ACL Tears: 3 Top Tips for Injury Prevention

As someone who has personally experienced a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligaments) and successfully recovered through dedicated training, I understand the importance of preventive exercises to protect against such injuries. In this blog post, I’ll share my top three training tips to help you avoid ACL tears and maintain knee stability. These tips are focused on strengthening the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscle, improving hamstring strength, and enhancing ankle mechanics. Let’s dive in!

ACL Tear Injury

1. Strengthen the VMO to Improve Knee Stability

The VMO, a key muscle in the quadriceps group, plays a crucial role in knee stabilization. Weakness or imbalance in this muscle can increase the risk of ACL tears. To strengthen the VMO, consider incorporating the following exercises into your training routine:

lunges illustration

➡️ Lunges: Lunges are fantastic for engaging the VMO. Try performing forward lunges, reverse lunges, and lateral lunges to target different angles and challenge the muscle further. Focus on maintaining proper form, keeping your core engaged, and ensuring the knees are in line with the toes.

sissy squats illustration

➡️ Sissy Squats: Sissy squats are a specialised exercise that effectively targets the VMO. They involve leaning back and descending into a squat position while keeping your heels lifted off the ground. Sissy squats can be quite demanding, so start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty as your strength improves.

2. Get the Hamstrings as Knee Flexors as Strong as Possible

Strong hamstring muscles are essential for knee stability and injury prevention. To improve hamstring strength, incorporate these exercises into your training routine:

back extensions illustration

➡️ Back Extensions: Back extensions target the hamstring muscles while also engaging the glutes and lower back. Start by lying face down on a back extension machine or stability ball, and then slowly lift your upper body while keeping your legs anchored. Focus on squeezing the hamstrings as you ascend and maintaining control throughout the movement.

hamstring curls illustration

➡️ Hamstring Curls: Hamstring curls can be performed using a machine, resistance bands, or even with a stability ball. Start by lying face down on a machine or mat and place your ankles under the resistance band or ball. Then, contract your hamstrings to curl your legs towards your glutes. Gradually release and repeat for several repetitions.

3. Strengthen the Calves to Improve Ankle Mechanics and Knee Function

Strong calves contribute to overall leg stability and can enhance ankle mechanics, which ultimately impact knee function. Consider the following exercises to strengthen your calves:

calf raises illustration

➡️ Calf Raises: Perform calf raises by standing on the edge of a step or platform with your heels hanging off. Slowly rise onto your tiptoes, hold the position for a second, and then lower your heels below the step to stretch the calves. Repeat for several repetitions, gradually increasing the load or resistance as you progress.

Recap on preventing ACL Tears

Protecting yourself from ACL tears and maintaining knee stability should be a priority for anyone engaged in physical activities. By implementing these top three training tips—strengthening the VMO, improving hamstring strength, and enhancing ankle mechanics through calf exercises—you can significantly lower the risk of ACL injuries. Remember to prioritize proper form, gradually increase intensity, and listen to your body during the training process. Stay committed, strengthen those muscles, and embrace a proactive approach to safeguarding your knees.

Disclaimer: Before starting any new exercise programme or if you have any pre-existing conditions, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified personal trainer for personalised guidance and to ensure safety.

If you don’t go the gym, and would like to do these exercises at home, get in touch, and I’ll give you adapted exercises that you can perform with home equipment.

Delphine & Louis

Our mission is to help people achieve their physical potential. We have a holistic approach to health and fitness. Everything is connected. Our 3M Method is based on these three key pillars: Mindset, Movement and Meals.

Are you ready to take your life to the next level?

More blog posts