5 Exercises To Decrease ACL Injury RiskLeave a Comment
ACL injuries are one of the most impactful injuries in sports, often taking 9-12 months before an athlete can return to competition. Athletes who participate in change of direction sports such as soccer, basketball, and football tend to have the greatest risk of ACL injury.
Fortunately, what we have seen in physical therapy is that there are things we can do to identify athletes who may have increased injury risk and types of training that can be done to prevent an ACL injury. While there is no single exercise that can decrease ACL injury risk, research suggests that participation in a comprehensive ACL injury prevention program can reduce ACL injury risk up to 70%. Programs that show the most benefit are performed 2-3x/week during both pre-season and in-season training.
There are many factors that go into why an athlete may sustain an ACL injury. Programs that incorporate training for balance, strength, jumping, landing and agility will have the most benefit. Exercises can often be done as part of a team dynamic warm-up, incorporated into an athletes regular training program, or done at home. In addition to decreasing ACL injury risk, these exercises help develop strength and power to enhance sports performance.
1. Balance Single Leg Stance With Leg Movement
Stand on your left leg, resistance band around ankles. Stand tall and swing your leg out to the side and back while maintaining balance. Repeat 3 set of 20 reps on each leg.
2. Strength: Single Leg Squat
Stand at the edge of a step at home. Slowly squat down until your heel touches the floor and stand up. Repeat 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg.
3. Band Bridge
Lay down on your back with knees bent, resistance band around knees if available. Lift hips up toward the ceiling, squeeze your glutes at the top. Repeat 3 sets of 20 reps.
4. Jumping/Landing: Vertical Jumps
Stand with knees bent, hips and arms back. Jump up as high as you can. Bend your knees as you land to return to the starting position. Keep your knees apart as you jump and land! Repeat 3 set of 10 reps.
5. Agility: Skate-Hops
Stand on right leg with knee bent. Push off your right leg and jump up and to your left. Land on your left leg with knee bent and repeat back the other direction. Repeat 3 set of 10 reps each way.
These exercises are just a sample of some of the things that athletes or coaches could incorporate into their warm-up or training program to decrease injury risk and enhance sports performance. For athletes, Athletico’s ACL 3P clinicians are also able to do an individualized assessment to tailor a program specific to their needs. For coaches, Athletico’s ACL 3P clinicians can work with their team to help design a specific warm-up or training program to help keep athletes on the field and at the top of their game.
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