Jul 26, 2022Exercises to Improve Knee Strength and Flexibility
As the name suggests, runner’s knee is one of the most common running injuries, and it’s also one of the most annoying to beat once it strikes.
According to Michael Harrop, specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist at Pure Sports Medicine(opens in new tab), it can account for up to 30% of running injuries and the cause is usually a sudden change in training.
“This injury is usually from overtraining caused by increasing the volume, speed or intensity of the sessions,” says Harrop. “For example, it’s often seen in runners who rapidly change their training when preparing for a big event such as a marathon.” Or, let’s say, starting to run every day to fend off the lockdown blues.
A recent article from CoachMag.co.uk shared some sample workouts to improve overall knee strength, particularly for runners.
Below is an excerpt from the CoachMag.co.uk article.
To help strengthen and condition your body so it is better prepared to deal with the demands of running, and thereby protect against runner’s knee, follow this workout. Harrop recommends doing two rounds of the following seven exercises three times a week.
- Roll Down
- Sets — 1 | Reps — 10
- Why — Runners get stiff lower backs and hamstrings. This exercise stretches them both.
- How — Stand tall and curl your head, chest and trunk down, slowly and steadily reaching towards your toes. When you reach your limit, gently tighten your glutes and slowly reverse the direction to curl back up. Think of stacking each segment of your spine on top of one another.
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Sets — 3 | Reps — 8, each leg
- Why — This improves single-leg balance while strengthening your glutes, quads and hip muscles.
- How — With one foot on a low bench, hold a weight in your opposite hand and slowly squat up and down. Keep your shin near vertical and your knee in alignment with your foot.
- Fire Hydrants
- Sets — 2 | Reps — 15, each leg
- Why — This activates your gluteus medius, helping to stabilize your pelvis and reduce rotational forces on your knee.
- How — With a resistance band around your knees stand on one leg with a slightly flexed knee and lift your other leg out to the side slowly, then bring it back again.
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- Bent Knee Heel Raise
- Sets — 3 | Reps — 15, each leg
- Why — Bending your knee activates the soleus muscle, which is essential for shock absorption as your foot lands on the ground.
- How — Stand on one leg with your fingertips lightly against the wall for balance. Bend the knee on your standing leg slightly, then raise and lower on your toes, keeping your knee bent. To make it more difficult, hold a weight in your hand.
To read the full story from coachmag.co.uk, click here.