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Prevention of knee injuries

Prevention of knee injuries

The knee is a hinge joint and for it to function properly, all the muscles throughout the leg (ankle, knee and hip) need to be strong and flexible.  Training for knee injury prevention centers on developing overall leg strength, balance and flexibility. 


The squat is one of the best exercises for developing leg strength and should be a staple for most tennis players.  Using a squat rack, load a barbell with an appropriate weight.  Step under the bar and position the weight so the bar lays across your upper back.  Stand and step away from the rack.  Lower yourself into a squat position so the knees are bent to 90 degrees.  Drive with the legs and return to the starting position.  Make sure you maintain a normal curvature of the spine, push the chest out and up, and do not let the knees come forward past the toes.  Perform 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions of the squat.  Players with low back or knee pain should take precautions in performing this exercise.

Squat - Start Position
Sqaut - Down Position
Squat - Down position (side)

Quadriceps and hamstrings stretches: 


Flexibility in the quadriceps and hamstrings will allow the hip and knee to function properly.  To stretch the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh, lay on your left side and grasp your right ankle with your hand.  Pull the foot towards your buttocks to stretch the muscles.  Allow the hip to extend slightly to also stretch the hip flexor muscles.  To stretch your hamstrings, lay on your back and loop a towel or a piece of rope around your foot.  Keeping the leg straight, pull the towel to bring the thigh closer to your body.  You should feel a stretch in the back of the thigh.  Perform these stretches 2-3 times, holding each for 20-30 seconds.


quadriceps stretch
hamstring stretch

Additional exercises:

3 cone touches

Front squat

Figure 4 stretch

Monster walks

Medicine ball split step rotations

Medicine ball lunges with a twist

Single leg balance pulls



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