Recently we have seen two major injuries to two professional athletes, Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs and New York Yankee Mariano Rivera.  Immediately I asked, “Whats up with all these injuries!!??” 

Lets remember that injuries can be a result of muscle imbalances.  Obviously, there is a relationship between the hip, knee, and ankle joints when it comes to sports conditioning.  Training all three joints in different planes of motion, incorporating balance training, and individual leg strength is key to prevent injury.

Training the hip, knee, and ankle in different planes of motion-such as a transverse lunge with dumbbells, will help strengthen and teach stability through all three joints.  These are more dynamic movements that simulate real life movements in sports.  This also helps proprioception or body awareness when accelerating and decelerating from a common plane of motion in sports where you have to pivot and rotate.   This would be great exercise for Mariano Rivera who suffered a ACL and Meniscus tear by pivoting and the thigh and lower leg rotate in opposing directions.

Balance training is great to help with proprioception or body awareness through the ankle, knee, and hip joint.  Balance training should be done using both legs and individual legs.   Examples of using both legs for balance training is using the BOSU ball while doing squats or medicine ball toss.  Example of using a single leg exercise would be standing on one foot doing a medicine ball toss and single leg four square hops.  Some of these exercise will be used when Terrell Suggs is going through his rehabilitation process.

Individual leg strength is training both legs individually to help prevent injury.  First you have to determine which leg is stronger and which leg has better balance.  Example,  you maybe right foot dominant, but have better balance on your left side.  So you may do your individual leg strength training on your left and balance training on your right.  Examples of individual strength training is single leg press, single hamstring curl and single leg squats.


They key take away is that all three of these training methods all coincide.  As you can tell some of the exercise will over lap with training in all three planes of motion, using balance, while training on an individual leg.  Terrell Suggs and Mariano Rivera and all athletes should be training specifically to help prevent these types of injuries.