Thursday, February 16, 2012

3 Drills to Protect Your ACL

1. One Arm Farmer’s Walk

Lateral trunk motion during bilateral and unilateral landing and cutting movements often leads to excessive knee valgus, which will put your ACL at risk for injury. Many athletes lack the neuromuscular control required throughout their trunk and hips in order to prevent lateral trunk motion. The single arm farmer’s walk is a simple, yet effective drill to help develop the neuromuscular control required to help prevent knee abduction during sport participation.

Many variations of the single arm farmer’s walk exist, including:
  • Basic Farmer’s Walk (weight at your side)
  • Waiters Walk (bottom up kettlebell walk with elbow tucked into your rib cage)
  • Overhead Bottom Up Walk (bottom up kettlebell walk overhead)
  • Barbell Farmer’s Walk
Be sure to keep your chest proud, shoulders packed, lats flared, stomach braced, and neck stable.

2. Drop Jumps

The ability to safely and effectively attenuate force, and achieve optimal quadriceps-hamstring co-contraction is critical for preventing anterior tibial translation and knee valgus in any sport where landing, cutting, and deceleration occur. A properly performed drop jump will teach you to achieve the 40° knee flexion that has been proven ideal for quadriceps-hamstring co-activation. It is also very important to ensure symmetrical force attenuation; therefore, land with symmetrical force distribution in each leg.

Start with a low drop height, progressively adding height as your strength and technique improves.

Sprinting Wall Drills

Athletes who possess an anterior pelvic tilt will have dominant anterior gluteus medius muscle fibre’s. This anterior fibre dominance will lead to internal rotation at the hip, which is a culprit for knee valgus. One simple drill that can be utilized to lengthen the hip flexors, and activate the posterior gluteus medius and gluteus maximus fibres are sprinting wall drills. This drill will also teach proper hip dissociation (concurrent terminal hip extension and flexion).

Perform this drill by assuming a 45° lean towards a wall or hard vertical surface (preferably so that you may hold on with a neutral grip). Fully extend one hip, while fully flexing at the other hip (dorsi-flexed foot under knee), making sure to maintain your ‘rib to hip connection’.

You may perform this drill as a static hold, progressing to a slow march, and further to an explosive single exchange, and finally a triple exchange. An athlete absent anterior tilt and knee valgus should progress to ‘sport specific’ sprinting drills.

Please contact me at if you have any questions regarding the concepts discussed, are looking for progressions for the more advanced athlete, or are wondering how to incorporate these drills into your current program. Contact me to inquire about your free consultation.

1 comment:

  1. Many sports require a functioning ACL to perform common manoeuvers such as cutting, pivoting, and sudden turns.These high demand sports include football, rugby, netball, touch, basketball, tennis, volleyball, hockey, dance, gymnastics and many more. anterior cruciate ligament