Why Do Quadriceps Exercises For Knee Pain
Quadriceps exercises for knee pain can make a massive difference in most cases of knee pain, particularly:
- Runners Knee: Anterior knee pain caused by a problem with kneecap movement
- Knee Tendonitis: Inflammation and degeneration of the knee tendons
- Knee Bursitis: Inflammation of the small sacs that sit between muscles, tendons and bone
- Knee Arthritis: Wear and tear of the knee cartilage and bones
- Quadriceps Strain: Tears in one or more of the quadriceps muscles
- Quads Tendon Rupture: Tear of the tendon attaching quads to kneecap
Recommended Reading: What Causes Swelling In The Knee Without Pain
The Straight Leg Raise
Dr of Physical Therapy Nick Salinas, who owns Functional Movement Therapy PLLC said, typically, the inside of the knee joint breaks down most often.
So, how can we try and fix this?
Nick Salinas said, In my professional opinion, one of the best and most commonly incorrectly performed exercises for the quadriceps is the straight leg raise.
In this exercise, the athlete engages the inner thigh quad muscle , engages the deep core muscle , and lifts the leg against gravity to approximately 30-40 degrees.
The most challenging aspect of this exercise is not using everything else.
Be sure not to flex the toes back towards the nose, do not push down with the opposite leg, do not allow the pelvis to tip or rotate, and do not hold your breath as you engage the muscle and lift the leg up.
Heres a video of it being demonstrated:
This truly is one of the best quad exercises for bad knees.
Just make sure youre doing it right, as Dr.Salinas said earlier, its performed incorrectly often- and this can lead to more bad than good.
Knee Exercises For Runners
These knee-strengthening exercises will help with your running, strengthen the muscles around the knee and prevent knee pain.
The exercises strengthen all the muscles supporting the knee and stretch out the iliotibial band, known as the ITB, which runs down the outside of the thigh.
They can be done as part of your warm-up before a run or as a cool-down routine after a run, outside or indoors, or whenever is most convenient.
Typically, you should start to see some benefits after 2 weeks of doing these knee exercises every day.
You should not feel any pain when doing these exercises. If you do, stop immediately and seek medical advice. These exercises are not suitable for people with an existing knee injury.
Recommended Reading: How To Heal Your Knee Pain
Trx Assisted Split Squat
The TRX assisted split squat is similar to the TRX squat, however the split squat is a unilateral leg exercise that has the lifter stand in a split stance and place more weight on their lead leg. By doing a split squat, you can increase the single leg strength of each leg, and address any muscle imbalances or movement asymmetries.
Form Tip: By holding the handles, you aid in balance and allow the individual to use their upper body to assist if they are not strong enough to only use their legs in the movement.
How Do I Make My Quads Stronger Without Knee Pain
Don’t Miss: What’s The Best Exercise For Bad Knees
Best Leg Exercises For Bad Knees
Consider physiotherapy exercise for knee pain. The physical therapist will be able to give you specific exercises you can do that will not exacerbate your particular condition, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
However, the following exercises are less likely to irritate bad knees. Give each one a try and see what works for you. If an exercise is painful, don’t do it.
Move 1: Glute Bridges
These strengthen your glutes and hamstrings while opening your hips and strengthening your core.
Move 2: Reverse Hyperextensions
Reverse hyperextensions are another effective exercise for your glutes that don’t use the knees at all, according to ExRx.net.
Move 3: Single-Leg Deadlifts
How Can I Make My Quadriceps Stronger
You can make your quadriceps stronger by incorporating quad strengthening exercises into your routine. It may sound obvious, but it really is that simple.
If youre a beginner, doing bodyweight quad moves or leg exercises can be challenging enough to strengthen your quads, says Fagin. But if youre a more advanced exerciser, you may find that you need to add external resistance like free weights to your moves to feel that same amount of effort. Thats because to strengthen a muscle, you need to progressively challenge itthats what we call progressive overload. Often, we get that progressive overload from gradually increasing the amount of weight we lift.
So if your goal is to really strengthen your quads, an easy quad workout in which youre not really exerting much effort likely wont do the trick instead youll need to do heavy-duty movements that really challenge your leg muscles and help them build back stronger.
Don’t Miss: What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee Symptoms
Sit To Stand Quad Exercises
Standing up from sitting is a movement we do countless times a day but actually works the quadriceps muscles quite hard.
These are great functional quadriceps exercises for knee pain for anyone, just choose the level thats right for you. Make sure you use a firm chair for these. The lower the chair, the harder these exercises will work the quads
Do The Right Compound Quad
The secret to building big quads is to get as strong as possible on compound exercises that train your quads, not puttering around with machines.
This means you should spend the majority of your time in the gym doing exercises like the squat, leg press, lunge, and step-up, and leave exercises like the leg extension and sissy squat until the end of your workout.
A good rule of thumb is that 80% of your time and energy should go into compound exercises for your quads, and the remaining 20% you can give to quad isolation exercises and machines.
Also Check: What Happens If Your Knee Hurts
What Else Should You Know About Quad Exercises Before Getting Started
Before we get into our list of great quad exercises, a few caveats: If youre looking for exercises for bad knees, chat with a doctor or physical therapist first before trying the following movements. They can advise you whether quad-strengthening exercises like the ones below are right for you.
Also, even though its incredibly important to have strong quads, you dont want to neglect your hamstrings as well as your glutes, like we mentioned. A well-rounded strength routine will incorporate quad exercises, glute exercises, andhamstring exercises, so that both sides of your legs are thoroughly smoked.
Are Stairs Bad For Knees
This is because going down the stairs puts significant force on the knee and the patello-femoral joint located beneath the kneecap. This force is intensified for people who have weak quadriceps or thigh muscles, because theres no muscle to absorb the force of each step. The entire impact falls on the knee joint.
You May Like: Kinesio Tape For Knee Pain
Train Smart When Lifting With Bad Knees
One of the most terrible lifting experiences is developing sudden knee pain. Whats worse is not being able to train as you now have an injured knee.
Fortunately, now you can as you have the correct exercises to use.
Always remember to train hard and smart when working on improving your muscle strength. As we are not doctors, any concerns with your health require medical supervision. Always listen to your body and stop if you need to stop or change things that aren’t working for you.
Just be smart. And strong.
Why Quad Strength Matters To Your Knees
The quadriceps are made up of four muscles on the front of your thigh. Their main function is to extend, or straighten, your knee, and theyre involved in several important tasks of daily living, such as transitioning from sitting to standing and supporting your knees while youre standing or walking.
In a recent study, researchers performed isometric strength testing on 163 people, ages 40 to 79, and categorized them as having normal or weak quadriceps. About 12% of the participants had quadriceps weakness when the study began, and they were more likely to report higher levels of knee pain.
Over a mean follow-up period of 3.3 years, 15.5% of the participants experienced loss of knee cartilage, as viewed on magnetic resonance imaging . This loss of cartilage occurred in 44% of those with quadriceps weakness, compared with 11.7% of those with normal quad strength a threefold increased risk of cartilage loss in those with quad weakness the study authors reported.
With the quads being the main muscles that support the knee joint, if you dont have good muscle strength there, that can lead to further problems, Bungo adds.
Read Also: How To Treat Arthritis Knee Pain
How Do You Strengthen Quads Without Doing Squats
Sample Bodybuilding Program To Build Bigger Legs WITHOUT SQUATS Hack Squat: 4 sets of 5-10 reps, slow eccentric and brief pause at full depth. Front Foot Elevated Bulgarian Split Squats: 4 sets of 10-15 reps. Leg Extensions: 4 sets of 10-20 reps. Leg Curl: 4 sets of 10-20 reps. Standing Calf Raise: 5 sets of 10-15 reps.
What Is The Quad Muscle
The quad is attached to the kneecap , which, in turn connects to the shin bone . There are four distinct muscles that make up the quadriceps muscles. These muscles, on the front of your thigh, are called the vastus intermedius, the vastus medialis, the vastus lateralis and the rectus femoris.
When your quads contract they straighten the knee and extend your leg. Since they extend over the kneecap they also help to keep your kneecap in its proper position.
Also Check: Knee High Wedge Boots Women’s
Do Weak Quads Cause Knee Pain
General Guidelineswhen Training With Knee Pain
Direct out.Go to a doctoror another healthcare professional for a second opinion.AMRTwould be idealbutBooking can take weeks if not months. In the meantime see aSpecialist.Consider what they sayand mix it upWitha smart oneapproachTo the training.
If it hurts, stop.This is your body telling you something is wrong.Learn to listen to these signals.
Train around it.There’s always something you can do. Knee pain is not an excuse to stop exercising.FiFind what works for you and do it .
Work your hamstrings and glutes.MMost people over- and under-train their “mirror muscles”.her back chain.Strengthen your glutes andHammiesfor better knee support.
Train your ankle mobility.How often do you go to the gym and see people working on their ankle mobility?If this actually happened, it would be knee painfarless common.The more flexible and strong your ankles are, the betteryour knees feel better.
Don’t Miss: What Is Good For Knee Health
Lunge Exercises For Quadriceps
If you are progressing well with your quadriceps exercises for knee pain, then it might be time to try doing some lunges. If you are just starting out with quad exercises however, these may well be too challenging at first and may aggravate your knee pain.
The same principles apply for lunges as for squatting exercises for quadriceps so make sure to read back through the top tips before starting these.
Valslide Landmine Reverse Lunges
To make landmine reverse lunges even more knee-friendly, try adding in Valslides or a slideboard for the reverse lunges.
Do the reps in a slow and controlled fashion and focus on keeping your weight on the heel of the working leg as you slide back as far as you can go, all without losing your balance or having your chest collapse forward.
When you reach the bottom position, think about pulling through the glute of the front leg rather than pushing with the quad. Donât worry, your quads will still get plenty of work.
Hereâs what it looks like in action:
If you watch the video, youâll notice that the shin of the front leg hardly moves at all during the set and the tibia stays completely vertical throughout. Being that our goal is to deload the knee, thatâs a good thing.
If you continue watching, youâll also notice that Iâm able to slide way back much farther back than you can step in a regular reverse lunge and even a little farther back than you can go in a landmine reverse lunge without the slide pad.
Along with making for one hell of a hip flexor stretch, this encourages a posterior weight shift to take pressure off the knee of the front working leg. Better still, it also limits knee flexion in the rear leg, which again is great for folks suffering from knee pain sometimes the rear leg experiences pain during lunges when forced to bend excessively and absorb the impact of stepping backwards.
You May Like: What Kind Of Doctor Do You See For Knee Pain
Read Also: How Do You Diagnose Knee Pain
How Do I Reduce Knee Pain When I Exercise
What Causes Weak Quads
Sitting a lot and otherwise not taking the time to challenge your quads through regular strength work can weaken this muscle group. Thats because any person can lose muscle unless it is being trained, Fagin explains.
Its worth noting that in general, people tend to overuse their quads and underuse their glutes, says Fagin. So while its important to address weak quads with strengthening exercises, you also want to spend time training your glutes as wellhere are some easy butt exercises you can try.
Don’t Miss: Back Of Knee Hurts When Straight
What Else Can Help
Sometimes with knee pain, there is weakness in the muscles that control how the kneecap moves, vastus medialis oblique, VMO. If you get any grating or grinding sensations in your knee, try these VMO exercises as part of you quadriceps exercises for knee pain routine.
Many people also find using resistance bands really helpful with knee exercises – check out our article on the Benefits of Resistance Bands to find out how they could help you.
Page Last Updated: 11/03/21
Anatomy Of The Knee Joint
The knee is a modified hinge joint that connects the femur and tibia , allowing for flexion and extension.
It’s a highly complicated joint where multiple bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments unite. Together, they function to allow locomotion while carrying the entire weight of the body.
Here’s a brief knee anatomy lesson.
- Femur: This is a large thigh bone in the upper leg.
- Tibia: This is a smaller shin bone of the lower leg.
- Patella: Also known as the kneecap, the patella is a triangular bone that articulates with the femur and attaches to the quadriceps tendon. During leg extension, it increases the leverage of the quadriceps, thus increasing force. Its secondary function is to protect the knee joint and prevent the muscle tendon from rubbing against the distal femur.
- Meniscus: A crescent-shaped piece of cartilage that’s thick and spongy, each knee joint has two that sit on either side of the knee joint to absorb shock and distribute load between the femur and tibia.
- Articular Cartilage: A type of cartilage in the knee joint that reduces friction, distributes load, and cushions force.
As you can see, a lot happens within the knee, and that’s not even factoring in tendons and ligaments. While an awesome structure, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
Also Check: Loose Bodies In The Knee