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Women: Train to Avoid Sports-Related Knee Injuries (Men, Too)

Knee is fast becoming an Achilles heel for many young female athletes. Fitness expert Minna Lessig offers some tips on how to prevent knee injuries.

Kentucky high school star Annie Rardin is stuck on the bench, watching her team struggle in this year's state tournament.

Her senior season was wiped out after she ripped her anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, during her first scrimmage back last November.

Warm-up Exercises Help Prevent Knee Injuries

#1: Slide Board--zipping back and forth and it is great to work the inner and outer thighs and was originally developed for knee rehab, since it's so low impact, it's joint friendly.

#2: Balance work--an exercise stemming from yoga--lifting one leg and extension hold. Yoga and pilates exercises are excellent, since their main focus is improving stability while placing the body in positions of relative instability. It'd be great to isolate the quads and hamstrings specifically by using the leg extension and hamstring curl machines.

#3- Plyometrics--box jumps on step by bending the knees, and land, by bending the knees and absorbing the shock. Jump rope is also knee friendly, and one leg lateral hop is a good choice, too. The main idea is to train muscle memory and increase strength for softer landings.

It's important to have evaluations done, which usually is not the case at high school level. Everyone is different, some women may be imbalanced in their flexibility, while others may lack lower body strength, and still others may have very weak inner thighs. So assessment is key to knowing what is best for the individual to avoid injury.

These exercises today are preventative, not rehabilitative, many times people are not paying attention, and I want to make sure they know there is a clear distinction!

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