Lets start with the obvious…

Why Bother?

Two reasons:

  1. You want to be better – Performance
  2. We’re all getting older – Health

Performance

Professional Athletes perform the exercises you’re about to learn or see all the time. Whether they already have a weakness or not, top Athletes work on their joints all the time to maximise results from their training and improve performance in any given sport/event. They call this Prehab or Pre-Habilitation.

Health

We’re all getting older. We often take the health of our knees for granted. It’s important to keep your knees as strong and healthy as possible so your mobility doesn’t keep deteriorating as you grow older.

Whatever your reason, this book of exercises has everything you need to strengthen and mobilise your knees.

The Key Takeaway

Your muscles and joints all work in a chain. A strong tree has strong roots. Your goal is to work on building the strongest roots you can. Let’s explain…

Strong quads will help stabilise your knee, and strong hips, glutes, and core muscles prevent your hip from dropping and your knee from caving in.

Doing these exercises twice a week (or more if you are injury-prone) will keep your knees—and the rest of your body—in proper working order.

Knee Specific Strength & Mobility Exercises

Warm Up & Mobility

Holy Trinity of Mobility:

1. Soft Tissue Therapy helps restore length to the Soft Tissue

2. Stretching helps to restore Range of Motion to Movement Patterns

3. Joint Distractions help to improve the function of individual Joints

***IF ANY OF THESE CAUSE YOU PAIN, STOP IMMEDIATELY AND CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR, PHYSIO OR PHYSICIAN***

Ankle Band Distractions

Loop one end of a band around a sturdy base and the other around your ankle. Drop into staggered stance, with the banded leg in front of the non banded leg. Inch out until you feel tension and then drive the knee forward as far as you comfortably can. Keep the banded foot firmly on the ground (not up on your tippy toes) Feel free to rotate the ankle side to side as you drive the knee back and forth. Repeat on both sides for 45 seconds each.

Shin Roll Outs

Get into a pushup position with a foam roller at the base of your ankles. Turn your toe in towards the midline of your body in order to expose the muscles of the shin and address them. Press your shins firmly down on the roller and gradually inch up towards your knee. You completely control the pressure in this movement. For more intensity really lay your body weight into the foam, for less ease back on the throttle. I like trying to move my foot up and down during the rolling and search for hot spots. 45 seconds to a minute on each leg should suffice and free up those important lower leg muscles.

Wall Quad Stretch

Get up against the wall (facing away from the wall) in the bottom of a lunge position. Flip your back foot up against the wall with your toes on the actual surface of the wall. Your back knee is the axis point and really determines how much of a stretch you will get during this exercise. The closer the back knee is to the wall the more of a stretch there will be through the foot, ankle and quads. If you are looking to get a little adventurous and want to stretch the hip flexors out, focus on pushing the hips forward.

Hamstring Flossing

Get a hold of a tennis or lacrosse ball and a sturdy box or ledge of about mid thigh height. Sit on the box and place the ball underneath the leg, firmly on the hamstrings. Extend and bend the knee while applying pressure to the muscle. Let the ball go up and down the back of the leg while you continue flexing and straightening the leg. One minute on each leg should have your hamstrings and knees feeling like gold.

Band TKE

Take a exercise band and loop it around a sturdy base. Step into the band with one leg and place it just above the top of the knee. Walk out and get some tension in the band. From there bend and extend the knee, really focusing on straightening the knee completely and contracting the quad as hard as you can. Perform for 25 reps on each side and get ready to feel a ton of blood rush to that area.

TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae) Distraction

Loop one end of an your exercise band to a stationary object and loop the other end right underneath your butt. Get into a kneeling position with the banded leg in the back and the other leg in front of you (envision a kneeling lunge). Keep your torso tall and turn the banded leg out (internally rotating the hip). When you rotate the leg out you are really able to appropriately address the TFL as it’s a difficult area to stretch. Squeeze the glute on the banded leg side to really stretch the heck out of the TFL.

Basic IT Band Stretch

Stand tall with right leg crossed over left. Lean to the right (towards front leg) until you feel a stretch along the side of left leg. Hold for 30 seconds, breathing deeply the entire time. Repeat 5 times before switching sides.

Body Weight Exercises

These can be done anywhere and are great for getting started.

***IF ANY OF THESE CAUSE YOU PAIN, STOP IMMEDIATELY AND CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR, PHYSIO OR PHYSICIAN***

Squat jump

With your feet hip-width apart, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then jump as high as you can. Allow your knees to bend 45 degrees when you land, pause in deep squat position for 1 full second, and then jump again.

Walking single-leg straight-leg deadlift reach

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms hanging to the side of your thighs. Lift your right leg behind you. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, bend forward at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor while you reach your opposite hand to the floor. Return to the starting position, take two steps forward, then repeat the movement with the opposite leg.

Side lunge

Stand with your feet about twice shoulder-width apart. Keeping your right leg straight, push your hips back and to the left. Then bend your left knee and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Your feet should remain flat on the floor at all times. Pause for 2 seconds, and then return to the starting position. Complete all reps and switch sides.

Scissor box jump

Place your left foot on a bench with your right foot on the floor. In one movement, jump up and switch leg positions in midair. At the bottom position, pause for 1 second before alternating to the other leg.

Single-leg hip raise

Lie face-up, arms out to your sides at 45-degree angles, left foot flat on the floor with that knee bent, and your right leg straight. Raise your right leg until it’s in line with your left thigh. Then squeeze your glutes and push your hips up—your lower back will elevate. Pause, and return to the starting position.

Alternating drop lunge

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Keep your chest and eyes up, shoulders squared. Cross your right leg behind your left, and bend both knees, lowering your body until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Return to start and repeat, switching sides.

Gym Exercise

You may need gym equipment but the same exercise can be done without weight in most cases so don’t let it stop you from starting.

***IF ANY OF THESE CAUSE YOU PAIN, STOP IMMEDIATELY AND CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR, PHYSIO OR PHYSICIAN***

Squat

In a squat rack or cage, grasp the bar as far apart as is comfortable and step under it. Place it on your lower traps, squeeze your shoulder blades together, push your elbows up and nudge the bar out of the rack. Take a step or two back and stand with your feet shoulder width and your toes turned slightly outward. Take a deep breath and bend your hips back, then bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can without losing the arch in your lower back. Push your knees outward as you descend. Drive vertically with your hips to come back up, continuing to push your knees outward.

Front Squat

Set a barbell on a power rack at about shoulder height. Grab the bar with an overhand grip at shoulder width and raise your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Take the bar out of the rack and let it rest on your fingertips. Your elbows should be all the way up throughout the movement. Step back and set your feet at shoulder width with toes turned out slightly. Squat as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back.

Deadlift

Stand straight up with feet hip-width apart and shins one inch away from the bar. Grip the bar with a double pronated or reverse grip, bend knees and push them into your straight arms. Bring your chest up as much as possible and look straight ahead. Keeping your back flat, extend your hips to stand up, pulling the bar up along your legs to lockout.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Stand lunge-length in front of a bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest the top of your left foot on the bench behind you. Lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches the floor and your front thigh is parallel to the floor.

Romanian Deadlifts

Hold a barbell with a shoulder-width grip and stand with feet hip width. Bend your hips back as far as you can. Allow your knees to bend as needed while you lower the bar along your shins until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Keep your lower back in its natural arched position throughout.

Dumbbell Step Up

Stand behind a bench or other elevated surface that will put your thigh at parallel to the floor when you place your foot onto it. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and step up onto the bench, but leave your trailing leg hanging off.

Duncan Peters
Duncan Peters

My name is Duncan Peters. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years.


1 Response

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January 30, 2017

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