This is the one injury that no athlete or coach ever wants to hear about: An ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tear. For years it has been synonymous with shorten careers and shattered dreams. But recent developments in surgical procedures and rehabilitation protocols has significantly improved an athlete’s ability to return to sport with full functionality. Although it is not the career ending injury that it once was, ACL tears still remains the most common sport injury, especially among female athletes. Interestingly though, it is also quite preventable.
Most ACL tears occur due to two primary reasons:
- Strength Imbalances (Weak hamstrings/Dominate Quadriceps/Weak Core)
- Poor Movement Mechanics (Improper Foot Placement/Force Transfer)
Proper strength training is essential in preventing ACL injury, especially in activating and strengthening the lower posterior chain (glute/hamstring) in removing muscular imbalances. Developing solid movement mechanics is the next step. An athlete should place emphasis on turning on the balls-of-the-feet and not planting the heels into the ground. Lastly, proper recovery from sport and training will add to the longevity of performance while promoting injury prevention.
The Romanian Deadlift and Single Leg Hip Raises are excellent exercises to strengthen the posterior chain.
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