A new study from St Mary’s University, Twickenham has shown how basic strength training can change the loading of the knee in a way that could prevent injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures.
The research (Czasche, Cleather, Goodwin and Bull, 2018), published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, saw 16 untrained women between 18 and 28 years old split equally between intervention and control groups.
Before the test the performance of the participants in a landing task was assessed alongside a measure of their leg strength.
The intervention group trained for eight weeks targeting improvements in leg strength by doing basic strength exercises such as squats, hip thrusts and deadlifts while the control group continued with their usual recreational activities.
All participants were then retested using the same protocol as in the pre-test to see what impact the training had on those in the intervention group and how this compared to the control group.
The tests showed that the strength of the intervention group increased by an average of 35% whereas the control group showed no discernible difference.
The results showed that both groups had a post-test increase in gluteal muscle force during landing and a lateral to medial shift of the tibiofemoral force in both landings, however the magnitude of the increase in both of these were significantly greater in the intervention group.
Programme Director for Strength and Conditioning at St Mary’s Dr Dan Cleather said, “This study provides support for the contention that basic strength training of the posterior lower leg could be important in helping prevent knee injuries.”
“This study, undertaken as Maike Czasche’s MSc dissertation project, is an exceptional example of the practically relevant work that our students produce each year that can be used immediately by coaches and trainers to inform their practice. Whenever an MSc student is able to publish their work in a peer reviewed scientific journal it is an immense achievement, and I am pleased and proud that Maike has been able to contribute to the field in this way.”