Adelaide forward Riley Thilthorpe is preparing to return to the field in top physical condition, after fully committing to developing his upper body over the past four months.

The 21-year-old was sidelined on the eve of the season after suffering a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, which required surgery.

Unable to run, Thilthorpe channeled his energy into the gym, completing an arduous conditioning program that has him bigger than ever before.

Speaking to AFC Media, Thilthorpe revealed the extent of his physical progression. 

“I really bought into the gym over my recovery, especially developing my upper body with the knee being out of action,” Thilthorpe said. 

“I was gymming my upper body about four-to-five times a week, constantly picking the brain of our High Performance guys and giving it absolutely everything, it was a very solid period of work. 

“Overall I ended up putting on around four kilos, which has been pretty cool, I’ve never had to stop running like this before so, it was the first time I’d solely focused on the gym side of things.

“We’ll wait to see how it goes in game, where hopefully I will really reap the benefits of the work, but I’m really happy with how I’ve gone.”

It is not just in the gym where Thilthorpe has developed.

Forced to watch his team from the sidelines for the first half of the season, Thilthorpe said there were many mental challenges but he had managed to overcome them.

“We’ve had some highs and lows this year, so it has been pretty tough watching on the sidelines and being unable to help out,” Thilthorpe said. 

“I’ve put a big emphasis on making my presence felt through this time, getting around the boys as much as I can, and helping with anything that’s been needed. 

“Over this period I’ve learnt a lot about myself, I’ve reflected a lot about the player I want to be, the teammate I want to be, so I can’t wait to get back and implement that.”

Thilthorpe saw the fruits of his labor last week, as he returned to full contact with the main group. 

“Being back around the boys again, having a kick out on the oval and feeling some body contact in the drills, it was something I’d definitely missed over the past few months,” Thilthorpe said. 

“Nothing beats being back out on the park kicking the footy with your mates, and getting to show off my aerial stuff against a few of the boys, it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to keep getting out there and improving with every session.”