It’s that time of year, where high school athletes are returning to their sports after a summer of relaxation. The best way of avoiding injuries, especially at the knee, is to prevent them through training. The goal of an ACL prevention program is to avoid vulnerable positions, increase flexibility, and increase strength. Stretching, plyometrics, agilities, and muscle stabilization exercises can accomplish this if done at least 3 times a week.
Begin with a 5-10 minute jog to get your muscles warmed up and ready for exercise, which greatly reduces the risk of injury. Make sure you run forwards to activate the extensors, as well as backwards to work the glutes and hamstrings.
Each muscle group should be stretched to a point of maximal tension, avoiding ballistic or jerky movements. They should be held for 30 seconds to maximally lengthen the muscles.
Begin strengthening on a flat surface and as neuromuscular control progresses, switch to an unstable surface. Emphasis should be placed on posture and correcting form.
- Walking Lunges, 2 sets 10 reps
- Stationary Lunges in all 3 planes, 2 sets 10 reps
- Single Toe Raises, 30 reps, 2 reps
- Single Leg Squats, 15 sets, 2 reps
- Squats against wall with bosu ball, 15 sets, 2 reps
- Lateral Hops over Cone, 20 reps
- Forward/Backward Hops over cone, 20 reps
- Single Leg Hops Over cone, 20 reps
- Skipping, 15 sets, 2 reps
- Shuttle run with forward/backward running
- Diagonal run
- Bounding run
If knee pain is still felt, then please do not hesitate to call the office and have it evaluated by a trained physician. With my Masters degree in Sports Rehabilitation, I have a thorough understanding of the process that leads to ACL tears and how to properly rehabilitate the area.