Do your basketball players have Valgus Knees?

By Jon Sanderson MS, CSCS, MSCC, USAW, NASM-CES, TPI, FMS

Head S&C Coach Michigan Basketball

What is a valgus knee?

A valgus knee position is when the femur internally rotates and collapses inward.

It is also commonly referred to as knock knees.  (See Diagram 1 Below)

Why is this a concern?

Studies show there is a link between athletes that exhibit valgus tendencies and knee injuries, specifically ACL tears.

Also, athletes that have Valgus knees are typically less efficient in movement skills

Diagram 1

Who is at risk?

There are more than 120,000 ACL injuries in high school and college athletes per year. 

Research shows that females are 4-8 times more likely to tear an ACL than their male counterparts. 

However, this does not exclude male athletes.  They too are susceptible to this injury.

Below are a few exercises that are recommended to improve Valgus Knee dysfunction:

RFE Split Squat w/ Band RNT

(See Diagram 2)

Diagram 2

Elevate the back leg and descend down into a squat.  A coach or partner should be pulling the band so the knee is being pulled inward.  The goal is to resist the inward movement and maintain a neutral knee while executing each rep.

Diagram 3

 

Band Defensive Slide

(See Diagram 3)

With the Band around the knees slide in a defensive position, typically 10 yds down and back would equal a set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goblet Squat w/ band around knees

(See Diagram 4)

With a band placed around the knees execute the goblet squat emphasizing a neutral knee (don’t let the band pull your knees inward)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manual Clams

(See Diagram 5)

Assume the clam position, laying on your side. 

Have a partner apply steady pressure downward as the hips open and close.

 

If interested in the Camp Sanderson S&C program powered by Blueprint Athletes App

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Jon Sanderson has been the head strength and conditioning coach for the University of Michigan men’s basketball team since 2009.

Regarded as one of the basketball strength and conditioning coaches in the business, Sanderson is the only strength and conditioning coach in NCAA history to participate in a Final Four as a player (Ohio State in 1999) and a coach (Michigan in 2013 & 2018).

Before joining the Michigan staff, Sanderson spent three years (2006-09) working at Clemson as the men’s and women’s basketball strength and conditioning coach, as well as the director of the Littlejohn Coliseum weight room. During Sanderson’s time at Clemson, the men’s basketball team won 20 or more games for three straight seasons — a first in program history. Also, during those three seasons, only North Carolina and Duke had more wins than Clemson in the ACC.

Prior to his time at Clemson, he served as the head strength and conditioning coach and sports nutrition coordinator for Olympic sports at Marshall University (2003-06). Before heading to Marshall, Sanderson was a strength and conditioning intern at North Carolina, working with the men’s basketball program (2002-03).

Throughout Sanderson’s career with the U-M basketball program, he has trained 11 student-athletes that have gone on to play professional basketball in the NBA, including MDarius Morris, Manny Harris, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Caris LeVert, D.J. Wilson, Derrick Walton, Jr. and Moritz Wagner.

 

 

 

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