The effects of different rehabilitation training modalities on isokinetic muscle function and male athletes' psychological status after anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions

Sofien Kasmi, Dorsaf Sariati, Raouf Hammami, Cain C T Clark, Mokhtar Chtara, Amri Hammami, Fatma Zohra Ben Salah, Ayoub Saeidi, Omar Ben Ounis, Urs Granacher, Hassane Zouhal

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Background: Previously, researchers reported performance enhancements following long-term plyometric training in athletes with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (LCA). However, the effects of combined eccentric and plyometric training on measures of isokinetic strength and psychological statues in male athletes have not been examined yet. Knowledge on the effects of combined eccentric and plyometric training help to better plan and program rehabilitations sessions and thus return-to-sports. Objective: This study sought to compare the effects of three different rehabilitation training programs, eccentric training (ECC), plyometric training (PLYO), or combined eccentric and plyometric training (COMB), on psychological measures (kinesiophobia [TSK-CF], functional knee assessment, knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score [KOOS], international knee documentation committee 2000 questionnaire [IKDC], and knee flexor and extensor isokinetic muscle performance (peak torque [PT], total work, ratio [R-HQ], and ratio of total work [R-TW]) at different angular velocities post ACL surgery in male elite athletes. Methods: Forty elite male athletes from different sports (e.g., athletics, team sports) with ACL reconstruction participated in this study. The study started after a 14-weeks post-surgery rehabilitation program, which was identical for all subjects. After this initial rehabilitation period, athletes were randomly assigned to three experimental groups, ECC (n = 10), PLYO (n = 10), and COMB (n = 10), and a control group (CON: n = 10). Testing was conducted pre- and post-the 6-weeks intervention period and included the TSK-CF, KOOS, and IKDC. Peak torque of the knee extensors/flexors was tested at 90, 180, 240 °/s, after the 6-weeks training program only. Results: Participants’ adherence rate was 100% across all groups and none reported any training or test-related injury. No significant between-group baseline differences (pre-6-weeks intervention) were observed for any of the reported psychological and muscle strength parameters. Significant group-by-time interactions were found for TSK-CF (p = 0.001, d = 2.85), KOOS (p = 0.001, d = 1.31), and IKDC (p = 0.001, d = 1.07). The post-hoc analyses indicated that COMB showed larger pre-post improvements for all psychological variables (p < 0.001, d = 2.95 to 13.15), compared with PLYO, ECC, and CON. Contrast analyses demonstrated that COMB yielded significantly greater improvements compared with CON, PLYO, ECC for all isokinetic parameters at all three angular velocities (all p < 0.001, d = 0.99 to 4.61). Conclusion: The results showed that COMB induced greater gains for measures of psychological status and isokinetic muscle strength compared with single-mode PLYO and ECC in elite male athletes during a post-surgery ACL rehabilitation period. Accordingly, it is recommended to implement COMB as an effective rehabilitation means to improve knee function in male elite athletes. Trial registration: This study does not report results related to health care interventions using human participants and therefore it was not prospectively registered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Early online date27 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2023. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data..


Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. The authors acknowledge the support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Open Access Publishing Fund of the University of Freiburg, Germany.


  • Kinesiophobia
  • Injuries
  • Muscle strength
  • Neuromuscular training
  • Athletic performance


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