There are many components that can make someone susceptible to ACL tears. With that, there are many components that you must correct and build. The components we will look at are the strengthening of the Vastus Medialus Oblique (VMO) and gluteal group.
Through the use of the clamshell exercise we can strengthen the important gluteal muscles that are responsible for hip external rotation. By strengthening the hip external rotators you can help prevent femoral internal rotation on the tibia. This is important because this femoral internal rotation can lead to putting the ACL on stretch and thus leading it susceptible to tearing. An article published in 2009 in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy showed the importance of this muscle group. One study in the Journal of Athletic Training said “The clamshell (CLAM) activity incorporates open-chain hip abduction and external rotation and often is used very early in rehabilitation when great weakness of the abductors and external rotators exists.” (McBeth) They go on to say how the combination of the external rotation and abduction hits the gluteal muscles really well. Further supporting the effectiveness of this exercise.
Quadriceps strengthening as a whole is so important in ACL recovery and prevention. A specific muscle the garners a lot of attention in the quadriceps is the Vastus Medialus Oblique (VMO). The Journal of Athletic Training has articles showing the importance of the VMO and quadriceps in dynamically supporting knee stability. There are multiple effective techniques for strengthening these muscles but we are going to look at leg press with a ball squeeze. With this, we get that all-important quadriceps strengthening while the ball squeeze forces the VMO and adductors to contract and do added work.
There are more components and exercises to consider in your ACL recovery or prevention program, but this is a good progression depending on where your athlete is at physically.