Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Five Best Lower Body Exercises for People with Bad Knees

Approximately 25 percent of adults suffer from frequent knee pain. For many people, this knee pain causes them to avoid training their lower body altogether.

If you have bad knees, instead of skipping workouts, try tailoring your exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the knees to relieve your pain. Listed below are five of the best lower body exercises for people suffering from knee pain or knee injuries.

1. Glute Bridge

The glute bridge (also known sometimes as a floor bridge) is a strengthening exercise for both the glutes and the hamstrings.

To do this exercise properly, start by lying on your back with your knees bent. The knees should be hip-distance and the feet flexed (heels should be digging into the ground). Keep your arms by your sides.

Press down into the ground with your heels to lift your hips. Squeeze your glutes and lift the hips as high as you can without overarching the back. Hold for one count, then lower the hips back down to the floor.

Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps.

2. Static Squats

For some people with knee injuries, regular squats aren’t possible. However, static squats, which involve holding a squat position rather than moving through a full range of motion, can be a good alternative.

Stand with the feet hip-distance and cross the arms over the chest. Lower yourself into a squat position, sending the hips back while keeping the chest lifted and the weight in the heels.

Hold for 30-60 seconds, then return to a standing position. Repeat for 3 sets.

You can use a resistance band for an additional challenge, or wear a neoprene knee brace to help stabilize your knee while doing this exercise.

3. Single-leg Deadlift

Many people end up with knee pain because they didn’t properly rehab a foot or ankle injury. This causes them to adopt improper movement patterns that later lead to knee pain.

A single-leg deadlift is a great exercise that strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, and ankles while also challenging the balance and mind-body connection.

To do a single-leg deadlift properly, start by standing on the left foot with the knee bent slightly. Hinge at your hips to send your right leg back behind you. At the same time, keep your back flat and reach forward to touch the ground with the right fingertips.

Once you’re parallel to the ground, drive through your left heel to stand back up and return your right leg to the ground.

Repeat for 10-12 reps, then switch sides. Aim for 3 sets total.

Try holding a dumbbell for extra resistance.

4. Reverse Hyper

The reverse hyper is another exercise that targets the glutes without putting pressure on the knees.

Start by lying face down on a bench with the hips close to the edge.

Hold on to the end of the bench with your hands, but keep the upper body relaxed. Squeeze the legs together to activate the glutes, then lift your legs so they’re in line with the bench. Avoid hyperextending your back.

Hold for 3-5 seconds, squeezing the glutes the whole time, then lower your legs back down.

Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.  

5. Banded Lateral Walks

These are a great warm-up exercise that strengthens the thighs, hips, and glutes.

Step into a resistance loop (or create one by tying the ends of a resistance band together) and place it around the thighs.

Place your hands on your hips, bend the knees slightly, and take a wide step to the right with the right foot, then bring the left foot in to meet it. Repeat on the other side. Make sure you’re standing up tall with your abs engaged. Try to do 8 steps to the right, followed by 8 to the left, and repeat for 3 total sets.

To make this exercise more challenging, sit into a lower squat as you do your steps.

Training the lower body can be a challenge when you have knee pain. Keep these exercises in mind, though, and you’ll be able to build your lower body without putting extra strain on the knees.

Always consult a health care provider or personal trainer to make sure you know how to perform these exercises properly,

This is a guest blog entry.

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