One of the most frequent comments I hear from new clients is, “I can’t do that because my knees are bad.” And my response is always, "Your knees are problematic because you haven’t been doing that move."
A majority of the chronic knee pains that my clients experience are caused by imbalances or poor flexibility in the muscles around their knees, like their quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves—they're not caused by injuries that damage the structure of their joints.(Looking to gain muscle and a sexy, toned body? In her book, Lift to Get Lean, Holly Perkins, certified strength and conditioning specialist, explains how you can score a slim figure in four weeks.)
That's why it's so important to perform stretching and strengthening exercises that target these large, strong muscles—which are responsible for protecting your knees. Those muscles have to be in good shape in order to do their job.This is actually something that I learned when I developed serious pain in those joints. Luckily, I discovered the strength and flexibility moves necessary to whip those lower-body knee-protecting muscles into shape, and today, my knees are ouch-free and better than ever.
These eight moves, which target the muscles that are key to your knee health, are my secret to keeping those joints healthy and ready to kick some ass.The workout: Hold each of the stretches below for 30 seconds on each side before moving on to the next stretch. After completing the stretches, move on to the strength exercises.
Perform two sets of each strength exercise below, resting for 30 seconds after each set, then move on to the next exercise. If you have mild to moderate knee discomfort, perform this workout twice a week for six weeks. If you have no acute knee discomfort, perform this workout three times a week for six weeks to prevent future knee issues.
After completing the strengthening moves, perform the stretches again in the same way.
Check out our pin-friendly graphic below to see the workout as a whole, then scroll down the page for a complete breakdown of each move,Kneel down on your left knee with your right foot on the floor and your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Extend your right arm upward (A).Tuck your pelvis under slightly so that you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip. Hold for 10 seconds. Gently, bend to your right, and hold for 10 seconds (B). Then, sweep your right hand around towards your back leg, and reach your left arm forward into a torso twist (C). Hold for 10 seconds. Release back to the starting position, and perform the same thing on the other side. That’s one set. Do two sets. Place your left foot about two feet from a wall, and step your right foot back so that your leg is straight and the right heel is on the ground. Place your hands on the wall in front of your shoulders. Gently press into your right heel, and lock your right knee. Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides. That’s one set. Do two sets.Place your right foot on top of a low step or bench, directly in front of your right hip. Your left foot should be directly under your left hip. Keeping your chest lifted, gently bend forward at the hips until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your right thigh (hamstring). Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides. That’s one set.Using a 20-inch resistance band, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Adjust the band to be just above your knees (A). Turn your toes open slightly, and extend your arms in front of you. Bend your knees, and lower your hips down and back until the tops of your thighs are parallel with the ground. As you squat, press your knees outward to maintain resistance on the band (B). Keep your knees directly above your ankles. Press into your heels to stand back up. That’s one rep.Stand on top of a bench or box that is about
12 inches high. Allow your right foot to hang
off the bench, and extend your arms in front of you for balance (A). Bend your left knee, and lower
your hips until your right heel lightly touches the ground (B). Press into your left heel, and
drive upward to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do 15 on each