If you’ve had a knee injury or think that the joints in the area need a rest, you don’t necessarily have to stop working the lower body muscles. With the exercises that we propose, you will gain strength in your legs without your knees suffering the least.
From the simple act of walking, to the possibility of performing an everyday gesture such as bending over . The knees do not stop working throughout the day and if we talk about impact sports. Such as running, we must remember that our own weight falls heavily on them with each stride.
The knees can suffer different types of injuries, from tendonitis, to a serious dislocation and also simple discomfort derived from the effort that they can make on a daily basis. As long as the doctor does not advise against sports practice, you have options to train your legs without damaging your knees. Keep in mind that the best way to take care of them is to ensure that the muscles that are linked to the joint and are responsible for protecting it (mainly quadriceps and hamstrings) are as strong as possible.
Routine to tone the legs protecting your knees
Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves . Working hard on the main muscles of the lower extremities will not only increase the power and tone of your legs, but will also provide extra protection for your knees.
Pain and even minor knee injuries must be taken very seriously to avoid greater ills but, as long as your health and physical condition allow it, you can continue practicing sports that do not imply a strong impact on your joints, such as swimming or cycling. In addition, you have some specific exercises with which to achieve strong legs without damaging the knees, among them:
1. Quadriceps raise
It is a really effective exercise when it comes to working the front of the thigh and having powerful and rock-hard quadriceps. It consists of lying on your back and raising one leg while keeping it straight. It will be enough to raise it only a few centimeters, slowly, holding the position for 5 – 10 seconds to descend again slowly. Do the raises alternately with both legs while noting how your quads are pulling to achieve the goal without stress on your knees at any time.
2. Squats with support on the wall
Strengthening your legs without movement in the knee joint is possible with this isometric exercise that consists of supporting your back against a wall and lowering your buttocks, as if you were sitting on an invisible chair. Your knees should be bent at an angle of 90º or slightly higher (if it costs you too much). Hold this posture with your back straight and without taking it off the wall for at least 30 seconds. Rest and do three reps.
TIP: If you notice pain in the affected knee when your quadriceps are strained, raise your body a little, making the angle of the knees wider. If the pain persists, stop the exercise.
3. Wall stride
Also in this case, the wall is the only thing you need to gain strength in the lower body without hurting your knees. With this exercise you intensely stretch your hamstrings and calves, exercising your arms as well. Stand in front of a wall at a distance of about 50 centimeters. Next, bring one leg forward, bending the knee, while the other remains straight. You should try that the heel of the extended leg does not come off the ground. Take this stride and, with your arms, use force as if you were pushing the wall itself.
4. Lying prone leg raise
Very easy. This exercise is perfect for marking the leg muscles without damaging the knees. Imitate the movement your legs would make when swimming a length in the front crawl. It consists of, lying face down, alternately raising your right and left legs, separating them just a few centimeters from the ground.
TIP: To strengthen your legs without damaging your knees, try to keep them extended but without blocking the joint, so that the muscles work and not the joints.
Remember to always consult your doubts with your personal trainer or physiotherapist. They will tell you the best exercise routine to strengthen your legs without injuring your knees and achieve your goals little by little.