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Using Single Leg Box Squats for ACL Injuries

Single leg squat exercises serve as a tremendous asset for soccer players that are returning from an ACL injury. This is because the exercise involves a combination of strength, mobility, and stability of both the hip and knee. However, in order to do the exercise correctly, the load placed on the body must be appropriate. Starting off with a modified version such as incorporating a box or chair to sit on can serve as a safe way to start implementing the exercise. Here’s how you do it:

  1. First, find a bench, a box or any stable seat to sit on.
  2. Start the exercise in a seated position such that the injured knee is bent approximately 45-60 degrees with the foot on the ground and the other leg elevated and set your footing in order to stand up using one leg. You can also use the uninjured leg as support by placing the heel on the ground while keeping it straight. As you get more comfortable with the exercise, you should slowly start from a more difficult position- that being to start from a lower position and have your uninjured leg completed elevated.
  3. To execute the exercise, use your glutes and quadricep muscles to lean forward slightly to position your body weight into your working leg/foot and then stand up tall . S
  4. Slowly return to the starting position. Sit your hips back and control the lowering versus crashing down onto the seat.

Perform this exercise on both legs for about 3 sets of 10-15 reps focusing on being balanced and stable. A clear sign that you have to dial it back is if you notice your knees buckling inward or if you are unable to control the descent back into the chair. If this is the case, you may want to start with a higher chair or box or return to a more fundamental exercise such as squats or lunges.

We will discuss how to progress this exercise and modify it in later posts.

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