Strengthening your Knees, By Reema Sarin, Founder BOLLYFIT
Knee injuries are one of the most common injury prone areas for regular exercisers. Strengthening the muscles that support your knee is absolutely imperative for ‘fitness freaks’, and to continue with your exercise regime.
Here are some useful tips to keep your knees strong!
Stretch Your Knee
Stretching and Warm –up exercises can certainly enhance the performance of your leg muscles perform better. For e.g a brisk 5-minute walk will help you workout better and reduce injury risk.
Squats exercises, advanced strengthening moves that keep your feet on the floor. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart – keeping your back and neck straight, slowly bend your knees. Do ensure that you knees don’t go beyond your toes and that you never lock your knees once you come back up. For balance, you may raise both your arms straight forward as you bend down, and bring them back down and straighten your legs.
Hamstrings are the muscles on the back of your thigh. Stand straight facing side, using a chair, wall for support. Now bend your knee and push back against gravity with resistance, using your heel. Do repetitions of 16 with each leg. Do 3 sets in the beginning. You may increase the sets to 5 as your hamstring becomes stronger.
Leg raises are most effective with light ankle weights. Sit straight on a high chair and raise your legs together for 12 counts. Do 3 sets and take a 2 minute break and do 3 sets again.
An effective variant of this is to do alternating Leg raises 12 counts each leg for 3 sets. Take a short break and do 3 sets again.
Stand straight facing side, using a wall or chair for support and bend and straighten your knee, keeping the foot flexed. Do ensure that your knee is completely locked as you straighten your leg. Do 15 lifts and switch sides. Adding light ankle weights as you gain strength. Do 3 sets of 15 for each leg and increase to 5 sets each leg as your knee becomes stronger.
Stand facing the back of a chair and slowly raise the heels to your highest point and slowly bring them back on the ground. Do three sets of 15 raises, raising it to five sets as you progress.
Non-Impact Cardio Exercises for Your Knee
In case you have weak knees or have minor pain in your knees, completely avoid high-impact cardio exercises, such as jogging or running, skipping, high impact aerobics, amongst others. Instead, do low impact aerobics, that is without jumping, power walking and swimming. Swimming is one of the best cardio exercises to do to strengthen your muscles without causing any impact or injury to them.
Exercise should ever cause or increase any kind of muscular pain or in the joints. If you feel pain while exercising, stop right away and check with your physician.