Almost 7 months ago I tore my left ACL. You can read the entire story on my previous blog posts of Part 1, 2, and 3. So here I am on my own path doing my own strength and rehab. I have really surprised myself with what I have been able to do without having the surgery, which I'll go into in a minute. My knee is not perfect and even though I haven't been doing any traditional rehab, you would probably never know that I am missing something. The one thing that I did have to give up was Krav Maga because the stability of my knee just wasn't ready for the lateral movements and unpredictable forces. Things could change in the future, but as of now everything feels strong and steady. Here are a few things I have been doing in order to regain the strength of my knee without any surgery.
I immediately started doing Single Leg Squats using a TRX or Rings for support in order to slowly strengthen the muscles around my knee. I continued doing Single Leg Dead Lifts and Kettlebell Swings, however, I was not able to fully lock out my knee so I used lighter weights at first until the swelling was gone. I went ahead and filmed Volume 3 and participated mostly in the upper body sections. Then I had a few MAT (Muscle Activation Technique) sessions with Elise Badone, to make sure that my muscles were firing correctly. Once I went through that, I decided to get some outside training for myself so I could actually schedule it in my day. All fitness professionals can use a helping hand when it comes to their own training. Otherwise I end up putting myself last and then my strength training doesn't happen like it should. So I started taking some classes with my husbands personal trainer, super strong Max Shank. He believed in me and had me doing Single Leg Squats on a raised mat along with Dead Lifts using an Olympic bar. Of course we did all kinds of other strength related exercises but the key is that I set a personal record while taking Max's classes. On my left leg (torn ACL) alone, I was able to Single Leg Deadlifted 140lb for 2 reps, my weight being 111 lbs. This took place 5 months after the tear. I was also told that I wouldn't be able to do a Pistol until at least a year after the injury, but I did 2 pistols holding an 18lb kettlebell. Not a big deal compared to before, but a big deal for a tear in the knee. The knee did feel a little sore after the Pistols, but amazing after the Single Leg Deadlifts and all the 40kg Swings I was doing with Max. Even though I knew that I had the inner strength it took someone else to push me safely like that and to give me the confidence to do so.
Another amazing thing is that I have been able to snowboard two different times since the injury and felt wonderful afterwards. I really thought my favorite sport was gone for the next few years. Being able to experience this despite the injury has been such a blessing. I even took a Gun Defense seminar using many of the Krav Maga fighting skills and the knee felt great.
I just want people to not jump so quickly into surgery if they don't necessarily have to. Get second and third opinions from athletic doctors. If you have the time to take off and rehabilitate yourself for many months or you're a professional athlete that has no other choice, then go for it. If you are like me and don't have the time to go through hours and hours of physical therapy and despise invasive methods, then you do have a chance of fixing it on your own. I'm proof. You can also continue to enjoy the things that you love. It hasn't even been a year and I have been able to do so many things. There might be changes in the next few years, but as of now I'm happy with the knee and will continue working to keep it strong and mobile.
Torn ACL update
I'm a fitness, strength, conditioning & nutrition coach that was put here on earth to change peoples lives. I focus on quality of movement, which has helped many people become pain free and strong! My favorite workout tool of choice is your own body weight and adding a kettlebell. Moreover, any tool that helps with strength and quality of movement is incorporated. Fitness is only part of the puzzle to have the happy and healthy quality of life people strive for. With my educational background & experiences nutrition, lifestyle, exercise and a positive mental attitude are all a focus. I design online nutrition & exercise programs as well as create fitness DVD's and videos so people can use my style and methods all around the world. I'm the creator of the "Ultimate Body Sculpt and Conditioning with Kettlebells" series "Baby Bells" DVD, along with The Kettlebell Body, Lightning and Kettlebell Revelation. Being a mother of 4 I know how hard it can be to make health a priority. I truly enjoy helping everyone from all walks of life reach their dream fitness goals to enhance quality of life. It can be done!!!