How Much Should A Woman 5 Feet 4 Inches Weight The Female Athlete’s Knees – 15 Rules For Knee Care

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The Female Athlete’s Knees – 15 Rules For Knee Care

Knee injuries account for a quarter of all sports injuries. After puberty, girls have an overall risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injury of 1 in 50. In college, women are 3 times more likely to suffer an ACL injury compared to men. So it is very important for female athletes to act now to protect their knees. Whether you are a walker, competitive athlete or weekend cyclist, the basic rules of knee care apply. They include strengthening muscles, (especially hamstrings and glutes for girls/women) increasing flexibility, using proper technique, trimming excess pounds and knowing when to increase or decrease activity that stresses the knee. This article lists 15 ways to protect the knees and joint structure and provides basic exercises to strengthen and stretch the body’s largest joint and surrounding musculature.

15 rules for knee care:

1. Train with a women-specific, functional training program specifically for pivot sports.

2. Work with a strength coach who stays current on training issues unique to the female athlete, especially ACL injury prevention strategies.

3. Lose extra pounds and maintain an ideal body weight. Every extra pound you carry puts four extra pounds of pressure on your knee when you walk.

4. Check your posture. You may have kyphosis (rounded shoulders), lordosis (curved back), scoliosis (curvature of the spine), flat feet, or other postural problems that can affect gait and put additional stress on the knees.

5. Train the core, the weakest link in the body. Also train your back and hips to play in an athletic position, the knee-guard position.

6. Prepare properly for your sport. Start a strength and conditioning program 8-10 weeks before your season or a new activity. Make sure plyometrics and balance and flexibility training are part of your overall program. Avoid actions such as full squats where the hips drop below the knees, running downhill and climbing stairs two at a time.

7. Learn to jump and land correctly. Jump straight as an arrow and land light as a feather, toes to heels with bent hips, knees and ankles. Maintain a straight back-neutral spine position. Keep your chest over your knees and your knees over your feet. Land on your foot and sink into your heel. Always perform jump training exercises on the correct surface, examples: land on mats or a wooden floor.

8. Always pay attention to using impeccable technique during training, especially with jump training.

9. Train functionally for improved performance and injury prevention. Functional importance, closed chain (feet on the floor) activities that mimic the skills you would use in your sport. Most of your training should be done outside of exercise machines. Start with bodyweight activities and then progress to external light-weight resistance exercises. Once form is mastered with basic functional training exercises, move on to more advanced forms of strength training, e.g. use heavier weights or train with the Olympic lifts.

10. Improve agility and reaction times. Women contract their muscles more slowly than men, and women take longer to generate maximum force. Train more like tennis players. They stay in an athletic stance, they stay low and move with smaller, faster steps. They also know how to stop, cut, twist and turn. You don’t see many female tennis players tearing their ACL.

11. Strengthen the hamstrings, not just the quadriceps. The hamstrings (back of the thigh) are usually weaker than the quads in female athletes. The hamstrings help stabilize the ACL and can also help improve one’s vertical jump.

12. Protect yourself from overtraining and overuse. Avoid intensified or prolonged exercise over long periods of time, which creates additional friction in the joint and increases the risk of overuse injuries.

13. Minimize knee strain while cycling. Make sure the seat on your bike is at the right height and avoid high gears.

14. Check your athletic shoes. Worn or improperly fitted shoes can put the knees at risk. Outside of your workout, avoid wearing high heels on a regular basis.

15. Seek help for adjustment. Orthotics, custom-made foot supports, can help correct problems with foot or leg alignment.

Do exercises that strengthen the knee Perform these exercises to strengthen the muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes) that help stabilize and protect the knees:

1. Single leg, quarter bends: Holding on to a wall, lift and stretch one leg forward, slowly lower yourself a quarter of an inch by bending the other knee. Take your hip back as if you were going to sit down in a chair. Hold for five seconds, slowly rise up, repeat 10 times and switch legs.

2. Straight leg raise: Lie on your back, bend one knee with the foot on the floor; slowly raise straight leg about 12 inches off floor, keeping hips, lower back on floor; hold for five seconds, then lower slowly; repeat 10 times, then switch legs (add light ankle weights if comfortable, avoid this exercise if you have back problems).

3. Standing squats: This exercise has been shown to increase vertical jump and help create a contraction of the quadriceps and hamstrings. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Drop into a squat with your hips moving back as if you were sitting in a chair. Knees should stay in line with feet, no “wobbly” knees. Avoid excessive forward bending, keep your chest up and look straight ahead. It is important to keep the heels on the floor and not let the knees stick out in front of the toes.

4. Lungs: Stand straight, feet together, hands out to the sides. Take a comfortable lunge forward with one leg, keeping the knee over the foot and behind the toes. Sit down in the lunge until the knee of the trailing leg almost touches the floor. Keep your torso upright, chest up and chin up. Push the heel off the lead leg to stand up and step back to the starting position, then repeat the action with the other leg.

5. Stability ball leg curls: This exercise is great for strengthening the hamstrings. Lie flat on your back on an exercise mat, hands and arms down by your sides, place both heels directly on top of a stability ball. Make sure the stability ball fits your height. Lift the hips off the floor until the body forms a straight line from head to ankles. Perform a leg curl, bring the ball into the buttocks, return to the starting position, then repeat. Keep the hips up the entire time for 12-15 repetitions. Do 1-3 sets.

Stretches for Quadriceps and Hamstrings:

1. Standing quad stretch: While standing upright, reach with your right hand and pull the heel of your right foot up toward your buttocks. Keep the right knee pointing straight down. Hold for 20-30 seconds, switch legs. No jumping.

2. Standing hamstring pull: Stand facing an exercise bench, place the heel of one leg on top of the bench. Keep both knees soft, (slight knee bend). Bend at the hip, keep the chest up and reach with both hands to the toes. Hold for 20-30 seconds, switch legs. No jumping.

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