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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Can you Advise me on strengthening my weak knees?

Hi,

I have weak knees, particularly for sideways movements, which means I am unable to do classes such as step and aerobics. I get a bit bored exercising on my own on the cardio equipment and would love to do a class. What exercises can you recommend that will strengthen up my knees particularly for sideways movements. I already use weight machines for quads and hamstrings so have quite strong thigh muscles.

A.

Our expert says...

Hi,

What you have identified is a common weakness we have with the knee joint, in terms of preventing it from moving inwards as we plant our foot. This instability can leave us susceptible to injury, (particularly with the cruciate ligaments of the knee that are major prevention structures of over rotation at the knee).

The way to improve the ability of muscles surrounding the knee to control it in all planes of motion and therefore provide us increased sideways stability and protection, is through specific corrective exercises that focus on this element. Generally they tend to be 1-leg exercises that cause an imbalance at the hips that the surrounding muscles then have to adjust to in order to protect the knee. This leads to increased stabilization strength at the knee joint.

One such exercise is a single leg toe touch (or single leg squat) and the details of how to perform this exercise are provided in the resources page of the website, under the "Kelly?s Home exercise Articles" section, in the article called "Activate your butt and protect your back".

Other upper body exercises, (e.g. dumbbell shoulder press, biceps curls and so on), can be performed while standing on one leg as opposed to the traditional two and this increases the demand of the exercise two-fold because of the added balance component.

With all single leg holds aim to keep your weight through the heel of the foot and not the front of the foot, (at any given time you should be able to wiggle your toes). Always have a slight bend in your knee and try to squeeze the butt cheek of the weight-bearing leg throughout every exercise. The great thing about this kind of training is not only does it increase stability but it burns more calories!

In order to increase stability in the knee requires exercises from a standing position that realistically mimic everyday life demands, so although the quad and hamstring machines provide increased strength to these muscles they are not functional enough, in isolation, to improve the stability of the knee to an adequate level, so keep them in but add in the aforementioned exercises.

Hope this helps

Kelly

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