2 things you can do to avoid ACL tears

Today we’re talking about ACL injuries. The ACL is the most common ligament that gets torn in athletes, specifically younger athletes with 70% of these injuries being non-contact. ACL injuries happen typically when we are jumping and landing, when we are sprinting and stopping or when we are  changing direction rapidly. When we are landing or cutting in any certain direction, we see that knee cave in. When the knee caves in, the hip also caves in and the ankle will cave in. This landing is flexing the knee forward and closer to my midline than my ankle, which is pushing the tibia forward and then the femur and tibia are compressing a lot. In our quad-dominant athletes, our hamstrings aren’t strong enough to pull that tibia back, so then all of that force is going right onto our ACL. Eventually the ACL tears under the stress.

There are two main ways that we can train our hamstrings to make them strong enough to take the workload off of our ACL.  We can train our hamstrings as knee flexors, where our hips are fixed and the movement is coming from the knee, an example of this exercise would be a hamstring curl. During this exercise we are really focusing on lengthening that muscle to strengthen it in it’s longest and shortest position. We can also train our hamstrings as hip extensors with a fixed knee joint, focusing on moving from the hips in a hinging motion. We do a ton of this with our athletes, an example being an RDL or an A-reach. A cue we will often use is “find your hamstrings”, and we are looking for the athlete to feel a big stretch during these hinging exercises. Again, strengthening the muscle through its full range of motion so that when we do land hard, cut hard or stop suddenly, our hamstring is strong enough to pull the tibia back and take the pressure away from our ACL, reducing the potential for injuries. 

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Have a burning question about our gym or program? 
Want to know if CrossFit Mass is right for you?
Send us an email to info@crossfitmass.com
 or give us a call at 978-494-0606.