KNEE PAIN PREVENTION
Legs are one of the most significant body parts to train. They are often neglected by many gym goers and the reason is obvious! Training legs is not fun and easy! However, leg muscle growth and strength must be stimulated. Whether you are a competitive athlete, gym rat, or a daily walker, training with extreme intensity but dealing with knee injuries or knee pain can put an irregularity in your fitness journey.
HOW TO PREVENT KNEE PAIN WHILE EXERCISING?
Knee joint pain is a common issue often caused by exercise. Ultimately, any type of strenuous physical activity has its risks when appropriate exercise habits are not followed correctly. However, this article should be able to help you navigate techniques that can prevent knee joint pain. It will also help keep your fitness journey focused on continuous improvements in your fitness goals. We will discuss some tips and techniques for preventing patellar, meniscus, or ACL pain and/or injuries during training.
SAVE YOUR KNEES! HERE IS A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE (TIPS AND TECHNIQUES)
WEAR PROPER SHOES
First off, wearing proper shoes can help a long way in preventing knee pain. This is because it helps provide support from the lowest extremity of your body up your legs. Wearing well-cushioned shoes can offer padding to stabilize your impact with the ground.
Before any workouts, performing a brief warmup session is crucial to get your blood flowing and loosen muscles. Warmups are simply any low-impact light activity involving your entire body to ease pressure on “unready” muscles and prevent them from overcompensating during workouts. Once the warm-up is done, move on to stretching.
Always try to perform stretching exercises pre and post-workouts. You can do lower body stretching exercises that can strengthen the muscles around the knee joint to improve mobility and prevent knee joint pain.
Here are some of the lower body stretching exercises you can do for at least 30 seconds each (pre and post-workout).
Standing hamstring stretch: First, stand with legs tall and stretched making sure you are not loving your knees. Place feet hip-width apart. Exhale and bend forward and reach toward your toes without bending your knees.
Lying hamstring stretch: First, lay on your back with your legs fully stretched. Then exhale while raising your right leg and hold onto wherever you can reach, such as the calf, ankle, back of the thigh, or foot. Make sure you are keeping your leg straight throughout the process.
Calf stretch: First, put your hands against a wall while keeping your arms straight, then place your right foot behind your left foot. Bend your left knee for a few seconds, feeling the stretch, do not let your left knee go past your left ankle. Make sure you are keeping your right heel flat and right knee straight.
Consult professional fitness trainers to learn more about stretching workouts and the right way to perform them.
GRADUALLY INCREASE INTENSITY LEVELS
It is common for joint pain, particularly in the knees, to be caused by taking on too much, too soon. Quickly shifting from low intensity to high intensity can put excessive pressure on your knees, and high intensity to low intensity can lead to muscle weakness. Therefore, avoid big changes in intensity during workouts or between workouts. It is recommended to gradually increase or decrease intensity levels to prevent knee pain.
It is also possible to develop knee pain when lifting more weight than you can safely handle, especially when doing exercises such as squats and deadlifts. It is highly suggested that you listen to your body signals and do not use more weight than you can handle. If you are experiencing too much difficulty and strain in your workouts, you are probably lifting too much weight and putting yourself at risk of injury. Start slow and choose strength exercises that you can complete with the full range of motion.
FORM AND TECHNIQUE
In order to fully strengthen your knee muscles, lower the weight and perform the exercises with proper form and technique. You should avoid locking out your knees when performing leg exercises to prevent feeling a "popping" sensation in your knee that may result in an ACL injury. ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament that helps connect your thigh bone to your shinbone. It is most commonly caused during physical activities that involve sudden stops or changes in directions, such as sudden jumping or landing. It can cause meniscus tear and knee swelling making it difficult and painful to bear your overall body weight. Therefore, it is imperative to make sure you are doing proper techniques and knee positions when jumping or landing from jumps. This will prevent inward movement of the knees which can contribute to ACL injuries.
PROPER FORM DURING RUNNING
You can also injure your knee during running. Here are some tips to keep in mind while running properly: avoid heel strikes, keep knees slightly bending when landing, and lastly, keep feet pointed in the direction you are heading and you should be just fine!
If you are currently preparing for a race, you might experience knee pain if you increase your mileage too quickly. Therefore, gradually increase your mileage by less than 10 percent each week.
PROPER FORM DURING WEIGHTLIFTING
Weightlifting if not done correctly can be very dangerous. Start with smaller weights and progress to heavier weights when your strength is fully built. Avoid locking out your knees at the top of an exercise when weightlifting. Note that your weight should always be kept on the heels when squatting and deadlifting. To be extra careful, make sure your knees are behind your ankles during squatting and lunging exercises.
PROPER FORM DURING SQUATTING
This is very pertinent, as squatting can have a huge impact and muscle action going on around the knee bone. You can hurt your knees if you squat on the balls of your feet instead of your heels. Also, avoid letting your knees come forward as you descend into a squat position. Stick your glute muscles out, and keep your back arched (do not bend) as you descend. When you are ready to ascend, you should be pushing off the heel of your foot and not your toes. Consider squatting without wearing shoes if you have difficulty doing so.
PROPER FORM DURING CARDIO WORKOUTS
If you are experiencing a knee injury, it is advisable to avoid high-intensity cardio workouts. That is because the impact of your feet slamming on the ground may irritate an existing knee injury. Instead, try working out on an elliptical trainer or stationary bike as they might be easier on your knee muscles. When using an elliptical trainer, lower the incline (height) to lessen the strain on the knees.
WEAR KNEE BRACES
Lastly, a bonus tip is to wear knee braces while doing a strenuous workout to help stabilize your knee and prevent meniscus (a c-shaped pad of cartilage in the knee) tear. Wearing knee braces can also provide a cushion against potential falls preventing knee injuries.
TO WRAP UP
Knee pain might be a very common issue. The good news is that it is completely avoidable by improving your range of motion and flexibility through regular exercise. Performing stretching and core strengthening exercises can target the muscles to help support your knee joints. These tips and techniques can help you avoid joint injuries or prevent knee pain while exercising.
We strongly suggest you consult our fitness trainers and physical therapists before starting an exercise program the correct way. For effective knee pain treatment, we can recommend the exercises that are safest for you. We can also provide suggestions for modifications based on your knee pain and underlying causes. Find more on our website at jackednutrition.pk.