Help Players Prevent ACL Tears

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor

The research team at Cincinnati SportsMedicine Research and Education Foundation designed a proactive solution for the prevention of ACL tears. Historically, athletes look to build strength and flexibility around the ACL only during rehab after a traumatic injury. With this in mind, the team at Cincinnati SportsMedicine Research and Education Foundation developed the Sportsmetrics™ Warm-up for Injury Prevention and Performance program.

WIPP is a specially designed 20-minute warm-up, incorporating the four components of Sportsmetrics™ for maximum efficiency and conditioning.

Component 1: Warm-Up

Straight Leg March (20 Seconds)

Walk with both legs straight. Alternate lifting each leg as high as possible without jeopardizing form or leaning backward.

Hand Walk (20 Seconds)

Bend at the waist and place the palm of the hands on the ground. Walk using your hands and feet while keeping the legs and back straight.

Cradle Walk (20 Seconds)

While walking forward, lift one leg in front of the body, bending at the knee. Rotate the knee outward and the foot inward. Hold the foot with both hands for three seconds, standing on one leg. Switch legs.

Hip Rotator Walk (20 Seconds)

Pretend there is an obstacle beside you. Rotate one leg out at the hip, then bring the leg up and over the obstacle while facing forward and keeping the shoulders and hips square.


Component 2: Plyometrics

Tuck Jump (30 Seconds)

Start in an upright neutral stance and jump to tuck the knees simultaneously to the chest and repeat.

Squat Jump (30 seconds)

Begin in a squat position with the chest/head up and back straight. Reach your hands to the outside of the heels, then jump up reaching as high as possible.

180-Degree Jump (30 Seconds)

Starting from an upright neutral stance, jump straight into the air and make a 180-degree turn before landing. Reverse direction and repeat.

Scissor Jump (30 Seconds)

Start in a deep lunge position with the front knee directly over the ankle. Alternate legs by pushing off the front leg and landing with the opposite leg bent in front.

Barrier Hop Side/Side (15 Seconds/Leg)

Using a six- to eight-inch barrier, perform a single leg hop side-to-side over the barrier.


Component 3: Strength

Steamboats (30 Second/Leg)

Place a stretch bound around the ankles. Begin with fee shoulder-width apart. Slightly bend one knee so the foot is off the ground. Balancing on one leg, begin kicking the bent leg forward and backward at the hip.

Lateral Step (30 Seconds/Direction)

Place a stretch band around the ankles. Start with the feet shoulder-width apart and step out to the side 10 to 12 inches. Slowly and under control, follow with the other foot to return to the initial position. Repeat and switch direction.

Supine Ham Bridge (30 Seconds/Leg)

Lie flat on the back, bend one knee and place the heel close to the glutes. Extend the other leg straight up in the air. Push with the heel to lift the glutes off the ground and the extended leg higher in the air. Switch legs and repeat.

Ab Crunch (60 Seconds)

Lie on the back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise the upper body off the ground until the shoulders are no longer touching the ground. Hold it for three seconds.

Plank (60 Seconds)

Lie face-down placing the elbows under the shoulders and forearms on the ground. Place legs hip-distance apart and curl the toes under. Lift the body up on the elbows and toes.


Component 4: Flexibility

Hamstring (20 Seconds/Leg)

While seated, extend the left leg fully and bend the right leg while placing the inside foot along the left calf. Bring the chest toward the knee and reach with both hands.

Hip Flexor (20 Seconds/Leg)

Stand with the feet in a lunge position with the front knee slightly bent. Push up on the rear toe.

Quadriceps (20 Seconds/Leg)

While standing, grab the foot or ankle and lift it up behind the body. Press the foot into the hand while pressing the hips slightly forward.

Calf (20 Seconds/Leg)

Stand in the lunge position with the front knee bent. Place hands on the thigh and press forward while keeping the back leg straight and the rear heel down.


Component 5: Agility

Quick Feet (30 Seconds/Direction)

Start at the left end of a sideline, facing the field. Step right foot forward and diagonally to the right over the line followed quickly by the left. Next, step the right foot backward and diagonally to the right, followed by the left.

Nebraska Drill (2 Reps)

Set two cones 30 feet apart. Begin on the right side of the first cone, sprint to the left side of the second cone. Pivot around the cone until you’re facing the first cone. Pivot around the cone until you’re facing the second cone. Upon reaching the second cone, backpedal to the start.

Do you have a thought about this article that you would like to share? If you do, email managing editor Dan Guttenplan at Tweet us @fnfcoaches.