To promote the healthy function of your knee, train your vastus medialis (one of the muscles in your thigh) and your gluteus medius. The exercises described below will help you to engage these muscles. These exercises should be completed at the beginning of each session.
Exercise 1: place a fit ball against a wall, then roll it up and down the wall using the outside of your foot whilst standing side-on to the wall. Complete 6 repetitions per leg for 2 sets.
Exercise 2: Butt-raises; This exercise is to get you to engage your glutes (a part of the gluteus group is the gluteus medius). Whilst laying on your back, raise your butt up off the ground. To ensure you get the best out of this exercise, give your glutes a good squeeze at the top of the motion. Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Exercise 3: Squats; These will make you engage your glutes, particularly if you keep keep the weight in your heels when doing them, and a little tension pulling your knees apart in the process.
Using the leg extension machine, load up a small amount of weight (between 5 and 15 kg). If you use a large weight, you will engage other muscles and the exercise will not be effective. Using just one leg, curl your toe out to the side, then raise your leg as high as you can (straighten it). Then lower it 20cm, before raising it again. Complete 6 repetitions for each leg for 2 sets.
If your gluteus medius is lazy or isn’t engaging as strongly as it should be, it can create knee pain. This is often easily corrected however by teaching it to engage with a few simple exercises such as those prescribed on the previous page (that is, rolling a fitball up and down the wall, and butt-raises). Other means of teaching the gluteus medius to engage involves using a band around your knees when performing squats, or crab-walking sideways.
In some instances, if the vastus medialis is not engaging, the patella (kneecap) will be pulled laterally by the vastus lateralis, which will cause knee pain. A few simple exercises to train the vastus medialis however, such as those prescribed on the previous page, will often correct this.
This exercise is to be done at the completion of your session (that is, after you have finished stretching). Using a pin-loaded cable machine, set the cables as high as you can, then load up a small amount of weight (5-15kg). Pull the cable until your elbows are at your side, then pull your shoulders back as you attempt to get your shoulder blades together. Ensure, however, that you pull your shoulders down at the same time (avoid scrunching them up towards your ears). Hold this stance for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before repeating it.
This exercise will leave you in a good postural position as you leave the gym.
To watch a video on a demonstration of an exercise that will promote shoulder stability, click here…
Watch this video for an exercise to strengthen them. Ideally, you would use this exercise, or similar exercises, to strengthen your ankles, however some people have weakened their ankles so badly that their only option is to strap them.