ACL Injury Prevention is always an important topic with female athletes. There are several reasons why a female basketball player has a 50% more likelihood of suffering a non-contact Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury than their male counterpart. Many experts have looked into why and have rationalized several different theories that focus on possible biomechanical difference, hormonal changes, poor neuromuscular integrated strength or a possible decrease in ligament tensile strength.
Along with these theories there are also a few research facts that reflect:
1. A higher degree of thigh dominant versus hip dominant strength which can predispose female athletes to a higher neuromuscular risk of injury
2. A greater valgus knee angle with lateral movements which in turn places a greater strain on the medial compartment of the knee and the ACL.
3. Less active knee and hip flexion during ground contact events like jumping and cutting which in turn lessens the amount of deceleration control through the lower extremities and hips.
The fact is that 95% of all non-contact ACL injuries are a result of poor deceleration control of momentum and ground reaction sheer forces that occur as a result of change direction. This is why an ACL injury prevention program is so important. Sheer is a simultaneous application of a vertical, rotational and horizontal force vector that has been show to be the exact force combination (mechanism) that results in the ACL being compromised. Interestingly when evaluating strength and conditioning programs in women’s basketball specifically, the combination of a rotational and horizontal force vector training application is rarely seen. In most cases only body weight resistance is applied during these types of exercises.
This is where flat, continuously-looped, resistance bands can play a significant role in training and can assist in ACL injury prevention. Resistance bands are essentially independent of gravity and therefore can create a true horizontal-rotational force vector when attached around the hips. Using this attached set-up to perform multi-directional 2 step locomotion drills like shuffling, backpedals, crossovers and hopping, it provides the perfect training environment for female athletes to reactively strengthen the body, specifically the hips and core abdominal region, to increase control of deceleration sheer forces.
Over the past several years as strength coach of our local high school girls basketball team, I have implemented a resistance band training program for women’s basketball players that we refer to as “2 Step Accelerated Deceleration” Drills. These drills apply a pair of linked up Quantum Bands to create an “accelerated deceleration” training momentum that reflexively trains the body to handle increased momentum forces that requires a faster deceleration force response. Using short amplitude, multi-directional, 2-step movements allows athletes to gradually increase their band resistance force which increases the deceleration momentum force velocity. Like with any strength training program, as movement skill and strength improve, athletes developed a greater level of confidence in their deceleration foot work and strength.
The following videos demonstrate how to perform 2 Step Accelerated Deceleration Drills as it relates to a lateral, sagital and rotational change of direction. All of these drills require a pair of similar size 41 inch long continuously looped Quantum bands linked together using a link strap. This simple set-up provides athletes with 4 yards of total training distance which is more than enough to train two to three steps of movement.
Shuffle 2 Step Deceleration
Backpedal 2 Step Deceleration
Crossover 2 Step Deceleration
Typical Programming for Introduction
Initial programming involves using rep based sets that allow athletes to train at their own pace. I recommend performing 5 reps per set with a 30 second rest between sets. They will start with 2 sets performed with backpedals and in both direction when performing shuffles and crossovers. As conditioning and skill set improves, I recommend increasing to 3 sets. Once 3 sets are well established from a conditioning level I will switch to time based sets of 20 second work and 20 seconds rest to begin bringing in more of conditioning component.
Not only will these drills assist in ACL injury prevention, they will help improve the quickness and performance of the athletes.
To get Quantum Bands (and many other bands) for these drills go to ResistanceBandTraining.com.
About the Author: Dave “The Band Man™” Schmitz, has been writing, teaching and training how to implement resistance band training for rehabilitation, fitness and performance since 1996. In 2008 Dave founded Resistance Band Training Systems, LLC and with that launched Resistancebandtraining.com, the only online website exclusively devoted to training with RBT Quantum Bands. As a teacher and coach, Dave has authored and produced 100’s of articles, digital training resources and DVDs as well as creating the only online Resistance Band Training Certification and virtual band training membership site “The Band Gym.” All of these unique resources have allowed Dave the platform to teach 1000’s of coaches, athletes, therapists, doctors, trainers, teachers and fitness enthusiasts how to get their body looking, feeling and moving better training with continuously looped resistance bands. Since December of 2008, Dave has hosted the RBT newsletter and blog that today includes special weekly events like, A Minute with The Band Man, RBT Weekly and the Friday RBT Workout. Along being a national and international speaker, Dave also consults regularly with over 100 high schools, universities and private performance training business. As a result of his efforts in 2011 and 2012 Dave was recognized as one of Top 100 most influential Fitness Professionals in America.
Dave also gives back on a local level as the owner of G’Town Boot Camps and G’Town Fast-n-Fit while also volunteering his time since 2010 as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Germantown High School Athletics (Germantown, Wisconsin). Dave is a 1986 Graduate of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Physical Therapy with an emphasis in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and Athletic Training.