because it hurts my knee(s)." Well, no more! Here are 7 exercises to help end your knee pain!" />
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Exercises to End Knee Pain

We hear it all too often, “I can’t do because it hurts my knee(s).” Well no more! Majority of the strength for your knees actually comes from the musculature around the hips! The gluteus maximus (your bum muscle) is the largest muscle in the body. If it is not used correctly, which in a lot of people it isn’t, the low back and knees tend to take the overload. Here are <#> exercises to activate those glutes and help you defeat your knee pain.


Clams

Clams target the gluteus minimus. This muscle holds your hips level every time you take a step. Without it everyone would walk like a model on the runway.

  • Lay on your side with you shoulders, hips and heels in a straight line. If you’re not sure about you set up, lay against a wall; your shoulders, bum and heels should all touch the wall.
  • Keep your heels together and lift your top knee, creating an opening like a clamshell. During this step, DO NOT LET YOUR HIPS ROLL BACKWARDS. If you’re against a wall, the wall will stop this from happening.
  • Slowly lower your knee back down.
  • Perform 3 sets of 12.

To make this exercise more difficult, tie a resistance band around your thighs.


Bridge

A bridge targets the gluteus maximus. This is the largest muscle in the human body. When working correctly it can take undue stress away from the low back and knees! However, in a large percentage of the population, the glute max muscle is lazy and does not perform correctly…yes you might literally have a lazy butt!

  • Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Try to get your heels as close to your bum as possible.
  • Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the floor; majority of the weight should be in your heels as opposed to your toes. During this step it is VERY important to ensure the glutes are active! If you’re not sure how to activate the glutes, think about trying to squeeze your sit bones together.
  • Slowly lower the hips down. You can aim to lower yourself down one vertebrae at a time.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10.


Hamstring Curls

Hamstring curls target all 3 hamstring muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. The hamstring group is very important! As mentioned above, when the gluteal muscles are not working correctly, the hamstring muscle group picks up the slack to assist in hip extension. In addition to this, the hamstrings are also competing with the quadriceps muscle group. Studies have shown that knee stability is optimal when the hamstring muscle group is 70% as strong, as the quadriceps muscle group. If the hamstrings are less than 50% the strength of the quadriceps, the risk of a knee injury greatly increases.

  • Start laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Under your heels, place a material that will glide on the floor (sliders, socks, towel, etc.).
  • Squeeze the gluteals and raise the hips so they are hovering over the floor.
  • Slowly lets your heels slide away from your hips.
  • When your knees are near full extension, squeeze the glutes and pull the heels back in towards your bum.
  • Reset your hips so they are hovering over the floor and repeat.
  • Perform 4 sets of 6.


Calf Raises

Calf raises target the gastrocnemius muscle. The gastrocnemius is tear drop shaped muscle in your calf. Calf raises are important in defeating knee pain because the gastroc crosses the knee joint, therefore providing medial and lateral support to the knee.

  • Stand on the edge of step with the ball of your foot on the step and your heel hanging off.
  • Start with the heel hanging slightly below the level of the step and push up through the toes to raise the heel as high as it can go.
  • Slowly lower the heel down to a count of 4.
  • Perform 4 sets of 12.

**Note: you can do this with both feet at the same time or on a single leg to increase the difficulty.


Squats

Squats are a great exercise for the entire body, IF they’re done correctly!

  • Start with feet in a position that is slightly wider than hip width. The toes may be slightly turned out if this is comfortable and natural for you.
  • Arms can be crossed in front of your chest or reached out in front of you.
  • Initiate movement by pushing your bum back. This is the exact movement you do when trying to close a car door when your hands are full with groceries.
  • Lower your bum down towards the floor while reaching your bum back (think about trying to sit back onto a chair). Majority of your weight should be in your heels as opposed to your toes. Do not let the knees cave in at this point!
  • Once you hit your lowest point that is comfortable, squeeze the gluteals as hard as you can and stand up keeping majority of your weight in your heels.
  • When you hit the top of your squat (standing up straight) ensure that you do not push the hips too far forwards forcing the low back into hyperextension. This could cause low back pain.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10.


Hip Flexor Stretch

When performed correctly the hip flexor stretch will target the iliopsoas muscle. This muscle runs from the anterior aspect of the lumbar spine to the anterior aspect of the femur. Its main action is to flex the hip.

  • Start in a half kneeling position
  • Tilt the pelvis posteriorly. Imagine you have a tail and try to tuck the tail between your legs (like a dog does).
  • Keep the pelvis tilted posteriorly and push the hips forwards.
  • You will feel a stretch in the anterior hip and thigh. Push the hips forward until the stretch is a 7/10 intensity (intense, but comfortable).
  • Hold the stretch for 1-minute. Perform on the other side.


Quadriceps Stretch

When the quadriceps muscle group is tight, it will put an increased amount of pressure on the patella and can cause patellar maltracking leading to knee pain. For this reason it is important to maintain flexibility of the quadriceps.

  • Hold onto something for balance and stand on the right foot.
  • Grab the left ankle with your left hand and pull your ankle towards your bum.
  • Keep the left knee in alignment with the right knee, stand tall and try to avoid letting your low back arch forwards.
  • Hold for 1-minute and then repeat on the other side.

***Please note that while these exercises are safe for most, if you suffer from severe knee pain, you should seek advice from a healthcare professional before trying these exercises***

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