This article about the seemingly epidemic number of ACL injuries in pro sports was recently up on Grantland. There were interesting tidbits about a newly rediscovered knee ligament, mental toughness, and proprioception, but what I found most fascinating was this paragraph:
Dr. Robert Litchfield, medical director of the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic at the University of Western Ontario and part of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team medical group, studied videotape of ACL injuries and found a pattern. He found that those who tore their ACLs all did the exact same thing with their legs when they were avoiding a defender or reacting to an offensive player. “They throw it [the injured limb] out to the side, and they try to make an upper-body move where they move away from the side that they’ve just planted,” he says. “And they get to what we call a `point of no return.’” The knee misaligns, turns inward, and the athlete lands knock-kneed. That is when you hear the pop. That is why, Dr. Litchfield believes, an athlete like LeBron James will never suffer a tear. “When he comes down from a dunk, he comes down very low and powerfully versus coming down on an extended leg.” In short, LeBron’s legs are bowed, and athletes who bow their legs generally don’t tear their ACLs.
I’m pretty sure the “bowing” of the legs referred to here is external rotation of the hip, something we practice everyday. The “knees out” cue (meaning keep your knees parallel to your toes, or don’t let them roll in) is a common one whether we’re box jumping, deadlifting, rowing, shoulder-to-overheading, and especially squatting. By working on this “knees out” positioning in a controlled environment we’re training our bodies to stabilize in this way, not to mention strengthening the necessary musculature to be better prepared for an awkward step, pickup basketball, or impromptu family flag football game.
Later in the article the ACL-less DeJuan Blair, currently of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks stated that “a lot of people don’t work on their legs”. There are many folks, much smarter than I, out there trying to solve the ACL issue, but maybe DeJuan Blair is on to something, and it’s relatively straightforward. Rather than new complex movements and contraptions, why not properly coach and scale the squat? Back squat, front squat, single leg squat, deeper, heavier (when appropriate), better. Simply put, squat more.
December 17, 2013
Overhead Squat 3-3-3-3-3
Up Ladder 7:
3 Power Snatches (95#/65#)
6 Power Snatches
9 Power Snatches
This is a timed workout. If you complete the round of 9, go on to 12. If you complete 12, go on to 15, etc. Scale toes-to-bar to evil wheels with the barbell if possible, or burpees.
Holiday Schedule Update: There will be no regularly scheduled classes on Tuesday, December 24th, Wednesday, December 25th, Tuesday, December 31st, and Wednesday, January 1st. There will be an invasion style workout on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at 10 AM, no preregistration required. Please note that Basic Training has been canceled on Monday, December 23rd, Thursday, December 26th, and Monday, December 30th. Also, there is a modified morning schedule on Thursday, December 26.