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Unconventional ACL Prevention for Women

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Did anyone read the article in skiing entitled "Learn to Land"? It advocates jump training as a way of preventing ACL injuries in female. To clarify, it is actually "land training".

The idea is to land silently. The knees must be facing straight ahead. The alignment is knees over hips over feet.

Women tend to tear their ACL 2 to 3 times more than men. One reason is the fact that women have much weaker hamstrings than quads. Q angles, joint laxity, and ACL size further complicate the matter.

Apparently, "silent" jump training is an effective way to train the hamstrings to become more active.

At first, I thought this was an outrageous idea. Then it hit me. I've been in the fitness industry for close to 29 years, I STILL teach High Impact aerobics, but I've never had a fitness related knee injury. But I always tease my students about not jumping like elephants. [img]smile.gif[/img]

In her book, Strong Women Stay Young, Miriam Nelson recommends jumping as a preventative measure against osteoporosis.

I would advise, if you were to try this on the mountain, that you have a qualified instructor with you.

post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 
Sno Wonder, I was just thinking about you! Great to hear from you again. If its not too much trouble, could you post some of the info from the conference? Thanks!
post #3 of 9

I didn't read that article but have seen other articles (one I think in the Georgia Teech Sports Medicine Newsletter). A lot of the work has been done with female basketball players because of their high incidence of ACL and other knee injuries.

I'm going to a ski fitness forum this week with an orthopedic surgeon and physical therapists. I had intended to ask that question (for my wife's benefit who ruptured an ACL in a non-twisiting incident. It was a compression injury and her ACL was severed clean with only a slight tibial plateu fracture but no other collateral damamge). Thus I think jump training could have helped my wife. I wonder statistically how much benefit there is to be gained.

I hope your ski fitness training and classes is going well.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Btw, if you are female and near the Cambridge Ma. area, healthworks is doing their open house this Sunday. I'll be doing a SkiReady workshop this Sunday at 1:00. let me know if you are interested.
post #5 of 9

I finally got an opportunity to respond to this topic - after much craziness at work, daughter's soccer, and a quick trip to Tahoe to see a boot fitter for a new pair of boots.

My ski club had a ski fitness clinic with an othopedic surgeon, PT, and a trainer. I asked the orthopedic surgeon specifically about jump training. He said that there appears to be some value in it and that Japan seems to be going to an extreme in using it (for prevention or in rehab, I wasn't sure). He said that most of us have probably done something in the past that alone would have provided enough force to rupture the ACL. However, it doesn't always happen. As the ACL starts to get stretched, the hamstrings kick in to help counteract the forces. Men seem to have a quicker response, I suppose either from previous training or its the Martian genetics. The women (Venuses) may be able to improve their response with such training.

It sounds like some jump training is a good idea - not just to reduce the chances of an ACL injury, but also to get in ski shape. At the clinic, the trainer recommended 3 types: 1) a split jump lunge alternating between feet (jump from right foot slightly forward, land to a partial squat, and explode up switching feet) 2) a rotating jump twist (facing center jump up, twist right then land; jump and twist to center, land; jump and twist to left (and so on) 3) the side to side jumps.

I tried the split jumps (2 sets of 30) on Saturday, and despite a regular workout routine, I was sore in a couple of places. It literally kicked me in the butt. Do you have any other plyo-type jumps that you recommend.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Being a bit hyperflexible, plyometric training is extremely challenging for me. Traditional ski plyometric training involves box jumping and other variations on that theme.
I learned a really important thing at a Canadian Fitness conference. If you perform a set of squats, or some non plyometric exercise first, the plyometric move will be much more powerful.
The curent authority on plyometric training is Donald A. Chu.
post #7 of 9

It seems to go better here, you mentioned in my thread on the ACL Awareness Video, that women (more so than men) have an imbalance in hamstring to quad strentgh. What is an imbalance? Is this something that could and/or should be tested in the gym? Or do we just make sure we work the hams and things will be OK. Can there be a problem if the imbalance is too far the other way, hamstrings that are too strong?

Enquiring minds want to know....
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Everybody has somewhat of an imbalance, but women more than men. An easy way to test is to try both the hamstring and quad machines at the gym. You will probably see that the quads are significantly stronger. There are many ways to balabe out the muscles. When I get home I wiil post some links with pictures.
One of the problems for women is that most of the activities they participate in a the gym work mostly quads. then they go into Yoga class, and stretch the hamstings, which were probably to flabby and flexible in the first place.
Yes, you can have a problem with hamstrings that are too strong or tight, That's a whole other can of worms.
post #9 of 9
When I've asked PT's and trainers about a strength ratio between quads and hamstrings, they have all said that the hams should be 60% as strong as the quads. So if a woman is using 50 lbs. for leg extensions, she would be balanced if she could curl 30 lbs. on the leg curl machine.
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