Patellar Tendon Loading for the High Jumper
by Kathleen O'Neill, DPT
In order to better prepare our quadriceps and patellar tendon to handle repetitive jumping and landing, we need slow and progressive loading. Jumping activities can put the patellar tendon under forces up to 8 times your bodyweight, so it’s critical to add in strength training to avoid overloading the tendon and decrease the risk of patellar tendinopathy, or “jumper’s knee”. Try including the following exercises in your routine.
Forward Translational Lunge to Rear Foot Lift (2-3 sets x 8 reps)
Start by holding a kettlebell either in a goblet hold or front rack position. Step forward into a lunge while controlling forward motion as your knee moves past toes. Then lift back foot up off the ground and hold for 3 seconds. Make sure your knee does not cross over midline.
Goblet Squat on Decline (2-3 sets x 8 reps)
Stand with heels propped up higher than toes (either on a box or on a slant board) with kettlebell in goblet hold. Squat down with equal load through both feet. Make sure knees stay in line with your feet and don’t cave inwards.
Forward Step Down to Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunge (2-3 sets x 8 reps)
Standing with a kettlebell in goblet hold or front rack position, slowly sit into a single leg squat while reaching the other leg forward to tap your heel to the ground. Then, keeping your core engaged, stand back up and swing the same leg through behind you and step back into a reverse lunge off the step.
If you notice any weakness or movement dysfunction, please reach out for an appointment!