Training to Reduce Non-contact Knee Injuries

by LaRue Cook |   Date Released : 08 Feb 2013
LaRue Cook

About the author: LaRue Cook

LaRue Cook is a certified personal trainer and nationally recognized fitness expert with over 15 years training experience and 20+ years in competitive sports. He has trained a wide variety of people including general fitness clients and athletes (adults and children). LaRue was selected to the first National Board of Fitness Examiners, Board of Examiners in 2005, one of only two personal trainers in the United States selected. LaRue has been writing for nine years, and his health and fitness articles can be found in many national publications. He serves as a Sports Science for Tennis Life Magazine and Women’s Basketball. He has also written an e-book for improving strength and fitness for racquet athletes and is completing his work on another for girls’ basketball.

Through his company, LaRue offers a myriad of health and fitness programs and consulting. LaRue has worked with individuals looking to reach specific fitness goals such as lose body fat, reduce inches, and live a healthier lifestyle, and as a consultant to corporate clients and those in the training and fitness industry. LaRue conducts specialty workshops and clinics on important sports conditioning topics such as: Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ), Girls’ ACL Injury Prevention and Functional Strength for Sport. He also conducts classes on other fitness and exercise topics as requested. LaRue has helped corporate clients and residential associations develop Wellness or Fitness Programs for their employees and residents. His Tennis Fitness Program has been used to train several junior tennis players who are ranked nationally by the United States Tennis Association (USTA). LaRue is also a competitive tennis player listed as a Top Ten NTRP-ranked player by the USTA in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

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Comments (4)

De Veirman, Lieven | 13 Feb 2013, 08:42 AM

Not sure if we should teach our athletes to consciously avoid a valgus knee position. Pronation is the most natural movement and I would prefer teaching my athlete's muscles how to get into pronation/valgus, decelerate the movement and explode back to the other direction.

Cook, LaRue | 12 Feb 2013, 04:09 AM

Hi Brian. Thanks for your comment. I agree that “discovering a pattern of weakness” is a key element of developing an effective program here. One such weakness is (or can be) the strength ratio gap between the quads and posterior chain musculature – a weakness that has been shown to be a potential contributing factor to non-contact knee injuries in sports.
“Cleaning up movement patterns” (where such defective patterns exist) is necessary as well, and oftentimes one of the primary movement pattern defects in this area – improper deceleration - is related to this muscular imbalance. Learning proper deceleration technique is a key to reducing the risk of non-contact knee injuries in sports movement, and obtaining or maintaining the requisite strength to properly decelerate goes hand-in-hand with this technique. The article speaks of three components to the training program --- strength development, deceleration technique and kinesthetic awareness. Each of these components is an important part of the program, and forms an integral part of the whole. Thanks again for your comment and I hope that you found the article somewhat helpful.

Strachan, Gary | 11 Feb 2013, 01:57 AM

I think training for function may be the best place to start. Replicate all the possibilities of where the knee may go, and train at different tempos, ROMs, under load, no load, different drivers etc. And look for mobility or lack of to structure.

Thurston, Brian | 08 Feb 2013, 18:36 PM

My belief is that there seems to be a great value in discovering a pattern of weakness or tightness and then exploring how to improve this pattern of weakness or tightness. I think to say that targeting the glute medius as a stamped out program for all athletes may not be the best way to go. Additionally, hamstring strength (as co-contrators) may not be as important to preventing sheer on the tibia-femoral region as we think. By strengthening the hamstrings without first cleaning up movement patterns, we may be doing what Gray Cook calls "adding fitness to imbalance".

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