Football Injury Prevention

How To Help Prevent ACL Tears

You tore your ACL. The most dreaded words for any football player after a leg injury. ACL tears generally come with a 12-month rehab period and really a 2-year period before the athlete feels they are “back to normal”. Luckily, there has been a good amount of success in developing programs to help prevent ACL tears. Some basic principles of these programs include:

  • Hamstring strengthening
  • Hip strengthening
  • Neuromuscular control of the lower extremities during landing
  • Flexibility
  • Muscular endurance
  • Protect Your Body & Prevent Sports Injury

    Schedule an appointment with a licensed physical therapist to help with recovering from past injuries & preventing new ones.


One of the more popular ACL tear – prevention programs in recent years is the PEP Program. This program has 5 different sections which cover all of the basic principles listed above. In this weeks post, we’re going to highlight 3 of the exercises from this program:

Russian Hamstring Curl

The purpose of the Russian Hamstring Curl is to eccentrically strengthen the hamstrings which act as a kind of backup to the ACL. Having a relatively low Hamstring-to-Quadriceps strength ratio has been shown to put athletes at an increased risk for ACL tears. Strengthening the hamstrings helps move this ratio back toward it’s appropriate proportion.

Lateral Hop Over Cone

The purpose of the Lateral Hop Over Cone is to improve the patient’s neuromuscular control during landing from a jump or hop. Landing from jumps/hops is when many ACL tears occur. Improving landing mechanics has been shown to have a significant impact of lowering ACL tear rates.

Bounding Run

The purpose of the Bounding Run is similar to that of the Lateral Hop Over Cone. Improving neuromuscular control is one of the primary focuses of the PEP program.

For Videos of these exercises, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages.

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