With more than 100,000 ACL tears occurring annually in the United States, every program should incorporate some form of ACL injury prevention. I recommend performing a proper warm-up with mini-bands.
Although every athlete should perform a Dynamic Warm-up before training or competition, I advise including mini-band ACL injury prevention exercises in your routine on a regular basis. These exercises engage the body's neurological system and activate the glutes, which help prepare the lower body for athletic movements. Weak or inactive glutes can result in poor alignment between the hips, knees and ankles, causing excessive force across the knees. If the force becomes too great, the ACL can be damaged.
When performing the mini-band exercises above, it's critical to assume an athletic stance—knees bent with chest and head up—to ensure your body is in a position similar to game-time. This way, when you are in competition, your muscles will readily fire in these positions.
You should feel no pain during any of the exercises. If you experience pain, immediately stop and consult with your athletic trainer or strength coach.
- Lateral Band Walks With Band on Ankles — 1x10 yards
- Lateral Band Walks With Band Above Knees — 1x10 yards
- Lateral Abduction and Adduction With Band Above Knees — 1x20 yards
- Mini C Walks Forward With Band Around Ankles — 1x10 yards
- Mini C Walks Backward With Band Around Ankles — 1x10 yards
For more information on the ACL please see the STACK ACL Guide.
Photo: endeavorfit.com, glorthopedics.com
The founder and owner of Athletic Edge Sports Performance (Evergreen Park, Ill.), Brad Leshinske has trained athletes for more than seven years. He also serves as an adjunct professor of sports performance in the Exercise Science Department of North Park University in Chicago. Leshinske also writes for baseballstrengthcoach.com.