Working the Knees
Let’s get those knees in shape!
Engaged, strong quads allow for a healthy space between the thigh bones and shin bones (femur and tibia/fibula). These three essential bones are supposed to glide by each other and never touch. The weaker your quads, the closer they come together, sometimes even touching. This can cause surface erosion around the knee area. Eventually, this contact will wear out the cartilage and result in meniscus tears.
These five easy exercises below can make a huge difference in the health of your knees. The exercises will help balance the strength of the quads in relationship to the hamstrings and, with practice, will hopefully alleviate your knee pain. You’ll be ready to hit the slopes this season worry-free!
Wall sit and variations
Pretend to be sitting in a chair and stay upright by pushing your back into the wall. Keep your feet no farther than shoulder-width apart and always keep your toes slightly in front of your knees.
Perfect body position
For more of a challenge, raise one heel then the other (marching in place)
Feeling confident? Cross one leg over the other
To get out of a wall sit, bend over and with your hands on the wall, push yourself off using your arms.
In a perfect, up-right position, lunge forward. The back leg (shin) should be parallel with the floor. Remember to keep your toes slightly in front of the front knee.
Things to remember:
- Keep your hands on thigh front leg to help with balance.
- This position is about the quad, not the hamstring, so put more pressure on the front leg than the back leg.
- Try and hold this position for a slow count of 30!
- Lunge on other side Hold for another count of 30.
Again staying perfectly upright, hold in your abs in to control balance and lunge sideways. Both hands on the front thigh. Remember to have your toes slightly in front of your bent knee.
Hold for a slow count of 30. Then do the other side for 30.
With your legs shoulder width apart, begin to sit back with your butt pushing out. Keep your weight on the full foot, not on the heels, and use arms in front to counter balance.
Hold for a slow count of 30. Stand relax and repeat for another 30!
HINT: It is a good habit is to hover a few seconds before slowly lowering yourself into the office chair. This is great for the quads!
Seated, lift one leg straight out in front. Hyper-flex the foot toward the shin to engage the quads. Really push hard to get the quad pumped up. You can point and flex your foot at least 10 reps.
Repeat with the other leg. You can also use a theraband as shown to add resistance, then point and flex your foot Do 10 reps per side.
Great idea to stretch the quads now...stay tuned for another post about stretches.