3 Exercises To Strengthen Your ACL

An anterior cruciate ligament injury can be both extremely painful and frustrating. As it is one of the 4 ligaments in your knee responsible for keeping your bones moving in the right place, if it is injured or torn; you may be struggling with stability within the joint.

So we've come up with 3 simple exercises to do at home, which will help strengthen the muscles around your knee and improve your joint stability.


1. Single Leg Balancing

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Stand on one leg... wobble. The tiny movements you do to adjust your balance will strengthen the small connective tissues in your ankle.

If you want to make this exercise more difficult, you can reduce the stability of the surface you're standing on. You can stand on a pillow, specifically designed balance board, Bosu ball or trampoline. Closing your eyes will also challenge your balance to make it slightly more difficult.

To make it easier,  break it down into small timed chunks. For example if you can't manage to balance for 60 seconds, break it down int to 2 x 30s, 4 x 15s or 6 x 10s etc...

TIP: Get a friend to throw you a ball or something while you're balancing. This will make it less boring and challenge your balance. If you're a footballer, you can get them to throw you a football to head back.


2. 2 Jumps Forward, One Back

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Lay some hurdles out evenly in a line with a stride size space between them.
Stand at one end facing the hurdles and bend down into a squat. Jump up and over the first two hurdles, exploding through your legs, and landing softly with your knees and hips bent and your back straight but leaning forwards.
Jump backwards over the last hurdle from the squat position.

Repeat this sequence jumping forwards over two, then back over one. The aim is to spring quickly off the floor between each hurdle, minimising your time on the floor.


3. Heel Drops

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Stand on a step on one leg. Using your arms for balance, slightly bend your standing leg so that your raised heel drops below the level of the step. Tap the step below (or the floor) with your hanging heel, raise back up to the starting position. Do not put your weight into the step below, just tap it and raise up again.

To make it harder: hold something weight in your hands or make the surface unstable by placing a pillow under your standing foot. If you are doing this, make sure it is safe to do so and you are not at risk of falling and causing further injury!

To make it easier perform the exercise the same but only step down slightly so your heel just goes past the step.


Over to You!

These 3 exercises will increase your knee strength, reduce your pain and should help you management your symptoms.

Have you purchased our ACL rehabilitation programme yet? It's full of information on how to manage your injury, what is best to do to reduce the pain, how to stay positive, along with a daily exercise programme and pain and progress trackers to keep you on track. Take a look below.

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Arun Gray sports therapist strength and conditioning coach skegness

The author

Arun Gray is a sports therapist and strength & conditioning coach with over 15 years experience in the industry. He also has a personal history with chronic shoulder and back pain along with a range of other sporting injuries.

Arun writes about common injuries and aims to help people understand and manage their pain to prevent having to rely on national healthcare.

Read more about Arun