Fighting Fit: Stay in the Game with Stronger Knees

Approximately 70 percent of all serious knee ligament injuries (ACL/MCL) occur during non-contact situations, such as plyometric exercises, landing from a jump, or twisting/ turning movements that cause a sudden imbalance in your lower extremities. However, these non-contact injuries are more preventable than injuries that occur during competition and sparring.

Dominick Cruz, Georges St-Pierre, and Conor McGregor are just a few fighters who have torn their ACLs while training and competing. And, as all three fighters will tell you, ACL surgery and rehab is no picnic.

While many knee injuries aren’t preventable, there are ways to reduce your chance of injury: (1) Increase the strength of your thigh muscles (2) Improve your flexibily (3) Maintain a proper “Power Position” when you perform exercises that involve jumping, including box jumps and burpees.

Begin In The “Power Position”

• Keep your knees and feet directed forward and in alignment with your hips.
• Keep you back straight with your chest open, shoulders back, and head and eyes forward.

// PHOTO BY PAUL THATCHER

// PHOTO BY PAUL THATCHER

Taking Off and Landing

• Take off and land without excessive side-to-side or forward-backward movements of your upper or lower body.
• Maintain a soft landing throughout your entire foot to reduce ground reaction forces (the force the ground exerts on your body).

// PHOTO BY PAUL THATCHER

// PHOTO BY PAUL THATCHER

3 Bad Landings To Avoid

Landing in any of these three positions puts added stress on your knees, making you susceptible to ACL/MCL damage. Avoid these landing positions and focus on landing in the “Power Position.”

// PHOTO BY PAUL THATCHER

// PHOTO BY PAUL THATCHER

• Valgus Collapse: knock kneed position as you sink down into a squat or landing position.
• Imbalance: unequal stress to one side of your lower extremities.
• Shearing Force: decreased knee flexion with forward body lean (knees extend in front of toes).

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