3 Tips for Preventing ACL Tears | STACK Basic Training

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

3 Tips for Preventing ACL Tears

February 1, 2013 | Featured in the Winter 2013 Issue

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

In 1988 Steven Svoboda played offensive guard for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During the first play of a game against Colgate University, he felt the “pop” in his knee that all athletes dread. He tore his ACL.

Today as the team doctor for all West Point athletics, Lt. Col. Svoboda is leading research to identify factors that indicate a predisposition for ACL injuries. His goal: to one day be able to identify at-risk soldiers and athletes before they get injured, and to create custom workouts that prevent those injuries. From his experience in the field, here are Svoboda’s top tips for preventing an ACL tear.

Pay Attention to Details

“Some people can lift a lot of weight, but they aren’t gifted with coordination,” Dr. Svoboda says. “Staying soft on your feet, using correct form and landing with your knees bent can help you avoid many different types of injuries.” Next time you go for a run or try a plyo workout, focus on little things like launching off the balls of your feet instead of your heels and keeping your knees from bowing in during landing, so good form comes naturally during a game.

Strengthen Your Core

What does core strength have to do with knee injuries? More than you think. “There’s some early evidence that shows if your core muscles are weak, you’re putting your weight-bearing extremities at risk of injury,” Dr. Svoboda says. Core exercises like Planks, Squats and Leg Raises aren’t just good for improving performance; they can actually help keep you healthy and on the field.

Lose Weight

“Any extra weight around the waist can throw off a person’s center of gravity and increase their risk of injury,” Dr. Svoboda says. Soldiers marching with a rucksack don’t have a choice about carrying around an extra 50 pounds, but athletes do. ACL injuries often happen when weight shifts too quickly, and those few extra pounds could be the difference between a minor injury and a season-ending ACL tear.

Dustin Brady
- Dustin Brady is the Web Manager at STACK Media and an avid runner. He received his bachelor's degree in communications from Pensacola Christian College in...
Dustin Brady
- Dustin Brady is the Web Manager at STACK Media and an avid runner. He received his bachelor's degree in communications from Pensacola Christian College in...
Must See
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 4,093,103
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,552,164
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,768,138

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,466
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,478
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,723
Load More
Workout Like a Solider


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,368
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,988,602
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,504
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,175,033

Load More