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Can’t Wait To Eliminate Knee Pain? Try These 8 Exercises To Strengthen Your Knees

Can’t Wait To Eliminate Knee Pain? Try These 8 Exercises To Strengthen Your Knees

We can’t deny that our knees are one of the most important parts of our bodies. Whether you play football, swim, do the housework or drive a car, your knees are essentially the ones bringing your forward, getting you to places and helping you get things done. Knee pains are never to be trifled with.

Muscle Groups Supporting Our Joints

knee_anatomy

    As you can see from the illustration above, our knees are intricately structured with various ligaments, muscles, and bones. With ligaments, you might have heard once or twice about the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and how it has ended the careers of many sportsman and women because it is essential for normal knee function.

    Just as important as our knee ligaments are the supporting muscle groups surrounding the joints. Simply by strengthening your supporting muscle groups, you’ll strengthen your knees and ligaments supported by them.

    Take note that the following 8 exercises involve low impact movements and are specially chosen with the purpose of strengthening and restoring balance to the support muscle groups, resulting in strong knees with stability.

    1. Seated Straight Leg Raises

    Seated leg raises are one of the easiest knee strengthening exercises you can do at the comfort of your own work desk. Most importantly, it works the quadriceps which is the large front muscle of the thigh.

    two_chairs

      Instructions:

      Step One: Sit on a chair with one leg on another

      Step Two: Simply lift one leg and straighten for 5-10 seconds

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      Step Three: Slowly lower down your leg onto the other chair and repeat for 5 – 10 times for each leg

      2. Seated Bent Leg Raise

      skimble-workout-trainer-exercise-seated-leg-lifts-3_iphone-1

        The seated bent leg raise is similar to the seated straight leg raise but this time, bent your leg in a 45 degree angle and hold it there for about 30 seconds. Repeat for 4 repetitions for each leg. Seated bent leg raises are best for the hip flexors which is the muscle greatly involved in supporting walking, running and standing.

        3. Abductor Raises

        You would want to take note that this exercise has been recorded by doctors in the Journal of Romanian Sports Medicine Society to help patients with knee pains, drastically. The abductor raises is an exercise that helps strengthen your abductor muscle groups such as buttocks and lateral hip region.

        side_hip_abduction

          Instructions:

          Step One: Lie on side with arm supporting your head

          Step Two: Straighten both legs out, you can bend lower leg slightly to support body

          Step Three: Lift straightened upper leg up and hold for 5-10 seconds. Do 10-12 repetitions per leg

          4. Hamstring Curls

          When experiencing knee pains, you won’t quite exactly know where the pain is. Sometimes, it could even occur at the back of the knee. To reduce the pain, hamstring curls is a great exercise to keep those thighs toned and to strengthen those hamstrings.

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          trail-leg-curl-400x400

            Instructions:

            Step One: Stand against a pole or a chair

            Step Two: Lift your leg up towards your buttock, keeping your foot pointing to the ground

            Step Three: Hold your foot in the position for 5 – 10 seconds

            Step Four: Repeat for 15 repitions per leg

            5. Step Up

            The step up is an overall strengthening exercise for your entire lower body especially the supporting muscles for your knees. However, do note that if you experience discomfort during the step up exercise, lower the height of the step.

            step-up

              Instructions:

              Step One: Just like climbing stairs, put one foot up the step

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              Step Two: Lift yourself to place the other foot up, using the foot to support yourself while lowering the other

              Step Three: Repeat for 1 minute before changing to the other foot to step up first

              6. Spinning

              Unlike slow jogging, spinning on a stationary bike doesn’t put much impact on your knees and it helps strengthen your ligaments and surrounding muscles around your knee.

              sole-fitness-sb700-exercise-bike

                Instructions:

                Spin 10 minutes every day with light resistance

                7. Short Arcs

                Short arcs are the quintessential exercise for knee strengthening, widely used for rehabilitation after knee surgery or injury.

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                  Instructions:

                  Step One: Lay on your back

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                  Step Two: Place a foam roller or a ball under the knee

                  Step Three: Straighten your knee and hold the position for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 10 -15 times per leg

                  8. Seated Knee Marching

                  When you strengthen the muscles around your knees, you basically add more stability and mobility to your knees. With the seated knee marching exercise you can strengthen the quadriceps.

                  seated-knee-marching

                    Instructions:

                    Step One: Sit on a Chair with back straight

                    Step Two: Lift one knee up slowly and slowly lower it

                    Step Three: Repeat with other knee and coninue for one minute

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                    Published on July 18, 2019

                    11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

                    11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

                    No matter where you are in your fitness journey, chances are you wouldn’t mind a little more definition in your midsection.

                    Whether you have a six pack or a beer belly, those abs could probably be a little bit sharper. Not to mention developing better core strength is hugely important when it comes to improving your overall strength and athleticism, as well as protecting you from injuries.[1]

                    The good news? Your abs and core muscles can handle a lot of training.

                    While most of your muscle groups do best with just two training sessions per week,[2] you can hit your abs every other day to great effect. You don’t even have to leave the house!

                    Here’s my guide to the 11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home with no equipment.

                    1. Planks

                    Let’s start with the mother of all core-strengtheners, the plank.

                    Planks not only work your abs and obliques, they challenge those core muscles deep inside your body that help promote stability and power. They can also reduce back pain and improve your balance and posture.

                    Get down into pushup position, feet behind you, hands under your shoulders. Lock out your arms and legs, squeeze your core muscles, and hold your body stiff (like a plank!) for as long as you can.

                    For a more challenging variation, try a forearm plank with your arms out in front you. Lay your forearms on the ground for support, with your elbows under your face rather than aligned with your shoulders.

                    2. Side Planks

                    To hit your obliques even harder, try this challenging variation: the side plank.

                    From plank position, rotate onto one side. Prop yourself up on your elbow and one foot with your body straight and stiff.

                    Don’t forget to squeeze your core as you hold this position for as long as you can.

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                    Switch sides and repeat to avoid creating muscle imbalances.

                    3. Reverse Crunches

                    The regular stomach crunch is a fine exercise, but when it comes to abs and core strength, you’ll want to opt for moves that are a lot more challenging.

                    When you can crank out 50 crunches without a problem, it’s probably time for something new.

                    The reverse crunch packs a wallop for your lower abs and can be done anywhere, anytime, just like the standard crunch.

                    Lay on your back with knees bent in crunch position. Place your hands flat on the ground by your side and lift your pelvis, bringing your knees up toward your face, then back down again.

                    Engage your lower ab muscles to do the work, not your back. Repeat for a few sets of 12-20 reps.

                    4. Flutter Kicks

                    The lower abs are a problem area for a lot of people, so we’ll want to work them hard.

                    If that sounds like you, flutter kicks are just what the doctor ordered.

                    Lay flat on your back in leg raise position, hands at your sides or pressed into the floor. Raise your legs together about 6 inches off the floor, then alternate lowering one and raising one a few inches in rapid succession.

                    It should look like you’re kicking the air, and it should give you quite a burn in your abdominal area.

                    5. Arms High Sit-Ups

                    Imagine a crunch, but way harder!

                    Lay down on the ground in sit-up position, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you.

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                    Raise your arms up to the sky and keep them elevated as you perform a few sets of sit-ups.

                    Engaging your arms in this way makes the move extraordinarily difficult and taxing. You’ll get a lot more mileage out of this move versus traditional crunches.

                    6. L-Sits

                    The L-Sit is outrageously difficult to perform well, but if you can build your strength here, the benefits are phenomenal.

                    To perform an L-Sit, you’ll need a stable surface to press off of. You can do them on the floor, but it’s a little easier if you can elevate yourself on a pair of dumbbells, two sturdy chairs, or a similar apparatus.

                    Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Lock your arms in place at your sides, palms on the ground or surface, and press. Bring your legs into the air, perpendicular to your upper body, using the tension from your locked arms.

                    Hold this position as long as possible for an intense strength building workout.

                    7. Stomach Vacuums

                    And now for something different!

                    It’s easy to work your front-facing abdominal muscles, but there is another muscle group in your core that’s frequently overlooked: The transverse abdominis.

                    This muscle isn’t visible through your skin, but it’s incredibly important in stabilizing your body, creating good posture, and holding your belly in tight to your spine.

                    To strengthen this muscle and get a flatter stomach, try stomach vacuums.[3]

                    Standing straight and tall. Exhale all of the air out of your body and simultaneously pull your belly in tight. Imagine sucking your belly button back into your spine.

                    You’ll feel the transverse abdominis engage. Hold as long as possible, rest and then repeat.

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                    8. Star Planks

                    Planks are too effective to not utilize multiple variations of them in your routine.

                    The star plank engaged similar muscles to the traditional plank, but is a lot harder to hold for time.

                    From the push-up or standard plank position, walk your feet out wide and your hands, as well.

                    Your body should form an X position. Elevate your core off the ground, squeeze tight, and hold for as long as possible.

                    9. Boat Pose

                    Yogis know all about core strength, so if you want a tighter tummy, you should take a page out of their playbook.

                    Boat pose is an extremely difficult isometric hold that builds exceptional balance and core power.

                    Star in sit-up position. Crunch yourself up toward your knees, then lift your feet off the floor until they’re about level with your face. Balance on your butt, squeeze your core, and hold this position as long as you can.

                    Your body should form a V with the only point of contact being your butt on the ground. Holding boat pose should be extraordinarily challenging!

                    10. Mountain Climbers

                    Ab work alone won’t shred stomach fat. But when you combine abs and cardio, that’s when you’re onto something magical.

                    Mountain climbers fit the bill if you’re looking to blast your core and also work up a good sweat.

                    Get down into plank position. With your arms locked and your body tight, drive one knee at a time off the floor, up toward your chest, and then back to its original position. Repeat in quick succession.

                    It should look like you’re climbing a hill, and it should exhaust you in a matter of seconds!

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                    11. Russian Twists

                    Finally, let’s give the obliques a little more love.

                    Get down into sit-up position and perform a crunch toward your knees. From here, lean back so your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, clasp your hands in front of you, and twist side to side in rapid succession.

                    You’ll feel your obliques engage after just a few reps.

                    For a more difficult variation, lift your feet off the floor similar to boat pose while perform the move, or perform the twist using a heavy medicine ball for added resistance.

                    The Bottom Line

                    The biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to six-pack abs is a low body fat percentage. That’s best accomplished by sticking to a smart diet and building your fully body strength.

                    However, if you want to improve your athleticism, overall strength, or even your longevity, you can afford to work your abs a bit more frequently — 3-4 times per week is perfect.

                    If you hit them hard enough, you’ll probably see some great improvement in definition as well!

                    Cranking out endless crunches is one way to go about core training, but there are so many better and more challenging moves you can try without ever having to leave your living room.

                    Give them a shot!

                    Featured photo credit: Luis Quintero via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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