7 exercises to strengthen your knees and manage osteoarthritis
Do you find that climbing stairs or taking a long walk cause you pain or discomfort? If so, your knees may be problematic. The knee is a crucial joint that aids you in carrying out several responsibilities. That’s why knee strengthening exercises should be a part of your daily routine.
If the knee discomfort is not treated, it can worsen over time and have repercussions on the joints. However, a few knee strengthening exercises can also aid in the prevention of such diseases.
Fitness expert Robin Behl, one of the three forces behind The Tribe, shares a few exercises that can help you strengthen your knee to manage osteoarthritis pain and other knee or joint issues.
Benefits of exercise for knees
Stiffness is frequently a cause of knee pain. Inactivity can make the discomfort worse and make it more difficult to carry out regular tasks. Exercise, on the other hand, aids in the strengthening of all the knee-supporting muscles, preventing knee pain. Your range of motion and flexibility can both be enhanced through exercise. Remember, stronger muscles result in less impact and strain on your knee, which makes it easier for your knee joints to move.
Here are 7 exercises to strengthen the knees:
1. Backward walking
Behl says, “Depending on how bad the knees are, you can do it resisted or unresisted. You should probably take a sled or load some weights on a sled and pull it walking backward toe first.” Reverse walking can be used for rehabilitation if you have knee pain or have been injured, according to a study that was published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. This is because it has a very minimal impact on your knee.
2. Tibialis raises or Toe raises
Toe raises or toe lifts can strengthen your feet and improve your balance. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet, keep your back straight, and look forward. Lift your toes off the ground. Hold it for 2 seconds. Do not forget to breathe. Now lower your toes. Repeat six times and do three sets a day. “This is another one to strengthen the knees as if you have a strong tibia,” says Behl. Tibia protects the knee, and they are decelerating muscles, so it will definitely help.
3. The Patrick step
The Patrick step is one of the exercises that strengthen your VMO. The VMOs are the first four quadriceps muscles that contract when your knee is under load or pressure. Behl says, “This is the one where you are working a single leg where you work your knees over your toes.” This knee extensor will definitely strengthen your knees and help you regain balance.
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4. Lateral squat walks
This is the perfect lower body exercise that will help strengthen the adductors, which in turn will strengthen the glutes and protect the knees. Here’s how to do this:
- Put your leg parallel to the floor in a half squat stance. Keep your arms out in front of you extended.
- With your left leg, take a step to the side while lifting your hips and body as little as you can.
- Return to the starting position by pulling the right leg to the left leg. Repeat the exercise in accordance with the training schedule, and then reverse the direction and return to the starting point.
5. Hip mobility and ankle mobility
Performing a few hip mobility and ankle mobility exercises will free up the knee joint quite a lot which in turn will help it move with more freedom and protect it. You can perform exercises such as lunges quotes he left, butterfly hip stretch, frog stretch, etc.
6. Hamstring exercises
Your chance of developing knee problems increases if your hamstrings are weak. In order to alleviate knee discomfort by strengthening the muscles around the knee, you should concentrate on performing a few hamstring exercises. Behl suggests hamstring exercises such as Nordic curls can strengthen the knee. They specifically target the hamstring and involve careful lowering and raising of the torso while keeping the knees, feet, and lower legs held in place.
7. Reverse Nordics
Hamstrings are typically a vulnerable area for strains and tears especially in training, running and sports performance. Along with Nordic curls, “Reverse Nordics will also protect the knee,” says Behl.
The quadriceps and hip flexors are primarily worked during the body-weight exercise known as the reverse Nordic curl. It contains a significant eccentric component, which means the muscles are stretching as they are exercising. Although it is a very easy action to perform, maintaining precise positioning is essential to get the full rewards.