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Exercises to Strengthen the Knees

knee-exercisesWhen working to straighten out bow legs, or indeed during any process of rehabilitation after a leg injury, you will likely have to have some focus on the knees.

Clearly, the knees are a vital part of our walking and standing apparatus, and if they are neglected, even by those who don’t normally suffer from leg problems, they are still quite prone to arthritis.

Many problems people experience with their knees are basically due to some over or under-use. If you find yourself habitually sitting in a certain position, with crossed legs for example, then excessive strain can be placed on the knee joint, without any accompanying work to maintain strength and flexibility.

It must be stressed that the knee itself cannot be strengthened in isolation. The knee is a complex system of muscles and bones, tendons and ligaments. It is perfectly possible to strengthen these things that support the knees and this is where your focus should be. Correction of knee issues should be done gently. Bones and ligaments can become stronger as a result of this work, provided you back up your exercise with a diet rich in Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin D and Calcium.

Here are a few exercises you can do to strengthen those muscles.


Deep Squats

These are just one of the best exercises around. They’re just essential. However, as with all exercises, technique and form are absolutely paramount. When you are starting out, it is not about speed or number of reps, it’s about technique. Get the technique right or you will be more likely to hurt yourself. A recent study has shown that shallow squats are actually more likely to wear out the knees that full deep squats where your bum goes lower than your knees. They’re called “Deep Squats” for a reason. Go deep. Get it right.

Lunges, Back Lunges and Side Lunges

Another staple exercise for anyone looking to strengthen their legs. The lunge is simply a big step forward and a big bend of the forward knee so that the trailing knee almost touches the ground. Then simply push back up to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.

Back lunges are a very similar except you take a step backwards rather than forwards. Go down so that the knee of the leg you step back with almost touches the ground then come back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Side lunges, naturally involve a big step to the side. Stepping to the right, you keep your left leg straight and go down as low as you comfortably can. Then simply push back up on the right leg and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Toyotas

This is a bit more of a dynamic exercise that involves an actual jump into the air.

Go down into a squat and touch the ground with both hands. Then straighten up, raise up your hands as you do and jump into the air. Land back in the starting position. That’s one rep.

How Many Reps Should You Do?

This really depends on how strong your muscles are currently. As a rough rule of thumb, aim to do four sets. At the end of each set you want to be feeling like the last couple of exercises are really tough. For some this might mean only 5-10 reps per set. For others it may be 15-20. Experiment and find out what level you’re at.

Remember, when you are first starting out, less is more. Focus on having a little dedicated exercise, ideally at the same time each day. Make sure your form is perfect. Set small achievable goals, and work to increase very gradually day by day. Before you know it you will be noticing the benefits of having stronger legs. Regularity is the key.


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