Knee pain — the bane of all who exercise, and even some who don’t. Whether your knees scream to you because of too many jump squats, or just because you’re grossly overweight, it’s no reason to hang up the gloves.
A staggering percentage of the adult population is assaulted by knee pain daily. The causes of the ailment are innumerable. However, for every problem lies a solution. Let’s quickly gloss over some common contributors to knee pain:
- Overuse (most commonly exercise related)
- Lack of balance
- Imbalance of muscular strength (i.e. muscles surrounding the joint)
- Muscular tightness
- Being obscenely overweight
Granted, these aren’t all of the suspects in the case of knee disorders, but these are the most manageable. Overuse is the epitome of self-explanatory, so let’s start with the issue of balance.
Training for Balance
When one is dealing with such an overwhelming amount of moving parts in one physical structure, balance is key to avoid undue torque. Torque may sound cool, however, those violent bending and twisting motions (especially in the wrong plane of movement) can be devastating to the knee.
A great exercise for fostering stability around the knee joint is the Step Up.
Due to the fact the step up is a unilateral movement, a large amount of stabilizing muscles come into play. Compared to the squat, step ups are a much more delicate and less weight-intensive exercise; therefore, knocking out a few sets after the heavy lifting is out of the way would be a smart move.
The other kind of balance. Yes, the balance between opposing muscle groups, not to be confused with the ability to not fall over. A gross amount of sports injuries is caused by a muscular imbalance — most commonly, quads and hamstrings. For example, when a sprinter takes off and immediately shreds his hamstring. This would spring from the issue of his quads being much stronger than his hamstrings. These muscles are used to balance each other out.
In light of this foreboding notion, keep a watchful eye on equally training the moving parts that surround your knee. Quads, Hamstrings, adductors and abductors, etc…
Our recommendation — Dynamic movements, or agility drills (after a thorough warm-up of course).