Jul 27, 2017
Saving the Knees

Knee injuries are all too common among athletes. Sports can wear down the knees and force athletes into a variety of potentially dangerous positions and movements. So what are some strategies for decreasing the chances of knee injury? A blog at BreakingMuscle.com suggests giving the following exercises a try.

Banded Leg Extensions:

Get into a seated position and wrap a resistance loop around the ankles. While keeping the knees in line with each other, pull the toes towards the shin and extend the knee out as straight as possible. Then lower the foot down while keeping tension on the loop and repeat. This allows athletes to control their range of motion and safely strengthen their quad while taking tension off their knees.

Terminal Knee Extensions:

Start by attaching a resistance band to a stationary object, such as a squat rack, and place it around the top of the calf muscle below the knee joint. Face the anchor point and alternate flexing the knee forward and extending it back completely against the band. Try to focus on squeezing the quad and straightening the knee as much as possible. Be sure to keep the knee in line with the ankle instead of letting it cave in.

Goblet Squats:

Feet should be positioned wider than hip width with toes pointing out at about a 45-degree angle. While holding a weight, or using just body weight, stay tall and drop the hips down towards the floor while the knees track over the ankles and toes. Continue doing this for the desired number of reps. This exercise works the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, and puts minimal stress on the knees. (A more detailed look at the goblet squat can be found here.)

If an athlete has suffered a catastrophic knee injury such as an ACL, MCL, or meniscus tear, the road to recovery can be long and difficult. And even after they make a recovery and are ready to start training again, it’s important to do everything possible to protect them from experiencing another injury. One of the most common challenges for an athlete who has had injuries is how to effectively train their quads without putting dangerous stress on their knees. These three exercises make it possible.

Further, when an athlete is experiencing knee soreness or is putting a lot of stress on their knees because of their sport or position, incorporating some of these exercises into their training may help. By limiting the amount of stress they put on their knees during training, they may be in a better position when it comes time to compete.

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