Do you find yourself with chronic aches and pains in your knees during exercise or day to day activities? Then give these exercises a try to get you feeling better and up and
running so you can participate in the activities that you enjoy!
Here are some simple exercises that you can do anywhere that will help correct the problem:
1.) Clam Shells - One of the root causes of the most common knee related issues is hip weakness. The hip abductors and hip external rotators are very important for knee control and stability. When weakness is present in these groups of muscles, pain is often felt particularly in the knee.
Lay on your side. You can use a pillow or towel rolled up to support your neck if desired. Bend your knees toward your chest, keeping your back straight and your feet aligned with your body. Keep your feet together, lift your top knee toward the ceiling. Keep your hips straight, not allowing yourself to roll forward when you lift your leg. Pause briefly, then slowly lower your knee back down to the start position. Do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions on each leg, 2-3 days per week.
2.) Glute Bridge - Having weak glutes contribute to knee pain, as well as having a negative effect on posture. The glute bridge is a great low impact exercise to strengthen the glutes, but also take any unnecessary pressure off of our knees.
Lay on your back and bend your knees so your feet are flat, and your fingertips can touch your heels. Keep your knees, feet, and hips in line with each other. Lay your arms by your side, keeping them relaxed. Tighten the muscles of your glutes and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Only raise your hips as high as you can without causing back pain. Pause, then slowly lower your hips down to the start position. Do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions 2-3 days per week.
3.) Hamstring Curls on Stability Ball - The goal with hamstring curls is to target the hamstrings, because when you contract them, the hamstrings help to stabilize the knee during compound movements such as squats and lunges, as well as prevent any excessive force on the anterior part of the knee during extension. This is a key factor when working to prevent knee pain and maximize lower body movements.
Lay on your back, placing the backs of your lower legs and heels on the top of a stability ball. Position your feet hip-width apart on the ball with your ankles, toes pointing towards the ceiling. Then contract your abdominal/core muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Try to maintain this muscle contraction throughout the exercise. Extend your arms out to your sides with palms turned to
the floor to help stabilize your body. Then press your hips upwards off the floor into extension by contracting your glutes. At the same time press the backs of your lower legs and heels into the ball for additional stability. Continue to press upwards until your legs and hips are straight with your torso and legs in alignment. Then contract your hamstrings to move your heels towards your hips while toes point away from your shins, while the soles of your feet are on top of the ball. Continue to pull your heels towards hips, raising your hips further off the floor. Maintain a stable torso, keeping it parallel with your upper thighs. Then repeat the process in reverse on the way back down. Do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions 2-3 days per week.
4.) Wall Sits - Isometric exercises like Wall Sits are an excellent and safe way to build strength in your legs without having a heavy impact on your knees. Your risk for injury is the highest when a force is placed on your muscles that exceeds the muscle's capacity to handle the load. Depending on the position of the joint, the muscles surrounding it can have different load capacities to handle stress. When we hold a position at a specific range for a specific period of time, also known as time under tension, we are able to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Stand with your back against a wall, with your feet about shoulder width apart. Slowly bend your knees, and keep your back and pelvis against the wall. Don’t bend any deeper than parallel. If you feel pressure or discomfort in your knees, adjust your position above parallel. Do 3 sets of 10 second holds 2-3 days per week. Increase by 5 seconds as you the difficulty decreases.
5.) Step Ups - Knee pain is more often than not an imbalance in the quadricep muscles. This imbalance leads to the patella, or kneecap, tracking getting pulled out of line which results in pain. Step ups are a great way to strengthen the muscles around the knees, and even out any muscular imbalances in your legs that could be contributing to your knee pain.
Place one foot on a box, bench, platform, or the lowest step on a staircase. Keeping your pelvis level, bend your knee and slowly lower the opposite foot to the floor. Lightly touch your toe to the floor, then rise back up. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each leg 2-3 days per week. If this is too easy, use a higher step.