When it comes time to start doing higher level activity during an ACL rehab, many protocols suggest running before jumping. While light jogging might seem innocent when first initiating the activity, there needs to be more foundational training assessed to determine if running is warranted. First and foremost, we want to make sure the body is able to handle more rigorous activity by testing strength and other variables. But, the reason why we have a tendency to teach landing and jumping techniques before running is multi-factorial. Running is a series of controlled jumps that propel you forward. You need to have some type of introduction to jumping, landing and absorbing forces prior to running.  

Running Mechanics

If you break down running mechanics, both feet are never on the ground at the same time. The knee has to bend to absorb the forces the ground exerts upon your leg. It is a series of single leg squats that create forward propulsion. You NEED to be able to adequately absorb forces and produce force quickly in order to run with adequate technique. This requires a combination of strength and proprioception. Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense where it is in space.

Why This Matters

It is important to work on strategies for absorbing force prior to getting back to running so there are no setbacks. If a client is unable to adequately bend their knee or understand where their body is in space, it could lead to additional swelling or knee pain. This will set a client back because now we have to address the swelling and pain to get back to their baseline. Additionally, if you return to running with poor mechanics from not practicing jumping, this could increase the chance of an injury. The last thing we want is a setback during this rehabilitation, especially when it can be avoided. 

The MANA Difference

At MANA Performance Therapy we provide a unique, individualized plan for clients in order to achieve their goals. We have the luxury of giving our clients 100% of our time for an hour. Consistent communication with our clients is a cornerstone of MANA Performance Therapy. This allows us to make sure our clients are improving outside of the clinic. We have the knowledge and collaborate at a high level to push our profession forward and to provide quality care for our clients. A client can expect to work on force absorption strategies prior to running because it is a necessary step to being successful. Check out some our videos below demonstrating force absorption and creation movements.


Jumping and training force absorption strategies are a MUST before returning to running after ACL reconstruction. Running is a series of single leg jumps that move you forward and therefore it needs to be trained before getting back to running. There may be setbacks such as increased knee pain or swelling if you are not practicing this before running. Let us know if you have questions on how to integrate these strategies into your rehabilitation!

Free ACL e-Book!

Do you want more information on what is needed to feel confident in your ability to be ready to return to running? Fill out your information below to receive your ACL e-Book! This e-book goes over the testing that we utilize with our athletes to determine if running is an activity they can return to.