oleksiy kononov

Rehabilitation of the knee after a torn ligament.

A 7-minute article about my experience of the knee recuperation after a cruciate ligament tear, without any surgery.
I see my reflection in the mirror, fully equipped and determined to do it... Another moment, and time will stop...
If you follow me, you are likely to know about the knee injury I suffered 4 months ago, a complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament. You can read more about this here.
I have made up my mind to keep my recovery process in the Blog, in the form of a case; I believe, my work will be useful to you.
I conduct my rehabilitation in 3 aspects:
Physical recovery, Psychological one, and Nutrition.

This article is the second in a series. It will highlight Physical Recovery. I will tell and show what exercises I did and explain why. I will share the results gained.

The goal:
. To get back to work | What I do on the stage, you can see here .

. Increase in muscle mass.
. Improvement of intramuscular and intermuscular coordination.
. Adjustment in performance technique.

Splitting the entire rehabilitation globally, I got 4 cycles:
Cycle 1. Panic.
This period of time can be summed up in the word Panic. When an injury occurs, the system of beliefs in you being a Superhero collapses, which is a must for daily performances on the Cirque Du Soleil stage:)

There was no powerful pain, but it was clear that the ‘car’ had been broken down, I could not fully straighten and bend the leg, it was painful to step on.

I brought up the question if it is possible to recover without surgery? And I began to look for confirmation of that idea in the first movements and exercises.
Goals and dreams are behind a fence of fears and doubts.
I completely rejected crutches, so the first training session began almost immediately after the incident. Getting into a taxi was a small challenge that helped fulfill a 20-minute walk to the theater next day. Such a stroll became a daily ritual for the following month.
Walking: 30 min.

I added bicycling to walking a week later. Pedaling was not so comfortable, I felt as if my knee clicked from time to time, but there was enough strength in my leg, and it gave me hope.
Bicycling: 15-30 minutes a day. Low intensity.

While waiting for the MRI results, we focused on one of goals set by physiotherapist Nathalie, i.e. to keep active muscles of the lame leg (Muscle Activation). Therefore, on the third day after the incident, we began to do passive exercises. These are: when a physiotherapist, acting as a simulator, creates resistance at different angles, and you fight in a lying position, involving only the necessary muscles.

Passive exercises: 3 times a week for 30 minutes + Ice throughout the day, all week, every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes.

The cycle result: I have restored walking. I retained the physical form and regained self-confidence.
Cycle 2. Let’s try to move.
When the diagnosis was clear, and we received confirmation from the Doctor that it was possible to recover without surgery, I moved on to training for balance, stabilization and strength endurance.
Joy ahead – pain behind.
Balance and stabilization are relatively simple exercises from the physical viewpoint, although they are complex in coordination. For example: standing on one leg and being shaken; stepping up from awkward positions; throwing or catching a ball while standing on one foot on a soft surface.

The purpose of the exercises: start restoring and strengthening the interaction between the brain —> muscles. How it works, for example: imagine you return from a party in the evening, put on your shoes, go out into the yard and see it is raining outside, the mood is good, and this fact only makes you elated; but stepping on a wet and slippery rung, you lose your balance, and then events will unfold depending on your physical preparation.

If the brain ‘makes close friendship’ with the muscles, the commands to adjust the movements will be instantly transmitted, and the body will maintain the balance, and you will keep Health. If not, you will scratch yourself from the steps. In my case, to prepare for a power block, all the muscles must work together in the right place at the right time.
Balance and Stabilization Exercises: 3 exercises x 3 sets of 12-15 reps. See exercises here.
I have also added strength endurance exercises to my program. These are classic squats and lunges, with your own body weight + special exercises with an emphasis on the knee.
The goal: to prepare the legs for the power cycle; to improve the performance technique.
Strength Endurance Exercises: 2 exercises x 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps.
Find these exercises here.

The cycle result: I have restored basic functions, walking, squats, easy running and prepared myself for gaining muscle mass.
Cycle 3. Alright, let’s go on the attack.
When the basic functions were restored, and self-confidence renewed, I moved on to gaining muscle mass and a special training.
The Strength Cycle – I used 2 basic squat exercises with a barbell and a relatively high intensity deadlift for me (i.e. a barbell weighing 70% – 80% of one repetition max, what it is – read here).

If you remember, one of my most important goals was to gain muscle mass, and these exercises fit perfectly. When you press a heavy barbell on the last repetitions, it feels like your ears are getting tensed :) The whole body is struggling with the weight. All resources are used. After a workout in this manner, the concentration of anabolic hormones in the blood increases to the maximum, which contribute to muscle growth. And you guess, that this is my goal.

There was 1 isolated exercise in my program as well, lying calf curl (in the training simulator) + lunges with dumbbells to increase the overall volume of the workout.

The Strength Block: 4 exercises. 3 sets of 8–10 reps. 70% – 80% of 1RM. 1-minute rest between sets.
Special training is exercises in the shape of a chair. The goal: to return special skills, correct the technique.

At first it was scary. The brain remembered the pain and rested on climbing into a chair figure, throwing ‘video clips’ of failures into my consciousness. How I resisted this, I will write in the following article when we talk about the psychological recovery.

And here I will say that I returned to the very basics, re-learned to swing, lean back and catch. All this is very specific and will be understood by the few Catchers in the World. Curious readers can see exercises here.

Special training: 3 exercises. 3 – 4 approaches.

The result of the cycle: I gained muscle mass (measurements of the legs were done weekly). I restored basic catcher’s skills.
Cycle 4. Who is a Good Boy? It’s me.
The palms get sweat again, the music sounds, under which the net is pulled, an immense swirling column of magnesia rises up. There is tension in the air. I see my reflection in the mirror, fully equipped and determined to do it... Another moment, and time will stop.

At a height of 12 meters in a state of weightlessness, in a dimension where time stops, my hands rest on my partner’s forearms, I feel reinforced concrete support in my legs and happiness. Breathing makes the chest rear up, the suit digs into the skin, and the very moment that I have been waiting for a long 8 weeks occurs. I catch and plunge into a dense and massive round of applause. I did it, I’m back on stage!
Wherever you are and no matter how life beats you, remember, there is always a way out. Believe in yourself, take sports discipline to your service and do with all sails in the world. And remember, you can always do more.

If the article turned out to be relevant for you, start acting, using my experience. If there are Friends who can benefit from this topic, share, we both will be grateful to you.

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  • Oleksiy Kononov
    Artist Cirque Du Soleil | Professional Athlete
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    Set Reckless Goals, Practice Smart.

    Believe in you and know you always can do more.
    Oleksiy Kononov