1st Place Volleyball July 2010 : Page 21
Lateral Band Walks: Lat-eral band walks are a great exercise for strengthening the lateral hip muscles. As mentioned above, these muscles play a major role in stabilizing the knee and determining knee align-ment. Weak hip muscles can lead to a valgus knee (knock-kneed) position during athletic movement. This position creates an unfavorable environment for knee structures and athletic performance. Valgus knee position during jumping and landing tasks has been associ-ated with increased risk of knee injury in athletes.4 To perform a lateral band walk, place the band around your ankles. Step side-ways while keeping your feet wide and toes pointing forward. It is also important to minimize trunk and upper body movement. Do not let your torso rock side-to-side. This is a compensation strategy and improper mechanics. Single Leg Squat: A great deal of athletic movements take place on a single leg, and thus single leg stability exercises are a must in any training program. Single leg squats are a great exercise for knee stability and me-chanics. When standing on a single leg many defi cits that would not appear during two-legged activities are exposed. The single leg squat places a high demand on quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip stabilizer muscles.This exercise can be performed using a box, chair, or bench. While stand-ing on a single leg, squat downward touching your buttocks to the box and then stand back up. Note that the box is only used to quickly tap as a gauge of squat depth and not as a tool to regain balance. During this exercise, rotational compensations are common. Do not allow the knee to rotate inward or outward, as this can cause future problems if it becomes a learned strategy. Knee rotation can change the pull of the quadriceps tendon and lead to pain. Forward Reach Lunge: The forward reaching lunge mimics deceleration during athletic events. One must effectively slow the forward translation of the body to change direction during this drill. The forward reaching component increases the demand on the hamstrings, glutes, and core muscu-lature in a similar fashion to a defensive player reaching to pass a ball. Start this exercise from an upright standing position. Step forward lunging down and reaching forward with a medicine ball or other weight. Your forward foot should be directly under your knee. Do not let your knee bow inward or outward during this exer-cise. When pushing from your front leg to return to standing, make sure to maintain stability through the trunk and drive from the front leg. Incorrect technique is demonstrated by shrugging your torso and upper body backwards to gain momentum when returning to standing. This relationship between the hips and the shoulders is a primary component of transferring power during explosive vol-leyball movements. References: 1. Fernandez WG, Yard EE, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of lower extremity injuries among US high school athletes. Acad Emerg Med. 2007;14(7):641-645. 2. Powell JW, Barber-Foss KD. Injury patterns in selected high school sports: a review of the 1995-1997 seasons. J Athl Train. 1999;34(3):277-284. 3. Alentorn-Geili E, Myer GD, Silvers HJ, Samitier G, Romero D, Lazaro-Haro C, Cugat R. Prevention of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries in soccer players. Part 2: a review of prevention programs aimed to modify risk factors and to reduce injury rates. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2009;17(8):859-879. 4. Alentorn-Geili E, Myer GD, Silvers HJ, Samitier G, Romero D, Lazaro-Haro C, Cugat R. Prevention of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries in soccer players. Part 1: mechanisms of injury and underlying risk factors. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2009;17(7):705-729. 5. Bisseling RW, Hof AL, Bredeweg SW, Zwerver J, Mulder T. Relationship be-tween landing strategy and patellar tendinopathy in volleyball. Br J Sports Med. 2007;41(7):e8. July 2010 | Phenom 21 Forward Box Drops: A study by Bisseling and colleagues in 2007 found that athletes with previous patellar tendon injury used a stiffer landing strategy following a jump.5 This stiff landing strategy increases the rate at which the knee is loaded and stressed upon foot contact. Move-ment strategies that focus on “soft” and “controlled” landings help to reduce the stress at the knee. Forward box drops are wonderful for working on landing mechanics. Landing with hips back and not entirely on the toes is important for achieving contraction of all the knee stabilizers. Executing a proper box drop is done by stepping off a box and landing with both feet on the fl oor. It is important to hold the landing position for a moment to demonstrate stability and proper knee alignment. As previously mentioned, it is critical that your hips sit back during landing just as if sitting back into a chair.