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ACL injuries are one of the main causes of permanent sports disability. ACL injuries are more common among female athletes than male athletes, but gymnasts, soccer players, basketball players and volleyball players are all at risk due to sudden stops and starts, high-impact landings, and lateral movements. The good news is that a combination of functional training and lower-limb muscle development can help prevent injuries. Common, non-functional exercises for ACL protection include using jump training and leg curls to strengthen your hamstrings. It is also recommended that you avoid turning or landing with straight legs. These are good tips, but it is provocative that a study that included 600 Italian male semi-professional soccer players found that found that proprioceptive training reduced ACL injury rates by over 700%. Definitely incorporate balance training into your workout regimen to help safeguard your ACL, and maintain your flexibility by being sure to always cool down and stretch after exercise
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|