3 Exercises to Strengthen the Knee
Knee injuries are the most common injury for athletes. For most, it can be a debilitating set-back and the injury can linger for years. Being the recipient of multiple major knee surgeries, I had first-hand experience of what it takes to come back from knee injuries. Here are my 3 favorite exercises to keep me strong and pain-free.
#1 Banded Terminal Knee Extension
The banded terminal knee extension, or TKE is one of the easiest exercises to perform to help eliminate nagging knee pain.
To start, loop a band around a rack or sturdy pole. Step into the opposite end and put the band behind the knee. With the knee bent, allow your knee to track over your toe with only the ball of your foot contacting the ground. Once the knee is over the toe, straighten your leg, driving your heel into the ground until the foot is flat and the knee is locked out.
Repeat this exercise for 12-15 reps per leg for 3-5 sets.
#2 Tibialis Raise
The tibialis muscle is one of the most under trained, overlooked muscles in sports performance. The tibialis is the muscle that runs in front of the shin and provides support for the foot and ankle while helping to absorb/transfer force.
To perform, find a wall to rest your backside on. While keeping your heels driven into the ground, lift your toes in the air, creating a stretch in the lower front of your leg. Hold for a brief second at the top and control your foot on the way down.
This is a very easy exercise to perform and can be progressed by adding weight with the use of a tib bar. Perform sets of 20-25 and complete 100 total reps.
#3 Single Leg Isometric Hold
Isometrics can be performed in many different ways, but I like to go heavy with the single leg, leg extension ISO. Start in the leg extension machine, but only working one leg at a time. Start light and progress to heavier weight.
To perform, raise your leg to ¾ of the way to the top and hold while flexing your quad. Hold this position for 30-45 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg.
This exercise has allowed me to train my quads/VMO’s heavy without putting it at risk of injury. Start light and push the limits on how high you can go. Make sure you aren’t locking your knee out and using a weight that you can control for the duration of the set.
I typically perform 2-3 minutes on each leg.
Knee pain can be extremely difficult to work around. By choosing the correct exercises and progressing based on your ability and pain level, these 3 exercises can help you recover and strengthen the knee to help prevent any future injuries.