Everyone has experienced knee pain once in their lifetime. The only problem is when the pain never seems to fade. It could happen each time you walk the steps, squat, lunge or the weather changes. In our quick-fix society, most of us have resolved the pain by enduring the cost of physical therapy or a cortisone shot.
Here are 3 quick fixes that you can do on your own and in the comfort of your home or gym.
1. Fix Your Form:
If you know me, then you know I am not afraid to come around to correct form as we go through a class or workout. Often times, the main correction is to release the hips, stick the butt back and stick down through the heels. Most of us would compare this movement to sitting back into a chair or looking over a tall building.
In the picture, I shift my hips and butt to make room for my body to sit down through the heels.
At the bottom of the squat, your knees should be above your toes and you should be able to look down to see the tops of your shoes. The picture above is a good example of tight hip flexors and quadriceps, a perfect segue into #2.
2. Foam roll the tops of your legs
The tops of your legs are where the hip flexors and quadriceps are located, these two groups of muscles are responsible for bending the knee and moving the thigh up and down. Some examples of these movements are; steps, squat, lunges, sitting, standing from seated, running, etc.
So maybe you do a great job sitting your hips and butt back, but your knees still hurt after leg day. Take a side view of yourself squatting, does your upper body lean forward like mine in the second image above? If you answered yes, then you should definitely make time to loosen those top thigh muscles.
Recently, a group of researchers at, Memorial University of Newfoundland, put together an experiment to test the effects of foam rolling. Their findings were truly remarkable and a great source of scientific evidence. The conclusion of the study was just spending 20 seconds at the source of muscle tightness, a few times per week, knee joint range of motion and physical performance of the lunge exercise can increase. The researchers used muscle imaging software to test muscle activation, similar to an ECG displays activity of the heart when hooked up to the chest. The team also performed pre- and post tests on lunge performance and found the participants range of motion improved greatly.
See the video below for steps to foam roll your thigh, hip flexor and outside of your thigh (IT band). The roller can be used before and after a workout, but it works best after a workout.
3. Warm-up with mobility
Warm ups are an essential part of exercise safety. The body only supplies blood to the essential organs and parts most used throughout the day, leaving the rest of the body "cold". This could cause strains and pains during or after your workout.
Think about standing up for the first time each day, something feels tight and another part is probably achy. Now imagine trying to do squat jumps or jumping jacks right out of bed. You would probably pull your Achilles Tendon and back in bed for the next couple of weeks.
The video below is inspired by the works of Joe DeFranco and Kelly Starrett.
Take home points:
Bradbury-Squires, D., Noftall, J., Sullivan, K., Behm, D., Power, K., & Button, D. (2014). Roller-Massager Application to the Quadriceps and Knee-Joint Range of Motion and Neuromuscular Efficiency During a Lunge. Journal of Athletic Training, 50(2), 133-140. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-49.5.03
Follow me on: