From squatting heavy to running hard, our knees take a lot of abuse.
There’s nothing inherently damaging about these types of movements, yet when you don’t move with great quality -of which we are all guilty of at times- it adds up and we feel the accumulation of these reps.
So it’s important that when we feel mechanical distress (the “niggles”) coming on, we take some time to give our bodies a little TLC.
#5: Banded TKE
The Banded Terminal Knee Extension helps strengthen your quad muscles in the last bit of their Range of Motion, ensuring that your knees are stable and that your knee cap keeps tracking in the correct alignment.
#4: Single Leg Balance Drills
Often knee discomfort comes from improper strength or control of the muscles on the lower leg and foot. Therefore taking off your shoes and taking some time to strengthen the muscles in your feet, ankles and calf is essential. A great way to do this is by challenging your balance by standing on one leg.
#3: Back-to-Wall Tib Raises
Everyone thinks about the calves because they are so often a prime mover in our explosive movements, like sprints and power cleans. However, training muscles on one side of a joint aggressively without strengthening their antagonist (muscle in opposite action – e.g. biceps & triceps) is setting you up for failure. The tib raise does just that by targeting the “shin muscle,” your tibialis anterior.
#2: Reverse Sled Drag
Another reason our knees get cranky is too much eccentric loading, which is the lowering or catching portion of the movement. An easy way to counter this is by doing concentric (raising) only exercises, which have no catch or lowering phase. Sled work is a great option for this, and by dragging the sled backwards you encourage loading the foot on bent toes and extension of the knee through the end of the Range of Motion.
#1: Seated Banded Hamstring Curls
Hamstring Curl variations are by far my top recommendation for knee health. Since it’s way more common for us to train movements that powerfully extend the knee, it’s imperative that we also do some work flexing the knee. And this variation of the hamstring curl allows for high reps and low tension, which drives nutrient-rich blood into the knee’s connective tissue promoting healing and flushing inflammation.
Did you find this helpful?
If so, I also released a Joint Health Bundle over on zoarfitness.com if you want some simple, effective routines to do before or after training to keep your joints healthy.