Prehab (3) ACL Tears: Strengthening Exercises
I’m done warming up and practice is over, what are some things I can do in the weight room?
The best preventative ACL programs are multifaceted incorporating a combination of strength, plyometrics, agility, balance, flexibility, & feedback components. Strength exercises should focus on using body weight or force production through sport specific movements, plyometric training should use repeated jumping from various obstacles or bounding variations, agility exercises should have a fast change of direction such as the pro-agility drill often used in professional combines, balance should have different variations to eliminate different body systems such as sight, & dynamic stretching should be performed.
The third section of our ACL prehab series is focused on strength training for ACL injuries. Here we want to make sure our major leg muscles are generating enough force against either our body weight or an external source (weights or bands) to support the tissues around the knee. The key to these exercises is making sure they are related to sport specific motions to ensure that our prehab training transitions well to the various movements that we will be making on the field.
One of our favorite sport specific strengthening exercises to combat ACL tears is Diagonal Lunges. Normal lunges can be used to strengthen primarily our quads & hamstrings, however, by doing them diagonally we are also strengthening our hip adductors & abductors. Furthermore, sport specific motions commonly occur in diagonal patterns such as cutting & pivoting so we would like to replicate this action in a functional training manner.
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