Strengthening Exercises for PCL Injuries

Basic exercise which may be used as part of a rehab program for a posterior cruciate ligament injury.

The following is for information purposes only. Always seek professional advice before starting any rehabilitation programme.

Static Contraction Exercises

Static quads seated

  • Contract the quadriceps muscles and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Relax for about 3 seconds and repeat 10 to 20 times.
  • Place the fingers on the muscle towards the inside of the leg above the knee (vastus medialis muscle).
  • It is important that this muscle is developed and this one should be felt contracting whilst performing the exercises.

Static quads standing

  • As above but performed in the standing position.
  • This exercise is performed from phase 3 onwards of the post surgery rehabilitation programme.
  • These exercises should be performed on a daily basis.

Static quads over roll

  • Place a paper roll or towel under the knee and perform static quadriceps contractions as above.

Static hamstring holds

  • Lie on your front or stand upright.
  • Bend the knee to about halfway up.
  • Hold in that position for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Repeat 1 to 3 times daily.
  • Progress by increasing duration of hold and number of repetitions.

Later Stage Exercises

Calf raises

  • Simply raising up and down on the toes, keeping the legs straight.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions daily.
  • This exercise can be progressed later in the rehabilitation process by doing single leg calf raises and then single leg calf raises without leaning against a wall or holding onto anything.

Hamstring curls

      • These can be done initially against a wall with no weight, using rehabilitation band, and eventually with a specialist weights machine.
      • Curl up against resistance and down again in one smooth movement.
      • Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
      • As strength increases and resistance increases then more recovery time may be required between sessions.

Quarter squats

        • Squat down to about a quarter of the way down and return to the starting position.
        • Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
        • Progress this by going down to half way (Phase 3 of rehabilitation) and then full squats (to horizontal) in the sports specific stages.
        • Increase the intensity by adding weight.
        • Ensure stomach muscles are kept firm when performing squats.


        • Standing one leg in front of the other as shown.
        • Bend the front leg to lean forwards and return to standing.
        • Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
        • Increase intensity by adding weight.
        • Ensure stomach muscles are kept firm when performing this exercise.

Heel drops

      • Standing on a step or similar of up to 6 inches in height, bend one leg so the heel of the other almost touches the floor and return to starting position.
      • Repeat until the muscles feel tired.