Smart Training for Your Joints Part II
Exercises for the Knees:
Lateral Step Downs: Stand on the bottom step facing sideways so the right foot is on the step and the left foot is on the floor. Using the banister for support, lift the left foot in the air to meet the right foot. Slowly begin to lower the left heel towards the floor by bending your right knee, keeping the weight in the heel of your right foot, and making sure the knee stays in line with your ankle. Squeeze your right glute and quad to straighten the right knee and lift the left foot back up in the air to meet the right foot. Repeat for 10 repetitions and then repeat on the other side.
Squats: In standing, bring your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with toes facing forward. Keeping your back flat, begin to lower your buttocks towards the ground by bending both knees, keeping them over your ankles. Weight should be in the back of your heels. Use your glutes to help you stand back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Single-Leg Squats: Stand on the right leg, keeping your back straight, knee over ankle, and left foot hovering, bend your right knee to lower your glutes towards the ground. Use your right glute to help you stand back up. Repeat for 10 repetitions and then repeat on the other side.
Lunge to Standing March: Stand with split legs, left foot in front and right foot behind you. Keeping your back straight, begin to bend both knees close to 90 degrees, keeping the weight in the heel of your front foot. Use your front left glute to help you stand back up and then swing the right knee up towards your chest to balance on your left leg. Hold for a breath and go back to the starting position. Do 10 repetitions and repeat on the other side.
Quad Stretch: In standing, use a chair or wall for balance and bend your right knee to bring the right foot towards your bottom. Reach back and grab the right foot with the right hand to provide a little overpressure until a stretch is felt on the front of the right thigh. Keep your knees together and back straight. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
These exercises are meant to be a guideline but their purpose is to provide postural correction, education, strengthening, flexibility, and balance. Each component plays a part in the act of running. By having the under utilized muscles firing correctly and improving our muscle's natural resting length, we become overall more efficient which is necessary to help avoid injuries in the future.