Read THIS to Prevent Knee Injuries

 Photo: tony rotundo

Photo: tony rotundo

Join LuchaFIT on Instagram each Wednesday as we give you tips for incorporating "prehab" into your routine! What is prehab you ask? It's short for prehabilitation, and is the pre-cursor to rehab. It is a way to take proactive measures which help prevent injuries from occurring. If you are especially vulnerable due to past injuries, it's important to have a proper strengthening program from a strength coach or from a physical therapist. 

Common knee ailments

As wrestlers, we get into extreme positions. If you have knee instability, you are putting yourself at risk for tweaks, sprains, or the worst: ACL tears. The first gif shows a position I often see female wrestlers in. The knees rock in, out, or a combination of the two. This indicates that the muscles of the leg and surrounding tendons (connects muscle to bone) and ligaments (connects bone to bone) which support the knee joint are weak and compromised. If this improper knee position continues while doing jumps, weight lifting, stance drills and wrestling, you can often expect injuries. 

Knees move inward

If you are experiencing this type of compromise due to weak supporting muscles, it's time to focus on proper squatting position. Perform a squat slowly to keep proper form and to focus on each component. You should feel like you are sitting back in a chair. If your toes can rise ever so slightly off the floor, you know your weight is shifted towards the back and you're doing it right! Sitting back also ensures that your knees aren't at risk of going past your toes. Drive your knees out and imagine you have a tight band around your knees. You must not let that imaginary band push your knees towards each other. Pay attention to form when your rise out of the squat, as often one knee tends to dip inwards to compensate for the weak muscles.  

If you are having trouble knowing when your knees are in the properly aligned position, watch yourself in a mirror to help correct your positioning.

Correction exercise

Adding in single leg short squats on an uneven surface (like a pillow) creates balance stability and strength. Once again, the focus is on sitting back in a chair, and not allowing your knee to go over your toes or rock inward. Gently touch your opposite heel down to challenge your stability. It's better to do correct movement than to push for a lower squat. Form over function! You're not doing yourself a favor by doing a lower single leg squat but compromising your form and knee stability. 

Try 3 sets of 25 each leg and work on sitting back into that invisible chair! You must create muscle memory for all your supporting muscles so they will react and protect that knee when you're in action on the competition mat! If you need to modify this exercise, get rid of the pillow and use a stable surface to lower into proper single leg squat form.