second holds
- Single Leg Sit to Stand, 30 reps each leg
- Weighted Roman Dead Lift (RDLs): 30 reps each leg
- Squats: Wall squats, squats on the flat side of a bosu, squats to a chair: 30 reps
- Side Steps: 3 laps down and back
- Leg Extensions: 30 reps
- Elliptical: 5 minutes to warm up for PT, 30 minutes at the gym
- Stationary Bike: 45 minutes on days with no PT
- Balancing Exercises: Single Leg balance on bosu:3 reps of 30 second holds, each leg
- TKEs with resistance band, balancing on one leg: 30 reps
- Step Ups: 14″ block, 30 reps each side
- Single Leg Bridges: 30 reps, each leg
- Downdog– LOTS of DD
PT hasn’t changed much aside from taking away balance aids, adding weight or minor increases to intensity. My leg is feeling stronger, and my muscles are slowly returning. You can still tell that my right leg is smaller and weaker but it has come a long way the past 7 weeks. I even was able to take a spin class at my gym last weekend. I was sore after but I kept up and was proud of my progress. I see my doctor tomorrow morning and I am looking forward to seeing what he thinks of my progress and what I will be cleared to start doing again. I am hopefully going to take a PAWs benefit spin class at Studio Three this Saturday afternoon, so I really hope he clears me to use clip in shoes (which are required by this studio).
As I have said several times throughout this series of recovery posts, this injury has helped me to listen to my body and slow down in general. I still love to plan and have things to do, but I can also take an afternoon for myself and just chill.
6 Weeks Post Op
It has officially been 6 weeks post op from ACL surgery. If you’re just tuning in now then check out my road to recovery the past few weeks, start with week 1. Week 6 has brought about less tightness in my knee (except in the mornings), less painful scar tissue, increased PT exercises and a halfway point to running (week 12). I am staying active in PT 3 times per week and going to the gym on days I don’t have PT. This upcoming weekend I am attempting my first spin class with restrictions of no clip in shoes, no standing and no giving 100%. I’m fine with all of these as long as I can start getting back to my normal level of fitness. Post PT and after harder workouts I am still needing to ice and take ibuprofen occasionally when the pain or discomfort gets to be a bit too much. My brace is no longer used very often- except when I am in extremely crowded situations, but when I am running errands, out to dinner or just walking around the city, I do not need it. Next week I have a check up with my doctor, and I am interested to hear what he has to say about my progress.
- 5 Minute Elliptical Warm Up
- Hamstring Sets: Single leg, 30 reps on the exercise ball
- Hamstring Curls: Both legs, 30 reps on the exercise ball
- Side Steps: Using Resistance Band, 3 Laps- up and back
- Hamstring Curls: Using the Cable Tower Machine, 5 lbs
- Single Leg Standing Cross Balance: Reach for targets across my body, 30 reps each leg
- Single Leg Balance: On soft side of Bosu, 30 Second holds, 3 Reps
- Inch worms: Walkout to plank then step legs to meet hands, 2 Laps- up and back
- High to Low Boats: 30 reps (yay yoga)
- Squats: 30 reps always, Variations: Squat to seat, Squat to seat with resistance band around thighs, Wall squats with exercise ball against back
- Leg Press: Single and double leg, 30 reps each
- Bridges: Single leg, 30 reps each leg
- Step Ups: 12″, 30 reps each leg
- “TKE”s: aka Total Knee Extensions, using Band around knee to pull back
- Single Leg Squats to Sit: 30 reps each leg. OMG THIS IS SO HARD
- Balance while throwing a Ball at a Trampoline: There is no good name for this. Essentially I stand facing one direction with a mini trampoline facing my side and balance on one leg atop a foam pad while throwing a weighted ball at the trampoline then catch it. Both legs, Both directions, 30 reps. This is also SO DIFFICULT.
Physical Therapy has become significantly more difficult the past two weeks. As you can probably tell from my list, I am adding new exercises every session. Some take longer to complete than others and some are more difficult than others. Nothing has been painful.
I am able to make a great workout out of core, arm and PT exercises at the gym and also add in some cardio on the elliptical or stationary bike. There are days that my knee feels a little off or funky, so I take those days easier to rest my knee more. This injury has helped to retrain my brain to take more rest days and listen to my body more. The day I tore my ACL I felt my knees becoming tired after almost a full day of skiing, but instead of listening to what my body was telling me I just powered through the pain. Not smart. As I am trying to stay positive about this injury and recovery, I can take what I am learning and move forward to a healthier life.
Five Weeks Post Op
It’s been five weeks post op from my ACL reconstruction surgery. If you’re just tuning in and want to catch up just check out my recaps of the past few weeks and start here. It’s been a bit boring up until week 4 but things are starting to look up. I rejoined my gym in the West Loop and now have more motivation to take my PT exercises and workouts to the gym. It’s not just to have a reason to leave the house to take care of my body. I use the stationary bike for my cardio and the free weights, exercise ball, medicine ball and ballet bar for my PT exercises and upper body work. I’m hoping to be able to take a spin class (no clip in shoes) in the next week or so. I am also hoping to be cleared for swimming soon.
- Hamstring Curls with resistance- 30 reps
- Calf Raises- 30 reps
- Balance on foam pad on 1 leg- 3 reps of 30 second holds
- Balance on foam pad on 1 leg while throwing and catching a ball thrown against a trampoline- 3 directions, both legs, 30 reps. THIS IS SO HARD
- Walking forwards and backwards- 3 reps along length or room. Backwards w/ resistance
- Wall Squats w/ exercise ball- 30 reps
- Single Leg Presses- 5 chords, 30 reps
- Hamstring Sets on Exercise Ball- single leg, 30 reps
- Side steps with resistance band- 3 lengths of room, up and back
- Donkey Kicks w/ resistance band- 30 reps
- Clams- 30 reps both sides
- Calf Stretches
- Hamstring stretches
As you can probably tell, my PT exercises have increased in difficulty. I am definitely not bored any more and I can feel my leg muscles getting a good workout. My knee is slightly sore after PT, so I ice for the next half hour after PT.
- Get to week 6 and add in the elliptical! YAY cardio
- Continue going to the gym 4x per week, and exercises at home for other days
- Get rid of brace for outdoor walks and crowded events. This confidence will take a bit to build. I am still very cautious of everything and everyone.
- Improve balance. This is an ongoing goal. The foam pad trampoline ball throws is so difficult, and I would like to improve my balance for this exercise.
- Stay positive. So important for recovery.
Looking back on the past 5 weeks it is crazy how far I have come in a seemingly short amount of time. My surgery seems like ages ago, but I still have so far to go to get back to the level I want to be at and then surpass that level. This recovery has helped improve my patience and my love/appreciation of my body. The amount of atrophy in my right quad alone was terrifying and at first I wasn’t sure how I would ever gain back the muscles I lost. Now my quad is still smaller than the left but it’s growing and continually getting stronger. I have paid special attention to my diet to ensure I am getting enough protein to fuel my growing muscles and to take care of myself through this crazy time.
In 2.5 weeks I going back to the doctor for a check up on my knee. I am very interested to see what he thinks about my progress and how I am doing. Until then, I have week 6 to look forward to. I’ve never been more excited to get on the elliptical than I am now.
Four Weeks Post Op
I’ve officially made it to Four Weeks Post Op! This is my first of many milestones in my ACL recovery process. My pain has gone down significantly this week and my swelling has continued to go down as well. My scar is definitely visible but really is not as bad as I expected. It looks pretty good. Week 4 means I no longer have to wear my brace all the time and I can start adding more exercises in to my physical therapy regimen. I rejoined a gym and now spend my workouts doing my PT exercises and then on the stationary bike (elliptical can start around week 6). I am hoping to add swimming soon. The past four weeks have tried my patience and constant need for movement, but I made it here in one piece (and continuing to heal). Another few weeks until I am “out of the woods” as my physical therapist refers to, but if these next few weeks go by as quickly as the first four did then I will be at my next milestone in no time.
- Double heel raises- 75% weight on bad leg, 25% weight on good leg. 30 reps
- Single Leg Raises- 3 lb weights on ankles, 30 reps per leg, every direction
- Hamstring sets on exercise ball- 30 reps
- Hamstring Curls w/ resistance band- 30 reps
- Quad Sets against the wall- 30 reps
- Clam Shells w/ resistance band- 30 reps on each side
- Side Steps w/ resistance band- up and back along a line 2x
- “TKEs”- 30 reps of extending my knee backwards while hooked to a loose resistance band
- Balancing on 1 Leg (bad leg)- 3 reps of 30 second holds
- Stationary Bike- low low low resistance, 30 -45 minutes on days without PT, 20 minutes on days with PT
- Strengthen Quad in bad leg
- Improve balance. I NEED to get back to yoga but that is not possible with how terrible my balance is right now.
- Work towards adding stationary bike resistance and hopefully get to a SoulCycle class sooner than later. (fingers crossed but not hopeful until week 8-12).
- Start swimming
- Work to get rid of brace at all times. I am cleared to not wear a brace at all times but I should wear it while in public and especially in crowded places so I don’t get bumped into or knocked over.
- Work out the painful scar tissue using massage and general movement
- Take Hank outside for a walk. He isn’t the most calm dog in the world (he’s a 21 month old golden retriever) so I will need my brace for this 100%.
On days I don’t have PT I am spending 30-45 minutes working on my abs, upper body and incorporating my PT exercises. I have focused on my core a lot throughout these weeks because I know that the core is a stabilizer and helps tremendously with balance. Because my good leg has been compensating a lot for my bad leg, I didn’t want to throw out my back or tweak anything on the good side of my body. If I feel anything funny or painful in my knee I immediately stop. I’ve also incorporate upper body yoga that can be done while sitting or standing in tadasana. I am not a medical professional though, so always consult your doctor before starting or trying anything new.
Throughout the week I have been working out a lot and also have been out and about more than the previous weeks. On Wednesday I won tickets to Hamilton via the Broadway Direct lottery, so I enjoyed an afternoon matinee. I was very lucky and my ticket was in the front row, so I didn’t have to worry about my knee being bent for a long period of time. I did have to navigate through a large crowd and was very cautious of my knee. This experience was a great reminder of why I am wearing my brace.
I am so happy to have made it to this milestone and it only makes me eager to get to the next milestone (6 weeks). Recovery has tested my patience but also taught me to slow down significantly in life.
Namaste. (& happy belated Easter).
Three Weeks Post Op
It has officially been three weeks post op and I am feeling better by each day. For those of you stumbling upon this here is my backstory in a TLDR format: I tore my ACL skiing in Utah and had a patellar autograph ACL reconstruction three weeks ago. I am only utilizing a crutch when I am out in public places and I’m starting to feel stronger on the stationary bike. My swelling has gone down a little bit and my incision is healing. Things are looking up. It’s been tough to stay positive all the time about this surgery. If you are reading this because you recently tore your ACL or had surgery then please know that your attitude will carry you through this. Yes this sucks. Yes you will be changing your life. No your life is not over. Stay positive and power through your PT exercises. There is a reason almost everyone you talk to will tell you that you will walk away from this injury stronger than you were going into it.
- Extension: 0 degrees
- Flexion: 100 degrees on Friday 4/7,
- Quad Sets- 30 reps
- Heel Slides on the wall, 5 minutes
- Single Leg Raises w/ 2lb weight on Left (good leg) and 1lb on Right leg- Both legs, all sides, 30 reps/leg/side
- Hammy stretching using a stretching strap
- Clam shells- 30 reps using a resistance band
- Single Leg Calf Raises- 30 reps, good leg only
- Single Leg Bridges- 30 reps, good leg only
- Stationary Bike- 10-15 minutes
- Left Leg (good leg): Single Leg bridges, calf raises, 30 reps each.
All of these exercises are part of my PT script written by my doctor. Always consult your doctor before doing anything post operation. I am definitely NOT a medical professional.
I feel strong while I am at PT and the exercises I am doing are helping to strengthen my leg and loosen up my knee. There are still random pops and crackles in my knee but none of which are painful. The next photo is a comparison of my two legs at approximately three weeks post op. The scar isn’t too bad at all. Sorry if you’re grossed out by this sort of thing. You can sort of see the atrophy in my right leg. I miss my muscles.
- Increase flexion range of motion (ROM). Get to 120 degrees.
- Continue stationary bike- increase ROM to make this exercise easier.
- Be able to turn the computerized stationary bike on… i’m slow.
- Get rid of brace! Week 4 means I can stop wearing my brace all the time. I will need to bring it with me to PT but otherwise I want to work towards being able to stop using this brace constantly.
- Continue PT exercises at home. Doing the same or similar exercises daily can become monotonous, so keeping up my motivation has become a goal.
I have been able to maintain a fairly active social calendar throughout the last week. I met friends for brunch at Hampton Social on Saturday which was an absolute blast. Cue stereotypical basic photo below.
Chris and I also went to the American Heart Association Heart Ball at Navy Pier on Saturday night. This gala was a black tie event, so I was fairly nervous of how my brace and sneakers would look with my long gown. It ended up being a huge hit and most women that noticed my shoes told me how jealous they were that I could wear comfortable shoes. I was able to get around on my crutch (which I brought to ensure no one bumped into me in a crowded setting) and had no problems navigating through the hundreds of attendees or tables.
Onto week 4. My first big milestone week.
Days 1-3 Post Op
I’ve made it through surgery and now have the daunting task of recovery and rehabilitation. I went into surgery on Wednesday March 22nd around lunchtime. I wasn’t too terribly hungry before but I did have to stop eating and drinking at midnight the night before surgery. This article: Days 1-3 Post Op , will break down surgery day, coming home and what the first few days entailed. If you’ve got ACL surgery ahead for you then please use this as a means to relate and to rest assured knowing that so many other people have done this before. We can do this.
Chris and I arrived at the hospital (we luckily live 10 minutes away, so the commute wasn’t something we had to worry about), and checked in with the front desk. Within 10 minutes I was back at my patient bay getting my IV and answering a the same round of questions for my nurse, and several other doctors, PAs and nurses. This time went by slowly, but within an hour and a half they were wheeling my back to my OR. I don’t remember much after the anesthesia kicked in and in what seemed like no time I was back awake. I devoured two packets of Teddy Bears and two Apple Juices. The pain was kicking in and I started my pain meds. I was able to change back into normal clothes and didn’t have to mess with this insanely large brace or ice machine under it. After an hour or so, Chris was able to take me home.
Days 1-3 Post Op:
Day 1 post op was a bit of a blur. Lots of pain meds, Food Network (I love napping to any show on the Food Network) and sleeping while running my ice machine 24/7. Chris made pasta from Blue Apron for dinner, but I barley had an appetite to eat much at all. Then I fell asleep at 8pm. What a day.
Day 2 was filled with much more pain. I took my pain meds to the full amount allowed. In the middle of the night, my body would wake me up an hour before my pills were due because of the pain. It wasn’t fun. If you’re currently on this day then please know that I feel for you and send you my condolences. It sucks. No way to sugarcoat it. Lots of sleeping otherwise. 3 rounds of PT exercises at home when I was able to muster through the pain and exhaustion. PT exercises were: 10-15 reps of quad sets, heel slides, ankle/heel pumps, and leg lifts. 3x per day. My quad is firing pretty well, but with my leg locked in extension in a brace 24/7 I am having a hard time bending my knee (flexion).
Day 3 brought much less pain. I still slept a lot, but I was also able to stay awake enough to watch full episodes of TV shows and have conversations.I was able to shower today and to reduced my pain meds. I even had a friend over. We watched mindless TV which was perfect. I love Bravo. More rounds of PT exercises, constantly utilizing my ice machine and also adding in the CPM manual machine. I’m a fairly boring person these days.
The most important thing to note is that the pain does get better. I felt like there was a balloon inflating inside of my knee on either night 1 or 2 (they blur together at this point), but sleep does help. Sleep has been the biggest aid of all. My body clearly needed to sleep A LOT the first few days and I allowed my body to do so. Yes I fell asleep a few times while trying to watch a TV show with my husband, but giving your mind and body permission to fall asleep is the biggest favor you can do yourself. I also set alarms throughout the night to take my medicine. I read about many people falling behind on their pills and then waking up in intense pain, so I wanted to stay ahead of the game and avoid this.
If you’re just starting the ACL reconstruction journey then welcome. I just went through what I expected to be the scariest part of the journey and came through just fine. It’s not going to be easy from here, but it will get better. My positivity will help make sure of that.
Prehab Before Surgery
The article ACL Road to Recovery touched on the subject of my torn ACL and my now ongoing journey to repair and rehab my knee. This article focuses on Prehab Before Surgery. Once most people find out I tore my ACL the questions start of:
- How are you moving without crutches?
- Does it hurt?
- How can you still do yoga/spin class/pilates/anything?
- Why are you in PT now??
The prescription of physical therapy prior to surgery was not a question from my doctor. He explained (in more complex terminology) that once you tear your ACL that the hamstring and quad freak out and lose strength. Essentially all of the chair poses/squats in sculpt I was doing were washed away. I had to retrain my right quad and hammy- hence PT. Prehab has been tough both mentally and physically.
- The first week we focused on firing up my quad and learning how to walk normally. Walking normally had a direct correlation with my ability to fully straighten my leg. My knee needed to reach full extension again. After this was reached we worked on flexion (bending) of my knee.
- The second week of PT we worked on balance, step ups on a block similar to a large stair and firing up my glutes.
- This week we are working on more squats, balancing while reaching out for an object, weighted extensions and more glute/hammy engagement. PT is hard but it’s worth it.
The exercise we work on most is called a Quad Set. It’s essentially sitting with both legs in front of you, and engaging your quad to press the back of your knee down towards the ground. Once your knee presses down your heel lifts up off the ground. The first week my PT had me doing this with a towel under my knee to feel my knee press into something. Since the first week she has slowly taken the height of the object under my knee down. I can now fire my quad to press my knee down without anything underneath it. This was a huge accomplishment for me.
Outside of PT I am utilizing my fancy new spin bike at home while watching YouTube spin classes. I also have taken a few spin classes at FlyWheel and SoulCycle. Both are super difficult and a great workout. I also feel fantastic while in the class and after. I always take necessary modifications and don’t push myself past my limit. At the last FlyWheel class I took I knew that I needed to stop standing in the saddle at a certain point because my knee was starting to ache. Instead of standing with the rest of the class I did those sets while seated on my saddle. No big deal at all.
Mentally I have revised my ego in workout classes. I am not ashamed of taking modifications during classes and am proud that I am able to even workout in the classes with my knee in the state it is currently in. I have taken several Hot Power Fusion classes at my favorite yoga studio, Core Power Yoga. I have taken this set sequence so many times that I knew that I was able to participate in almost all of the class with a torn ACL. I also knew that the last 10 minutes of class are spent stretching the knee and doing postures while standing on the knees. I never do these postures and am 100% content to sit on a block in a seated meditation. It’s my version of the poses and I am proud.
This has been my “prehab”. A lot of PT, spin classes, yoga and a few pilates classes. I am able to move, workout and strengthen myself physically and mentally. I am able to know my limits and take my body where it needs to be and no further. Yes all of the work I am doing is going to help, and in less than a week I will be back at square one. After this surgery I will be starting over, but by going into surgery strong as I can be, my road to recovery will hopefully be a little bit easier.