NFL running backs aren't the only ones who sprint, fall down and hurt their knees. In fact, recent study suggests that women athletes are more prone than men to injuring their ACL, the small ligament that tethers the thighbone to the shinbone. But that doesn't mean we have to take a seat on the bench or strap on preemptive knee braces. Help protect yourself by doing these simple exercises for our hips, glutes, and hamstrings this are the muscles that stabilize our knees:
- Mini Squat = With a stability ball at the small of your back, lean against the wall. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and two feet from the wall. Roll the ball up your backand squat down 60 to 90 degrees. Don't let your knees pass your toes or you'll put too much stress on your knee caps. Do these three sets of 12 to work your hip abductors, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Forward Lunge = Step your right leg forward into a lunge, your knee aligned over your heel. When your left leg grazes the floor. Repeat, leading with your left leg grazes the floor, push back up with your right. Repeat, leading with your left leg. Travel across the floor, keeping your abs tight and standing tall. Do three sets of 7 to 10 to work your hip abductors and glutes.
- Backward Lunge = Step backward with your left leg. Lower yourself by bending your right knee almost touches the floor. Then push yourself back up. Do three sets of 7 to 10.