7 exercises to get relief from knee pain
The knee is almost always the first joint when people start to “get old”. How many people do you know who have given up any kind of serious physical activity because of their “bad knees”? How many people avoid the gym because their knees are too tight? How many people use elevators to go up floors, avoid hiking because they can’t handle hills, or give up their favorite sports – just because their knees hurt?
This is too much. It’s a great shame, and it doesn’t have to be like this.
The knee is actually a very powerful joint. Surrounded on two sides and supported by powerful muscles, tendons and ligaments, supported by cartilage and fascia, and capable of great feats of recovery and regeneration, the knee is stronger and more flexible than most people realize. However, the knee has to be practiced and strengthened. It has to be involved in a variety of movements to keep it strong and prevent injury. If you want to reduce knee pain — or stop it before it happens — then these are the knee-strengthening exercises for you.
1. Couch Stretch
The couch stretch, a movement and term coined by Kelly Starrett of Ready State fame, is a stretch that eliminates hours of sitting. When we sit, our hip flexors relax into a flexed position. They are flexible but not flexible. It’s a passive twist that makes them tight and vulnerable. Then, when we go to do some squats or any other dynamic knee-centered sport or movement, we have to deal with the stress on the top of the knee.
Try squatting. Just a basic air squat. See how it feels to relax in the down position. Maybe it’s okay, maybe it’s hard. Either way, make a mental note of how you feel sitting. Next, try the Ku CH stretch for a minute or two on each side. Then try to sit again. You should feel much less pressure on your knees and more ability to rest comfortably in the down position.
2. Knee Circles
To improve knee circles, place your hands on your quadriceps, just above the knee cap. Allow the weight of your upper body to push down and rest on your hands. Then, do some slow knee bends, flexing and extending your knees to “set” your menisci. Start doing slow knee circles, first clockwise and then counterclockwise. Slowly, slowly and deliberately do about 30 seconds in each direction, and really feel like you’re hitting every angle of your knee.
Knee circles are great for people with meniscus problems. They help you compress every part of the meniscus and generate the stimulation needed to promote healing and regeneration. Because they are low-intensity, slow and well thought out, knee circles rarely hurt. If you feel sharp pain, try reducing the angle of flexion. These are a great warmup before a leg workout, or even done every morning as a warmup for life.
3. Tear Drop Squats
The teardrop squat is named for its ability to target the teardrop muscle of the quadriceps, also known as the vastus medialis oblique (VMO). Located on the middle portion of your quad, the VMO is an important muscle for controlling knee cap alignment, preventing knee pain, and improving the aesthetics (tear drop) of your legs. When your VMO is weak, your kneecap tends to tilt inward. Thus, strengthening the VMO through targeted movements can improve your performance and help prevent catastrophic injuries (many MCL and meniscus tears occur when the VMO fails and the knee bends inward). go).
Traditional leg workouts often don’t target the VMO enough, but the teardrop squat can help by maintaining an upright torso and keeping the feet on the balls of the feet as you squat down, very low between the glutes and calves. leave the place. at the bottom of the movement. This extremely deep knee position affects the VMO.
In this video , you can watch Mark Bell, who coined the term and came up with the exercise, show how it works. Set a resistance band on a squat rack and use as high or low as you can for assistance as you squat and push back up. Move your hands farther away for more support. Get them closer to each other for less cost.
Tear drop squats are a great auxiliary lift to throw in at the end of a workout, or even a couple sets as a warmup for heavy leg days.
4. VMO Step Down
The VMO step down is also a great exercise for strengthening the VMO that you can do almost anywhere. Stand on a step or a small box with one leg hanging off the edge and lower down, touching the heel of your hanging leg to the ground and then back up. Do not push off with the hanging leg; All the work comes from the foot that is planted on the step.
It’s all knee jerk. There should be no hip flexion. Keep your torso straight and upright. Do not bend or stoop at the hips.
5. Deep Knee Split Squats
To perform a deep split squat, start by reaching one foot behind you and one in front of you with your torso centered between the two. Slowly lower yourself into a squat, pressing forward until your knees go over your toes. Stay in this position for a while to feel the stretch in your ankles, knees and quads. Then, press back and up to return to the upright position. Be sure to focus on stretching your ankle and knee as you perform the exercise.
If these are too easy unweighted, progress to weighted ones with dumbbells, weight vests, or even barbells. They can be a valid strength training workout on leg days, or you can keep it light as an auxiliary work out.
6. Tibia Raises
The tibialis anterior is the muscle running along the front of your shin. It controls the range of motion and stability of the ankle, helps to absorb the impact of knee flexion, and, most importantly, is effective in most people who practice it. Much knee pain occurs because the tibia is too weak to control the knee during the strenuous impactive flexion that occurs during jumping and landing, running, and planting and lifting.
The tibia raise involves starting with your ankle in plantar flexion (pointing the toes down), then performing dorsiflexion (bending the foot toward the knee) against a load (weight, band, etc.). That’s it. You can do these standing or sitting. All that matters is starting in plantar flexion and dorsiflexion against the load.
You have a few options for having a tibia resection. The GIF below has my guy Brian attaching a dumbbell to the straps of his sandals. There’s also special equipment designed to help you do weighted tibia raises, or you can use resistance bands or weight room cable machines. Worst case you can even do them without any weights . Tibia raises are a great auxiliary lift on leg days.
7. Backward Weighted Hill Walk
Walking backward up a hill with a weight vest or carrying weights is a low-stress way to increase quad activation, strengthen (and control) the muscles around the knee, and blood and healing synovium in the knee Promotes fluid flow. This lubricates your knees and prepares you for the intensity ahead. The real beauty of backward climbing isn’t whimsy—it’s all concentrated. Doing these before any leg workout is a great way to warm up your knees without tiring them out.
You can also do a weighted backward sled drag using a prowler, weight sled or even an automobile.
If you suffer from knee pain or are worried about having it, incorporate these 7 knee-strengthening exercises into your training sessions. Even if you don’t have knee pain, there is no harm in strengthening your knees and the muscles that support them.
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