Exercise Types that Prevent ACL Injuries

ACL injuries are far too common, especially among young women. Fortunately, there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of tearing an ACL. Sugimoto et al. investigated how different exercise types influence ACL integrity. Four exercise categories were assessed including balance exercises, plyometrics, strengthening exercises, and proximal control exercises (core stability). They found that strengthening exercises and proximal control exercises significantly reduced the chance of ACL injury, while plyometrics had a slight correlation to fewer injuries, and balance exercises did not reduce the prevalence of injury.

It is very clear that strength training reduces the risk of ACL tears, and this is something we strongly urge female athletes. It is always interesting to think about how many young women play high school and college sports that demand multi-directional movements, sharp cutting, and jump landing - all high risk movements to ACL injuries, but how few of them strength train. Part of this is due to misinformation, such as the belief that strength training too young will stunt growth, or that strength training will make you bulky. Strength training has to stop being just for football players. If we want young women to have long and fulfilling athletic careers, strength training is necessary to both prevent a career ending ACL injury as well as further develop their functional ability. From this study, we can take away that performing strengthening exercises and core stability is more effective than balance and plyometric exercises in preventing ACL injuries.


You can find the article here: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/5/282

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