Poor landing biomechanics are a primary mechanism of injury for ACL tears, as well as a significant risk factor for injury; particularly in female athletes. Specifically, medial collapse of the knee (“valgus”) is accompanied by hip adduction and internal rotation, which creates shear forces that can damage the ACL.
Squatting with elastic resistance to improve landing kinematics
Looped elastic bands have been used for several years to target muscles that prevent knee valgus, but no studies have evaluated the effects of this training on improving landing biomechanics in female athletes. TRAC researcher Dr. Mike Voight evaluated 20 female high school volleyball players performing a drop landing technique with high-speed analysis. Each player had faulty squat mechanics during the SFMA movement screen.
Half of the athletes performed 30 repetitions of a deep squat with the TheraBand® CLX around their knees to provide feedback for proper squat mechanics, while the other half did nothing. Kinematics of their drop landing (knee width) were measured before and after the intervention, as well as after a 60-minute volleyball practice.
The athletes receiving the CLX feedback training all significantly improved their medial knee collapse during the drop landing at both post-tests, while the control group did not. Dr. Voight noted, “Interestingly, the effect lasted through 60 minutes of training, suggesting this short bout of exercise may improve landing mechanics throughout a training session.”
Based on this pilot study, TheraBand-resisted feedback, during squat training has a potential for ACL injury prevention programs, although prospective, randomized studies are needed.
Voight M, Page P. The impact of hip abduction elastic-resisted neuromuscular feedback on frontal plane knee kinematics in female volleyball athletes: a pilot study (Abstract). 2016. J Performance Health : 1(1):11-12
About TRAC: The Performance Health Scientific Advisory Committee meets at the annual TRAC meeting to present their research on Performance Health Products