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Did you know that female athletes are 4-8x more likely to suffer a season-ending ACL injury than male athletes?

Did you know that there are many factors that contribute to ACL injuries beyond female physiology that could be contributing to this?

Did you know that the majority of ACL injuries are non-contact and are often due to planting, cutting, and landing maneuvers on the pitch? 

Did you know that women tend to be “quad dominant” and strong hamstrings and glutes are essential to landing properly and overall athletic performance?

Whether you did or didn’t know any of that until now…IT’S OK!

Related: Female Athlete Physiology & Injuries

Female athletes have long been 1) under informed about their own bodies and biomechanics, 2)  underrepresented in research studies around athlete performance, and 3) under-resourced when it comes to facilities, footwear, gear, and simply opportunities to play and train from a young age.

Knowing the multiple risk factors of injury in football shouldn’t deter you from getting out there and playing the game you love though. That being said, we should always be looking for ways to support our bodies through proper stretching & warmups, as well as strength & conditioning. 

Related: Shop the comfort and support of female-specific football boots

One way female athletes can support their knees is to ensure they are strong in their hamstrings, glutes, and core. Today we’re focusing on those hamstring specific exercises for soccer players and female athletes alike. You can also check out some of these exercises on our Instagram and Tiktok channels! 

1. Partner Hamstring Falls

Working out with a teammate? Find a mat at the gym or a clear spot on the grass to kneel with your back facing your partner. Once your partner has hold of your ankles, begin to lean forward at the knees while keeping your back straight and core strong (don’t bend at the hips). Once gravity begins to take over, catch yourself with your hands and push back up brightly to the original position.

2. Single Leg Hamstring Curls for the Gym

Working out at a local gym? Hop on the leg extension / curl machine and add single leg hamstring curls to your gym routine. You can start with 3 sets of 10, 12, then 16 reps and increase weight as you go by about 10%. 

@idasports Did you know that women and girls tend to be "quad dominant" and it's considered one of the many factors contributing to greater risk of ACL injury? Here are some hamstring-specific excersizes you can focus on to better support your lower body! #idasports #workout #hamstring #excercise #soccer #foryou #fyp ♬ sonido original - NeySpace

3. Dumbbell Romanian DeadLift (RDL)

This one can be done at home or in a gym. Grab a dumbbell or other gym weight, somewhere between 10-15 lbs to start, and hold between your hands. With a dumbbell in each hand, stand in an upright position with your feet shoulder width apart and a little bend in the knees. Sending your hips back, keep the weights close to your body until your hands are at your shins. With a neutral spine, drive through your heels to get back to upright. Squeeze those glutes at the top! We recommend 3 sets again with the 10-12-16 reps and working your way up with weights from there.

Female athlete bending at the hips holding a dumbbell weight doing an RDL exercise wearing IDA Spirit indoor soccer shoes for women.

 These are just a few suggestions to get you started! If you want to build a more holistic strength and conditioning plan to support your on-field performance, you should work directly with a sport-specific performance coach to build that plan. Then you’re on your way!