09 Dec 30 Days of Training Female Athletes, Day 18: Balance Exercises for ACL Injury Prevention
I’m a huge fan of “building the base.”
Meaning, a female athlete must nail down balance and proprioception first before being able to undergo load with various weighted exercises like Pistol Squats, Split Squats, Single Leg RDLs and Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats.
It bodes well to start with just a single leg balance, like the Standing Ankle Flexion:
The standard I set for all of my young athletes is making it to 60 seconds without wobbling. Too, they must keep their free leg straight – ankle flexed and quadricep contracted. The posture must stay stacked with the shoulders hips and ankles lined up (no leaning back or shifting side to side).
Seems easy right?
I’ve had my fair share of jaw drops and eyeballs popping out of my face when I take an athlete through a basic evaluation like this and they get all but 10 seconds.
We’re going to have a problem here.
If a girl cannot balance on one leg on flat ground with no external load, how is she moving on the pitch under higher amounts of force in all movement planes?
So start here first and aim for over 60 seconds. 90 seconds is excellent.
Then, once nailed down, you can make balance more dynamic with Standing Cross Crawls:
A nice standard is 60 seconds each side, executing the reps slow and under control without losing balance.
For more balance exercises for female athletes, progressed with weights, get the year-round speed, strength and injury prevention program TOTAL YOUTH SOCCER FITNESS 365 HERE.