The knees tend to get pressured often with activity in the lower limbs, especially when we don’t have the correct pressure through the foot.
Our weight can get shifted forward, placing more force directly over the knees, rather than being distributed amongst the entire lower extremity.
Below are some ways you can offload the knees while training so your workouts don’t have to go on hiatus.
1. Heels Elevated Squats
Elevating the heels allows you to shift your weight backwards, especially if you feel like you walk on your toes or that you press through the middle of your foot on squats and lunges. Starting here can give you a better chance at staying back more during the movements, keeping the hips stacked under the shoulders.
2. Place Pressure On The Heels
This one is pretty easy. If you notice you rock forward on a squat or step up, you will need to keep the pressure on the heels. This especially holds true as your knee starts to travel forward. That way, again, the weight does not can pushed too far forward, stressing the knee joint.
You may have felt this when you push in the does on a squat or lunge. You would feel the top or front of the knee strain. As you keep the pressure in the heel, with the toes down, you should feel work in the mid-thigh instead.
3. Learn How To Tilt The Pelvis
Learning a posterior pelvic tilt correctly in a bridge position will teach you how to use that heel drive and shift back at the same time. Not only will it offload the knees, but it will help align the hips so muscles around both joints are in a better position to work correctly.
Push through the heels, lightly feeling the butt scoop under and the low back flatten. You ARE NOT crunching the abs. Keep a soft belly. You should feel the lower glutes and upper hamstrings engage lightly.
Take a few breaths in and out here and work on getting in and out of the position.
4. Get Equal Quads And Hamstring Work
Working both sides of the knee is important. Match every quad exercise you have with a hamstring exercise so you can balance the extension and flexion of the knee joint. It will also increase the stability around the joint itself.
You want to feel the work in the back of the mid-thigh for hamstrings and the front of the mid-thigh for quads. Anything going closer to the knee means you are using a toe drive strategy.
5. Perform Lateral Movements
Doing activities like lateral step ups and step downs can allow you to translate your weight side to side and learn how to control the body without causing too much twisting at the knee joint.
The principles of heel drive hold true, but you want to also keep the nose and knee in line with the 2nd toe as well.
There are some elements of side to side motions when we run going from one leg to the next. Having this control can make a big difference in the stress placed on the knees during the run.
There you have it; 5 ways to start to offset the stress on the knees in the gym with activities that can be implemented in your normal training.
Still feeling like you can’t get into the position your need to for training.
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Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and enjoys to help active adults maintain their lifestyle and provide natural solutions to their pain.