Workout to prevent knee issues | Women's Running

Workout to prevent knee issues

Read Time:   |  February 21, 2020

Running being bad for your knees is a myth, especially if you strengthen your let muscles in the right way with these exercises, says Anne-Marie Lategan

Running damages your knees? That’s a myth. If you strengthen the muscles in your legs and keep all the muscles flexible you will not damage your knees through running.

This programme will help to strengthen the muscles in your legs and help protect your knees. There are also a few balancing exercises, as leg muscles can only be as strong as the nerves supplying them. In other words, if you have poor balance your injury risk will be higher.

  • Warm up: Use a dynamic warm-up to increase your heart rate and blood circulation. Stand on your right leg and step forward and backwards. Repeat 10 times and then repeat on the other side.
  • Sets and reps: Perform two sets of 15 repetitions of each exercise at least twice per week.
  • Cool down: Ensure you stretch your back, hip flexors, front thighs, back of thighs and calf muscles. Hold each stretch for at least 40-60 seconds. Holding your stretches for only a short period of time will improve your mobility but not your flexibility.

For these exercises you’ll need a resistance band. You can find one here.

Straight-leg alphabet writing

STRENGTH
Areas trained: Front thighs (quadriceps)
Why do it? Strengthening your thigh muscles without bending your knee is a great way to improve your muscles if you are currently injured or have knee issues.

TECHNIQUE

  • Sit on a chair with your left leg extended
  • Keep your foot in a comfortable position
  • Using your straight right leg, write the alphabet in capital letter from A to Z
  • Complete one set before changing over to the other side

BE SAFE
Rest when you need to.

Explosive bum kicks

STRENGTH
Areas trained: Back thigh (hamstrings)
Why do it? This creates power for your walking. The more power you have, the stronger your muscles will be and the faster you’ll be able to walk.

TECHNIQUE

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keep your hands on your bottom
  • Kick your right heel up to your bottom, followed quickly with your left
  • Keep your body upright and look forward
  • Repeat the move fast and explosively

BE SAFE
Keep your tummy muscles tight.

Calf raise with a heel flick

STRENGTH
Areas trained:
Calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus)
Why do it? Training all the smaller muscles in your calves will reduce your risk of injuring your knees when you accidentally step offa curb or twist your ankle.

TECHNIQUE

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward
  • Go on to your toes
  • At the top position turn your heels out
  • Turn your heels back in
  • Lower your heels to the ground

BE SAFE
Keep your legs straight but don’t lock your knees

Wide squat with calf raises

STRENGTH
Areas trained:
Front thighs, inner thighs, bottom and calves (quadriceps, adductors, glutes, gastrocnemius)
Why do it? This will improve your balance, leg strength and knee stability, especially if the terrain is uneven.

TRAINING

  • Stand with your feet one and a half times shoulder-width apart
  • Turn your feet out to 45 degrees
  • Bend your knees, ensuring they stay in line with you toes
  • Hold the position
  • Lift your heels off the ground
  • Lower your heels
  • Straighten your legs

BE SAFE
Keep your stomach muscles tight.

Resistance-band knee lift

STRENGTH
Areas trained:
Hip flexors (psoas muscles)
Why do it? Lifting your knees requires your hip flexors to contract. If your flexor is not strong enough, your body will compensate, which will put additional stress on your knees.

TECHNIQUE

  • Tie a resistance band around your right ankle
  • Stand with your left foot on the resistance band
  • Lift your right knee hip-height with control
  • Slowly lower with control
  • Complete one set before changing over to the other side

BE SAFE
Keep your stomach muscles tight to aid your balance.

Resistance-band seated leg-extensions

STRENGTH
Areas trained:
Front thigh (quadriceps)
Why do it? Strong thighs will support your knees and prevent injuries.

TECHNIQUE

  • Sit on a chair
  • Tie a resistance band around your right foot
  • Place your left foot on the resistance band
  • Extend your right leg
  • Slowly return with control
  • Complete one set before changing over to the other side

BE SAFE
Keep your back upright and keep tension on the resistance band at all times.

Resistance-band crab walk

STRENGTH
Areas trained:
Outer thighs and bottom (abductors and glutes)
Why do it? If the muscles in your bottom work effectively you’ll have a better running technique.

TECHNIQUE

  • Stand with your feet together on a resistance band
  • Cross the resistance band in front of your legs
  • Keep your back straight and look forward
  • Take five steps towards the left, followed by five steps to the right

BE SAFE
Keep your back upright and keep tension on the resistance band at all times.

Resistance-band leg curl

STRENGTH
Areas trained:
Back thighs (hamstrings)
Why do it? The muscles in the back of your legs are one of the main muscles which carry your body weight. The stronger it gets the less your muscles will fatigue, which will help with knee stability and reduce injuries.

TECHNIQUE

  • Tie a resistance band around your right ankle
  • Place your hands against a wall and lean slightly forward
  • Stand with your left foot on the resistance band
  • Keep your knees together
  • Lift your right heel up to your bottom
  • Slowly lower with control
  • Complete one set before changing over to the other side

BE SAFE
Keep your back upright and keep tension on the resistance band at all times.

Pivoting

STRENGTH
Areas trained:
Back, thigh, lower back and balance (hamstrings and erector spinae)
Why do it? Your muscle can only be as strong as the nerve supplying them. When injured, it’s important to improve your balance, which will help increase your knee stability.

TECHNIQUE

  • Stand on your right leg
  • Pivot forward from your hips until you form a straight line between your shoulders, hips and feet
  • Lift up to the standing position but don’t put your left foot down
  • Repeat one set on the right before changing over to the left

BE SAFE
Keep your core muscles tight.

Natasha wears On shoes and On capris with Runderwear crop top.

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