Do certain exercises cause knee problems? If you Google “best exercises for knee pain,” here is what you’ll find:
“To get relief from knee pain and prevent future knee problems, warm up the knees before activities by walking and stretching the muscles in the front and back of the thighs.”
Now, it is true that exercises should be done to loosen up the muscles and prepare the body for movements that follow. But, what is this popular recommendation missing? In previous articles we learned:
So if the muscles supporting the knee wrap around the bones and the knee is designed to move in 6 directions, then “stretching the front and back of the thighs” is incomplete.
Stretching shouldn’t be limited to the muscles in front and back. A better stretch also targets the side and rotational capabilities of the leg muscles, both above and below the knee joint.
Searches will also find thousands of articles suggesting to: “Improve leg strength by doing exercises like walking up stairs and riding a stationary bicycle. While at the gym try partial squats, side leg lifts, calf raises, straight leg raises, hamstring stretch and short range knee extensions.”
- Can you see the limitations of these exercises?
- What directions are they training the body?
You got it! Almost all of them focus on movement front to back. All except for one that lifts the leg out to the side.
If you’ve been following along then you already know why moving the body in 6 directions is better than 2. Exercises that move the body in all 3 planes will improve the working potential of each link within the movement process and deliver better results!
What Exercises are Best for Someone with Knee Pain?
- Exercises for Mobility
Simple moves that take the joints through their full range in all 6 directions helps keep the tissues flexible. Regular movement helps relieve stiffness in the knees. Listen to your body. If it hurts, try slowing down, making the move smaller or adjusting your foot position.
- Exercises for Stability
We lose an average of 5 percent of muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35 – that’s if you don’t do anything about it! In fact, if you don’t intentionally rebuild muscle through exercise, you’ll need to eat 150-450 fewer calories every day every 10 years to maintain your current weight (Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz, 2010).
Water workouts can improve strength. Resistance of water hits you from all angles. This “built in” equipment requires your muscles to work whether you are moving up, down, right, left or turning around the corner. Whether you’re on the pool or dry land, work at a comfortable intensity and try to do a little more each time.
What’s the #1 Secret for Happy Knees?
Move in More Directions! This gentle low impact, stepping routine is the perfect way to start your day right or take a break from sitting. If you’re trying it for the first time, have a wall nearby that you can hold on to for better balance. As you get more comfortable with the “around the clock” movement, you can challenge yourself with bigger or quicker steps.
Want to take it a step further? Feel your way to better results with my WECOACH Workouts membership. Access a growing library of video and audio pool workouts, plus NEW video tips each month to help keep you safe and progressing.