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  • Mick Hughes

Return to Training Following ACL Reconstruction

We often talk about setting benchmarks for return to running and return to sport for the ACLR athlete; but it can be a bit more challenging knowing when the ACLR athlete is ready to return to the training environment, and what things they can do at training.

There is no perfect way to go about this, and each athlete will have their own unique pathway back to return to training based on their competitive sport, but as a general rule for team sport athletes, these would be the standards I would set before the ACLR athlete started to participate in restricted training and unrestricted training.

Note the slight differences between restricted and unrestricted training.

Restricted Training

Unrestricted Training

For me, restricted training encompasses activities that the athlete has a high degree of control over and the task itself is largely predictable in nature.

For example, a fast run forwards followed by a planned 45deg cut to the right, or a fast run forwards to catch a ball without any defenders around.

For unrestricted training, the athlete is now being gradually exposed to more chaotic training environments and unpredictable drills.

For example, a sprint forwards followed by a 45deg cut to the right/left determined by a coach or a light; or being involved in small sided games with attacking/defending passages of play.

How do you manage the return to the training environment?

Would you do anything different?

What standards do you set?

If you would like to learn more about ACL rehab, consider signing up to Learn.Physio online ACL courses here


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