Of all the complaints I receive, knee pain is a common one; it affects people of all ages. The reasons can be acute injuries or critical conditions. The main cause of knee pain apart from medical issues is weaker muscles of glute, quads and hamstrings. This kind of pain can be prevented by easy exercises. Strengthening your knees help to avoid such pain. Here are a few quick exercises you can do at your home to keep your knees far off from pain.
Single-leg glute bridge:
This exercise alone can help isolate your hamstrings and glutes. I am glad this exercise can be performed at the comfort of your home.
1. Lie on a yoga mat on your back, flat. This is your starting position.
2. Place your arms on your sides. Bend your left leg till the foot rests flat, place it firmly on the mat. Raise your right leg towards the ceiling.
3. Raise your glutes off the ground by uplifting your hips keeping your left foot firm. This should form a straight line from your chin to knee resting on your shoulders.
4. Return to starting position by lowering your pelvis.
Repeat equal number of sets for each side. If you are comfortable with this, then add dumbbell or barbell.
Alternating straight-leg raise:
Alternate leg raise works with your quads, without bending your knees. It helps to reduce the strain on the knee since it strengthens the quads and quads absorb shock before knees get affected by it.
1. Lie supine (on your back). Place hands under buttocks to support your pelvis. Raise your legs off the floor a little, till they are at right angles to your hip. This is your starting position.
2. Vertically raise one of your legs in air, keeping the other one straight and repeat with the alternating leg by pulling down your other leg and making it straight.
3. Ensure to keep your spine straight and breathe naturally.
4. Keep repeating and complete an equal number of repetitions on each side.
Add resistance using ankle weights or band, if your body finds this easy.
Lunges help to strengthen the legs and core. Quads and hamstrings are the major focus of lunges. Strengthening them help minimise the knee pain risk.
1. Stand up straight. Place your feet at shoulder-width and your hands on your hips or your sides. This shall be your starting position.
2. Take one foot backwards ensuring that weight is equally distributed between both legs. The knee of the leg you moved backwards, will just touch the floor. Lower the back leg straight down until it gently grazes the ground or close to it, creating a 90- degree angle in the front leg.
3. Push through the heel and midfoot of the front leg to return to standing, bringing your right foot back in line with your left.
4. Repeat on the alternate side. This is one rep.
Reverse lunges are also smoother on the knees compared to forward lunges.
Bulgarian split squat
Quadriceps is an important muscle which helps stabilize your knees. You can strengthen this by Bulgarian split squat.
1. Keep a bench behind you in a horizontal position.
2. Keep both feet at shoulder-width on floor. This is your starting position.
3. Step your right foot backwards, keeping the ball of your foot on the bench top. If needed, shuffle the left foot forward.
4. Bend the knees to 90 degrees approximately. Your ankle and your front knee should be aligned. Also, your back knee must hover just a little up the ground.
5. Push using heel of the left foot and right foot’s toe.
Complete an equal number of repetitions on each side.
Hamstring curl - fit ball
Hamstring curls strengthens the muscles along the outer thighs. The movements used in this exercise is involved in both running and walking. It not only helps you propel forward, but it also controls the force absorbed by the knee for body landing.
This exercise strengthens the hamstrings and avoids knee injury.
1. Lie flat on your yoga mat and elevate your feet on the fit ball.
2. Rest your arms on sides on the mat. Engage your belly button inwards. Gently lift your hips above the floor. Use your hamstrings and glutes for this. Now, you must be resting on the upper back. This is your starting position.
3. Maintaining the same position, bend your knees and bring your feet towards your glutes. In short, roll the fit ball in towards you.
4. Now roll away the fit ball keeping your hips elevated.
Preventing your knees from injury is possible if you keep your knees active. The muscles lying below and above the knees should regularly be strengthened to avoid the risk of knee injuries. Hence, I personally recommend to invest time in exercising to stay away from knee pain. I would like to hear from you people, if these help you. For personal fitness training or any questions on fitness, you can reach out to us.
Peter Barron, a personal fitness trainer in Dubai helps people to lead a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and good nutrition. He has been working with clients and helping them to change their lifestyles and achieve their goals for the past 10 years.