ACL injuries are among the most common injuries occurring 100,000–200,000 times per year. Among skiers, recreational alpine skiers have the highest incidence of ACL ruptures. Since the majority of these injuries are non-contact, providing patients and clients with a preventative exercise program can limit their risk for injury.
Here are some of our favorite ACL injury prevention exercises:
#1: Side Plank with Abduction: Improve core and hip strength
Start in a side plank position. Lift your top leg as high as possible, pause for a moment, and then lower it back down. Repeat for the prescribed repetitions and sets.
#2: Tilt Board Squats: A great exercise to improve balance and stability of the ankle and knee
Step onto the balance board with your feet parallel and pointed forward. Begin to sit back with your hips. Your knees should be tracking over your toes. Don’t let your knees collapse inward or move too far out to the side. Repeat for the prescribed repetitions and sets.
#3 Single Leg Hip Bridges: A great way to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings
Begin lying on the floor facing up. Extend your arms to sides, and bend your knees with your feet firmly on floor. Lift one foot off the floor until your leg is straight. Raise your body by extending the hip of the bent leg, keeping the extended leg and hip straight. Return to the original position by lowering your body with the extended leg and hip straight. Repeat for the prescribed repetitions and sets.
#4 Box Step Down: Helps to build strength and stability of the lower body
Start by stepping onto a box or step with your feet parallel and pointed forward. Then shift your weight to one foot. Stand on the elevated surface by straightening your leg and pushing your body upward, shifting your weight to one leg. Step down slowly, attempting to touch your heel to the floor. Return to the start position and repeat for the prescribed repetitions and sets.
#5 Stability Ball Hamstring Curls: Combine dynamic stability and isometric hamstring strengthening
Lie supine, placing the backs of your ankles and heels on the top of a stability ball. Extend your arms out to your sides. Activate your core muscles and form a bridge position, maintaining a straight, plank-like position. Keeping your hips and lower back straight, bend your knees, pulling your heels toward your rear end. Allow your feet to roll up onto the ball. Lower to the original position by straightening the knees. Repeat for the prescribed repetitions and sets.
All of the displayed exercises above are easy to perform and include minimal equipment and risks if performed as described.
Interested in learning more about ski and snowboard injuries? Watch our course Preventing Ski and Snowboarding Injuries while Maximizing Performance with Naomi Albertson, MD. Free access for WebExercises members.
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