The knee is one of the hinge joints in our bodies that gets injured often due to the total compression force being put on it during the day. It allows flexion and extension movements on our legs. Whether you are an active athlete with knee pain, a teenager struggling with knee aching, or just a regular adult experiencing some sort of discomfort, you want to get rid of the knee pain.
We are strong advocates of a pain-free active lifestyle, so today, we are showing you how to make your knees bulletproof. It is important to remember that our muscles are meant to tear and repair, but our tendons and ligaments which connect the bone to the muscle do not have direct blood flow and take longer to both get stronger and heal. ACL strains or tears in the knee are very common and can happen due to chronic overuse with wrong movement patterns, or traumatic injuries.
Why Having Strong Knees Is Important?
Your knees support the bulk of your body weight and take most of the impact from regular activities such as walking, running, and jumping. Having strong knee joints is a major part of living a pain-free life when performing an activity. There are millions of people suffering from knee pain in one way or another. Moreover, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 1 million people replace their knee joints every year in the US. Surgery should be your last option if you experience any sort of knee pain.
Keeping healthy knees should be our priority for living a fulfilling life. Strengthening the muscles in our legs will help support the knee joint. Both knee pain and surgery can be prevented by strengthening the stabilizer muscles and increasing training load slowly over time rather than fast. For example, if you usually do 10-30 squats in one training session, doing 1000 squats would overload your system and increase your risk of tendon and ligament injuries. Your muscles will tear and repair, but tendons and ligaments may be damaged and do not heal like muscles do.
Having strong front muscles (quadriceps) and back muscles (hamstrings) on our legs helps our knee joint absorb stress, and strong hip muscles will help the knee to move correctly. Flexibility also plays a big part in having stronger knees. Stretching before and after a workout is a great way to reduce stress on our knee joints, but when or how much you stretch depends on the workout that you are doing. Stretching does not only help with reducing stress, it also helps with decreasing soreness of the muscles. For most exercises you don't need much more but a yoga mat.
Now, let’s look at some of the best exercises to make your knee joints strong and flexible.
Top 5 Best Exercises To Bulletproof Your Knees
1. Quad Set
Sit on the ground with your feet pointing forward. Start flexing your quadriceps and imagine that you are pushing your knees down. Mind muscle connection is very important when doing this exercise!
Repeat for 2-3 sets x 10 reps per leg and hold 3-4 seconds on each rep.
2. Straight Leg Raises
Sit on the ground as in the previous exercise. Flex your quadriceps hard and lift one of your legs. Try to keep your foot as straight as possible without bending your knee. Reach a position where you start to feel the burn in your hamstring and hold for 3-4 seconds.
Repeat for 2-3 sets x 8-10 reps per leg.
The simpler version of the Hip Thrust. Lay on the ground with your feet touching the ground, banded in the knees. Lift your torso until you reach a horizontal position and squeeze your glutes.
If this is too easy for you, lift one of your legs and hold it straight as you reach a horizontal position.
You can also use a resistance band for banded bridges.
Repeat for 3 sets x 10 reps.
4. Quadriceps Foam Rolling
Put your hands in a push-up position, shoulder width, and lay on a foam roller with one of your legs on top. Rollback and forth and keep a slow pace while performing the exercise.
You can adjust the pressure with your hands or even lift your other leg to make it harder.
Repeat for 2 sets x 10 reps per leg.
5. Clamshells and Reverse Clamshells
Lay on your side and angle your legs, with a resistance band around your knees and ankles. For clamshells, open your knees and make sure that your hip does not fall back but stays perpendicular to the floor. For reverse clamshells, put something between your knees such as a towel, and open your feet.
Repeat for 3 sets x 20 reps per leg.
Preventing knee injuries is only possible by maintaining decent strength and flexibility in your legs. Having strong knee joints and surrounding muscles is vital for your everyday life and shouldn’t be neglected as it could have consequences. It is hard to make an effort now for something that may happen in the future, but strong and healthy knees are like free health insurance, especially as you age. Imagine all the things you can keep doing with strong knees!
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