Regular training prevents injury
First, the good news: people who work preventively on strengthening and stabilising their knees sustain substantially fewer knee injuries. This has now been confirmed by large-scale meta-analyses. The analyses show that with regular training, 27% of all knee injuries and 51% of cruciate ligament injuries can be avoided. It therefore pays off to specifically train the knee.
Strengthen the knee with a versatile workout
Muscle strength alone doesn’t relieve the knee. If, for example, the thigh muscle isn't flexible enough, or if the muscles don’t work together correctly, muscle mass is of little use. It’s therefore advisable to vary the way you work out. Include flexibility exercises and train everything from feet to hips and in all variations:
- Open and closed muscle chain: such as knee extension exercises in a seated position and free knee bends.
- On a machine and with your own body weight: such as the leg press machine and free lunges.
- Coordination and balance: such as one-leg stands while turning your head.
- Flexibility: such as various yoga positions like the sun salutation.
6 exercises for a healthy knee
Physiotherapist and sports scientist Sebastian Cormier demonstrates.
How often to exercise? It's best to incorporate knee stabilisation exercises into your normal workout to feel the effect. Or you can do them separately 1-3 times a week.
Training despite pain?
We all experience knee pain at some point. Usually, our first reaction is to take it easy. This is the body’s natural protective mechanism and, in principle, the right thing to do. The problem with this is that exercise would sometimes be exactly the right thing to do to regain confidence. If the pain is caused by muscular tension, for example, exercise would be ideal. This is because exercise of a moderate nature – in water, for example, or cycling – improves the blood supply to muscles, tendons and ligaments, strengthens the bones and also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
You should avoid
- holding your breath
- pressurized breathing
- heavy sweating
Discuss programme with therapist
An important point: depending on the injury, exercises can also be counterproductive. It’s therefore essential to discuss your exercise programme with your therapist if you have severe pain or injury. If the knee is swollen, inflamed or injured due to an accident, a doctor or therapist should be consulted.
Variations: to make it harder
Our exercises in the video are the basic variations. As soon as you can do them correctly and start to get bored, you can add variety:
- Close your eyes: if you want an extra challenge with balance and coordination, close your eyes now and again.
- As soon as these exercises are too easy for you or you’re doing a sport where jumps are important: incorporate jumps. This is called plyometric training and enables your muscles to better stabilise and cushion reactive and fast movements.
- Uneven surface: a towel, balance pad, rolled-up mat: these make it even more difficult to keep your balance.