Do you suffer from knee pains?
Well, according to the arthritis foundation 37% of all Americans aged 40 to 60 will suffer from knee pains.
Have you ever thought about why this is the case? One of the biggest reasons goes back to how our natural bodies change as we age.
Sarcopenia is the natural loss of our muscles and since our muscles support our key joints. With our knees there are several muscles that should be strengthened to be able to facilitate good movements.
First…. its important to understand what muscles are important to supporting knee health.
Your quad muscle (vastus medialis obliques) are muscles that run along the side and front of your leg that attach to your knee. These muscles are critical to keeping your knee’s stable and absorbs shock when you are running and other weight-bearing activities.
If these muscles are weak, then you may experience additional pressure on your knee.
So to maintain good knee health, its important to strengthen the quads specifically your VMO.
The next muscle is your glutes aka your butt. I can already see you wondering wait mike what?
What does your butt must do with your knees?
Well, you see your glutes controls your hip adduction and abduction. Essentially, they prevent your hips from rotating. Imagine when you are running, you don’t want your hips to rotate as it would cause a major problem for your knees.
Well that’s what happens with your glutes are weak or asleep. Since most people sit a lot, its very likely that your glutes are asleep and this causes your feet to land in weird positions…causing a ton of shock and pressure on your knee joints.
So here are three exercises that you shouldn’t perform to strengthen your knees
Squats are a wonderful exercise and a great way to train your legs, however if you are known to have knee injuries and issues stabilizing your hips then this exercise may lead to additional pains.
During a squat, all of your body’s pressure is placed on your hinge point and when you perform a deep squat, you are extending your knee to the limit of its range of motion (not good).
Lunges is an exercise that requires a ton of stability and the impact can cause injuries to your knees as it requires proper placement. This exercise is one that should not be performed by people with injuries.
Seated Leg Extension
Seated leg extensions force your quads to place pressure eon your knees. At the same time when you extend your legs outwards it applies pressure on your ACL.
Four Safe exercises to strengthen your knees
Hip thrusts are when you lay down on the ground with your feet close to you. Push your hips up towards the ceiling and focus on squeezing your glutes. This exercise is low impact and an excellent to activate your glutes.
Lay on the floor with your back completely touching the ground. Lift 1 leg slowly hold for three seconds then lower it.
Reverse flutters are a great exercise to target your glutes. Lay on the floor on your stomach and lift up your legs and move the up and down.
Lay on the floor with your legs stack on top of each other on the floor. Open your legs 10 times on 1 side before switching. You can use a resistance band if you’d like.
Sit on a chair and lift up your leg. This is going to help you activate your quad in a very low impact manner.
So there you have it, 3 exercises that you must avoid if you want to fix your knee pains and 4 exercises that target the supporting muscles of your knees in a low-impact manner.
Mike Zhang is the founder of the MZF Group. He was a 2 time National Muay Thai Champion and a strength and conditioning coach to several professional athletes. He has over 14 years of experience as a Muay Thai Coach. He graduated from the University of Toronto on the deans list with a Masters Degree in science.