Healthy Knees Exercises and Best Practices.

Most athletes in athletics that involve jumping have experienced some difficulties with their knees at some stage in their career. Athletes can suffer from a wide range of issues in their knees, rather than a single source of discomfort. Numerous causes could be responsible for the resulting pain in the knees.

For many athletes, there is usually one key factor keeping them from achieving their top performance. This is why it is not possible to advise an athlete who has problems with their knees to just do one certain exercise and expect to be cured; instead, multiple possible causes and solutions should be considered.

The usual causes of damage to the knee tend to be related to an issue with the knee cap when moving the joint, jumping with the quad muscle as the primary movement force, problems with using the hip muscles properly, limited mobility, structurally weak feet, not enough elasticity in movement patterns, or too much elasticity in these patterns.

Let’s delve into these explanations and no longer be scared of suffering from sore knees!

Commandments of Healthy Knees

1. Have strong and mobile hips

 

It is usually not the knee itself or the quadriceps muscles that are causing pain in the knees.

Typically, when there is an issue with the knees, it can be traced back to an absence of hip regulation, which in turn results in improper tracking of the knee (the knee does not work as intended). Additionally, it could be caused by excessive pressure sent through the knee.

Typically, an absence of hip control is caused by a lack of general hip strength, for which exercises like low bar back squats, hip thrusts, single leg squats, monster walks and fire hydrant movements will be able to address the underlying strength issues.

A mobile groin is important too. Perform stretches that help you achieve a deep squat easily daily to improve hip mobility; it’s as easy as it sounds.

2. Have good hip control

In combination with having powerful, mobile hips, there also must be an aspect of hip regulation during movement, especially in single-leg actions, since any kind of dynamic action (even jumping with two feet) has a one-sided element to it.

Normally when we injure our knee, the related gluteus muscle gets less active and decreases our ability to use that leg. This creates a destructive pattern: an injured knee leads to the glute being inactive, which then causes more pain in the knee, which leads to the glute being even less active, and so on.

To battle against the task at hand, it is essential to utilize a combination of low-paced, limited-range pistol and skater squats, with the appropriate tracking of the knees. It is advisable to practice these exercises in front of a mirror to confirm that the knee is positioned directly over the toe, not bending inwardly.

Performing these lifts at a less swift pace is quite valuable, as taking your time on the eccentric portion (lowering) of the movement will fortify the neurological connection to the muscle group, as Pavel Tsatsouline explained.

3. Be smooth

Athletes who lack gracefulness in their movement are more likely to sustain injuries. The progressive application and relinquishment of strength are critical in keeping peak joint forces minimum.

Do some plyometric exercises not focused on your jump height or performance output over the next few months and observe how it affects your physical health and the way you move.

Having a fluid motion implies that one needs to stay quiet, so minimizing the sound of plyometric exercises is necessary. Eventually, this concept will also boost performance. Moving in an agile manner will help one become more flexible, as fluidity in movement will help gain maximal benefit from the stretch-shortening cycle.

4. Learn to squat slowly, and with the correct knee-hinging motion

This is a big one. When performing a squat, the knees should stay aligned with the toes. Athletes will often attempt this, but not usually do it effectively. Making sure the shin is correctly positioned entails having it move in an arched pathway from the ankle to the line delineated by the 2nd and 3rd toes.

Most athletes will measure their strides around the big toe of the foremost foot, or even more internally. Athletes need to deliberately move their knees outward to run correctly.

Performing goblet squats correctly, with the help of the elbows pushing the knees outward as you reach the bottom, is a great technique to help athletes learn without constantly reminding them to do it.

Slow, controlled eccentric bilateral squats can be a beneficial exercise for building the tendons and ligaments connected to the knee joint.

5. Do plyometrics on a soft surface and watch volumes

 

One must be aware of the surface they are working on to effectively perform plyometric exercises, as they require a rapid rate of strength generation. The second place is rubber mats. Under no circumstances should you perform plyometrics on concrete or wooden surfaces.

If you do not possess any past experience with knee problems, you can complete plyometric exercises having minimal amounts on tougher surfaces. However, if you are suffering from any knee issues, it is best to limit your elastic activities to the softest surface that is available.

Instead of doing plyometrics, attempt to move some of your jumping exercises onto the grass if it is achievable.

6. Foam roll your IT band, erring on the side of the quadriceps

Using a foam roller on the IT band may alleviate some issues with the knee cap following a certain path, especially for athletes who emphasize their hips.

Athletes with a preference for hip-dominant movement patterns who create substantial force with their glutes will channel this force along the IT band, potentially resulting in the lateral side of their leg feeling slightly tighter than the medial side.

To balance things, use a foam roller on the iliotibial band and outside quadriceps to make them more flexible. This kind of intervention generally provides relief for athletes who have hip-related problems, and it has been one of my favourite procedures to use in my preventive rehab methods.

7. Use a voodoo band

They can’t really bring an end to problems related to knee tracking, so don’t rely on them to permanently take away your soreness, instead, you should use them to make it more bearable while you remedy your main issues.

Strengthen your muscles

Strengthening your muscles gives your joints better support. Even a little extra strengthening makes a difference! Concentrate on the muscles near the patella, hips, and hip joint to prevent or alleviate knee discomfort.

Having a well-developed core is vital for keeping your knees in top shape. Exercising to increase the strength of your muscles will take some of the strain off of your knees, aiding them in staying balanced and secure.

Choosing the right strength training exercise is key. If you have issues with your joints, stay away from engaging in movements that are done quickly and repeatedly.

If you have no idea what activities you should perform, a physical therapist can advise you on specific workouts to improve some regions and demonstrate the correct way to execute them.

Healthy Knee Exercise And Practices

1. Leg lifts

Straight Leg Raise | Illustrated Exercise Guide

The quadriceps in the front of the thigh and the abdominal muscles in the stomach are used.

  1. Lie down on the floor with the back flat. Use a yoga mat, folded blanket, or exercise mat for comfort on a hard floor.
  2. Keep the left leg straight and bend the right leg slightly at the knee, bringing the foot closer to the body.
  3. Pull the abdominal muscles inward by imagining the belly button pulling down toward the floor. Doing this should bring the lower back down against the floor and help provide extra support during the exercise. Place a hand beneath the lower back to make sure that there is no space between the small of the back and the floor. If there is space for the writing, gently push the lower back down on top of the hand.
  4. Slowly lift the left leg without bending the knee. Keep the toes pointed toward the ceiling and stop when the leg is about 12 inches off the floor. It should not be higher than the bent knee on the right leg.
  5. Hold the left leg up for 5 seconds.
  6. Slowly lower the leg back down to the floor. Do not put it down too quickly or let it drop.
  7. Repeat two more times with the same leg.
  8. Switch sides and repeat
2. Standing hamstring curls
Hamstring Leg Curls: Benefits, Muscles Used and More (With Pictures!) - Inspire US

The hamstrings in the back of the thigh and the gluteal muscles in the buttocks are used in this exercise.

  1. Stand straight with the knees only 1–2 inches apart. Hold on to a stable chair, the countertop, or another object for balance.
  2. Slowly bend one knee behind the body, lifting the heel off the floor while keeping the thighs aligned. Continue to lift the heel in a smooth motion until the knee bend reaches a 90-degree angle. Keep the straight leg slightly bent to avoid locking it.
  3. Hold the bent leg up for 5 seconds and then slowly lower it to the floor.
  4. Repeat two more times with the same leg.
  5. Switch sides and repeat.

What not to do

  • Do not point the toes or flex the foot on the lifted leg. Allow the foot to remain in a neutral, flat position
3. Hamstring curls on a weight bench
Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Extension / Curl Machine Review

Muscles involved: Hamstrings and gluteal muscles.

This is an altered version of the standing hamstring curl. One can attempt this exercise if they have access to a weight bench that is specifically designed for this activity. The difficulty level of the exercise might exceed that of the standing hamstring curl, contingent on the amount of weight one is lifting.

  1. Lie face down on the bench with the knees close together. Grip the handles for stability.
  2. Tuck the feet under the weight. The weight should sit just above the heels.
  3. Slowly bend both knees, using the force of the legs to raise the weight up. Continue to lift the weight in a smooth motion until the knees bend at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Hold the weight up for 5 seconds and then slowly lower it back down.
  5. Perform up to 15 repetitions (reps).

Muscles involved: Quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles.

  1. Use a large, sturdy stool or exercise platform no taller than 6 inches.
  2. Step up onto the stool with the right foot and allow the left foot to follow behind. The left foot should not be on the stool but should hang behind it.
  3. Keep the body weight on the right foot and hold for up to 5 seconds.
  4. Slowly lower the left foot down and then follow it with the right foot.
  5. Switch legs, stepping up with the left foot first.
  6. Repeat.

4. Single-leg dip

8 Knee Exercises and Stretches: Orthopaedic Specialists: Orthopedics

Muscles involved: Quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.
  1. Use two high-backed, stable chairs, placing one on either side of the body with the chair back next to the arms. Place a hand on the back of each chair for balance.
  2. Lift your right leg about 12 inches from the ground. All weight should be on the left leg.
  3. Slowly bend down a few inches, pushing weight onto the heel of the supporting leg.
  4. Hold for 3–5 seconds.
  5. Slowly straighten up.
  6. Repeat and switch sides.

What not to do

  • Do not lean backwards when lifting the leg. Keep the back and upper body straight.
  • Do not allow the knee to move forward over the toes in the supporting leg.
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5. Get moving

It is essential to keep your joints healthy, particularly your knees, by engaging in activity. The more you move, the less stiffness you’ll experience. Make sure to interrupt your static positions often, be it when you’re reading, watching television, or using a computer. Take the opportunity to stand up from your workstation at the office and stay active during the day.

Exercises that are less abrasive on the joints can be a good choice for people with delicate joints. Exercises such as going for a stroll, swimming laps and riding a bike can assist in alleviating rigidity in your knees while constructing muscle.

When strolling, pick even ground and abstain from activities that place extra strain on your knees, such as running down steep inclines or doing deep knee bends.

6. Maintain a healthy weight

Carrying extra weight can put lots of strain on the knees and other joints. If you are carrying excess weight, each time you shed a pound you will reduce the pressure on your knees by four pounds! For instance, if you have an additional 20 pounds of body weight, your knees endure an extra 80 pounds of force.

The extra force applied puts additional tension on your hips and back, leading to further suffering in those regions. Keeping your BMI at a proper level will aid your knees to feel better and reduce the chance of being hurt.

7. Keep your bones strong

As people age, their bones become less dense and less strong due to a decrease in the activity of the body’s mechanisms for rebuilding bones. Suffering from a decrease in bone density can give rise to different problems, such as knee pain due to osteoarthritis.

To decrease the risk of hurting yourself and to fortify your bones, make sure you are obtaining an adequate amount of calcium.

Consuming calcium does not have to solely involve drinking milk; there are many options with lower fat content which provide a good level of the nutrient. Opt for these calcium-filled foods to preserve healthy knees:

  • Yoghurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fish
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Spinach
  • Bok choy

Jumping and stomping with a bit of force can be beneficial in keeping your bones strong. Do 5 to 10 toe-stamping movements with each foot twice a day.

Stomp with enough pressure to crush a can. Crushing cans before depositing them in the recycling container is a simple way to add to your muscle development every day.

8. Increase range of motion

Most people’s joints get stiff with age. To keep your knees flexible, concentrate on preserving a good range of motion. It is evident that individuals who are not restricted in their range of motion experience less knee pain, especially if the knee can be completely extended.

Sit on the floor or bed, place a cushion beneath your foot, and use your leg muscles to press your knee down carefully without overdoing it and causing hurt.

9. Don’t forget to stretch

Stretching helps to maintain a well-conditioned, flexible body. This will reduce the chances of you having issues with your knees due to excessive use. Exercises that concentrate on the hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps take the tension off of the kneecaps and knees.

Step-ups, straight-leg lifts, and hamstring curls are all fantastic exercises to guard the knees. Stretching exercises that are specially designed to increase mobility in the hips, for instance, the butterfly stretch, could help with reducing knee pain.

 

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