In a previous blog, I promised to share the exercises that helped me with knee pain and currently help me maintain strength in my legs. This blog is about one of such exercises .
Before I start, I would like to stress that even though I have done diploma’s in fitness and weight loss, I am not a fitness instructor. I am just sharing what worked for me when I started having issues with my knee. There are different causes of knee pain, it’s important that you get your knee seen to by a doctor who will tell you what to do.
With knee pain, one thing to note is, it is important to strengthen the area around the knee to help support your knee, reduce pain and aid mobility.
If you’re a gym member you’ll probably be familiar with the Leg Press machine. The great thing about the Leg Press is, it isolates the exact muscle I want to train (quads, hamstring, glute). I also find that it doesn’t put any pressure on my hip joints. My legs work in a fixed movement pattern with a short range of motion. It is stable and safe when done correctly. I am supported.
Just before I went for my cycling class, my son kindly agreed to take this picture of me in the gym yesterday.
So here I am seated on a closed chain Leg Press machine. My spine is neutral – back flat against the back rest (lower back not curved in) , abs are contracted to protect my back, chest up and shoulders back.
My legs are placed hip width apart at a 90 degree angle in the middle of the plate.
I push back slowly through my heel until my legs are extended but not fully. Pushing back using my toes will put pressure on my knees and can cause knee injury. It’s important to make sure that my knees are in line and not collapsing inward at any time. The stress is on my quads and not my back or knees.
I start with 2 warm up sets or 10 reps with a lighter weight, resting for a minute in between sets. Then I do 4 sets of 10 or 12 reps with my normal load resting a minute in between sets. Total time is approximately 7-8 minutes.
This is what I started with before I progressed to doing exercises like squats. Squatting is great because it involves engaging the smaller stabiliser muscles around the knee. It’s also a functional exercise – we squat when we want to sit down on a chair. Though I can now do different types of squats with weights, my journey did not start with squatting. I’ll talk more about how squatting has helped me in a future post.
Lastly, it’s very important to give your exercise your full attention when doing it. Keep your mind (mind muscle connection) on the muscle you are working, don’t look around or use your phone.
Stay in the moment.