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Rebuilding legs after major injury

bigdog123

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Aug 8, 2007
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Double quad tendon rupture 14 weeks ago

I'm now back to doing 20kg dumbbell squats for 25-30 reps

physio said take it up 5kg a week so by July I'll be doing 40kg bells

prior to the injury I was squatting 495 for 12 reps .. I don't want to do this again for obvious reasons

can a guy rebuild big legs by using half the previous poundages?
 

alfresco

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First; sorry to hear about your injury.

Second; I am not a doctor but I am not short on opinions. Nor am I an ‘expert’ but
some here may have had previous experiences similar to or exactly like yours and we
should welcome their opinions. But no two people will have identical outcomes.
Some will be better and some will be worse.

A tendon reattachment is not like, as strong as, welding two pieces of steel together
so therefore there will be some compromise.

It is not impossible, but highly doubtful that you will be squatting the poundage’s
you were before (you have said that). Rebuild? A resounding yes. yes, but not to
the size or strength using half the poundage’s. While adding reps to a particular
weight / exercise is not a bad thing but there will come a point where muscular
hypertrophy and muscular endurance diverge and you will unavoidably be forced
to make a decision . . . do I add weight or not? You and only you with the guidance
of your doctor can make that decision.

Can your legs improve? Of course they can. Will they look, I am assuming you are
bodybuilder and not a power lifter, as good as they did before? Unlikely. Will they
ever be as strong as before, even if you were interested, again, highly unlikely.
You just don’t see any records set, be it size or strength by people that have had
an injury like yours. But nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong
(which is a frequent occurrence).
 

thethinker48

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There's honestly a very individual component here.

Branch Warren stepped on stage 9 months after a quad tendon rupture, and his leg size (while a little evident in change) wasn't that drastically different. That guy is an animal though, most people just rehab the leg for a year let alone step on an IFBB stage.

Evan Centopani went through the same thing, and he said it took almost a year to get back some proper functionality and strength before he was able to start doing stuff again, and he's back to squatting, albeit it took time and way more carefully now.

I would say, do your best with higher reps, and volume over poundages, and take it slow! Probably not a career for you, so no point taking excessive risk. I would also hit up guys who have had similar injuries (there's some on here), they will be able to tell you WAY more through personal experience than the average lifter with two fully attached and healthy quad tendons.
 

bigdog123

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Cheers for your replies

I also read that savikas did both patella tendons in 2001 i think and went on to win wsm multiple times. Tbh I'm 40 now and don't have interest in that so just doing higher reps is fine
 

danieltx

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Oct 30, 2014
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I echo thethink48's thoughts.

Tom Brady tore his ACL 10+ years ago and they said at the time he'd never be the same no matter how many squats he did, no matter how many sprints he ran, etc. We see how that turned out.

Zack Khan tore both patellar tendons on Hack squats around 2013. That pretty much ended his competitive career, but he still built his legs back close to what they were.

Those are examples of people very gifted at their sport, but the point is all hope is not lost.

You're not getting back to your former leg size with half the poundages, and may never get back there depending on age and other factors. But you can definitely build them back into a respectable body part. Put more importance on feeling the muscle work than ever before, pay extremely close attention to any signs your body gives you with them, ease back into the training, and I bet you'll get further than you think. The mind is our greatest limitation.
 

kandaandm

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Sep 19, 2004
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A big part of the recovery is age. It's more difficult for most to add leg size as you get mid to late 40s and beyond.

Keep it safe and progress a little at a time. Don't base it off of how you were prior to injury.
 

kandaandm

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Sep 19, 2004
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A big part of the recovery is age. It's more difficult for most to add leg size as you get mid to late 40s and beyond.

Keep it safe and progress a little at a time. Don't base it off of how you were prior to injury.
Now...4 years post dual quad tendon reattachment surgery I personally focus more on mind, muscle connection and form than I do weight.
 

jeroendebleser

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As usual when you're not one of the first people to respond everything has already been said but I think you should be able to pull it off as well and I wish you the best of luck in doing so!
 

Cv215

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Apr 24, 2020
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I think if you wanted to you could absolutely recover both leg size and strength. I say this because in powerlifting i see a lot of guys with tendon tears. They don't even let it enter their thought process that they might not get back to their original strength. All they think about it getting back to that strength and surpassing it, and in all the many cases ive seen personally its been done. Look at any elite level powerlifter. Throughout their career they've more than likely had one or two complete tendon ruptures and recovered and went on to break even more world records.

Doing your physio properly and having the mindset that you can and will surpass where you were previously at are the two key elements. And the third being patience.

Im not at all blowing smoke up your ass. Im just going by what ive seen.

I ruptured my distal bicep tendon like 3-4 years ago. For the first year or so it was weaker but only by a little bit. Now my left arm is significantly stronger than my right arm somehow and I'm even right handed. Super weird. That shit feels sturdy as hell.

I think shoulders and spine/neck stuff are a little trickier. Honestly if you don't let yourself be defeated you wont be.
 

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