Running can be very extreme for your body, especially lower body parts. If you’re new to running, you should be very careful how to do a proper warm-up and stretch. Many runners, in general, don’t put much attention to preparation before running and the injuries are possible. Even if you’re a runner in good form and experience behind you, the injuries could occur.
Running, as an activity, is constantly putting much pressure on knees and knee injuries are very common. I developed a knee injury in the past from my regular jogging sessions. In this article, I would love to share the workout routine I used to strengthen my knee and overcome the injury.
Also, one note before reading further. If you suddenly feel any unusual pain in the knee, don’t run and rest for a few days doing light stretching sessions. If you still experience mild pain, you can start with the workout routine, but if the pain is severe, consider visiting a specialist.
#1 Wall Sits
The major cause of knee injuries is that one muscle group is lagging and the pressure is directed on the knees. Wall sit is an ideal body weight exercise that targets quadriceps muscles primarily, but put constant pressure on the knees. If you have a pain in the knee, you should start doing this exercise on a daily basis, but don’t overdo it.
When sitting in the squat position, don’t sit too deep at first, but constantly increase the depth of the squat, until you reach 90 degrees. Take a closer look at the alignment of your fingers and knees as knees shouldn’t be positioned in front of fingers. The most effective way to perform this exercise is by doing it in intervals. Set the interval time of 15 seconds as you begin with the training and steadily increase it by each day. Complete 5 intervals with light stretching between the intervals.
#2 Step Ups
Another effective exercise in coping with knee injuries is step up. You need to have a sturdy box or any object that is stable and you can stand on it. For example, the bench in the park is perfect if you don’t have access to the gym.
The height of the object should be around your knee height. To do the exercise correctly, you should stand in front of the box taking a shoulder-width stance. Put one leg on the box and step up as you do on stairways. Stay on top for a second and slowly return to the beginning position. Step up with the other leg and repeat the process. The main point of this exercise to be effective is to do each step up slowly and totally controlled. Begin with 5 repetitions for each leg and repeat it five times. Rest between the circle 1 minute. Also, try to increase the number of repetitions by each day.
#3 Walking Lunges
A walking lunge is a perfect exercise for strengthening quadriceps, gluteus and primarily hamstrings. Also, the exercise act as a great stretch for hamstrings that can lead to different injuries if not flexible. You can perform exercise anywhere, but make sure that you have enough space around you. Take a shoulder-width stance and take a long step with one leg leaving another behind. The knee should be aligned with the foot fingers while the knee of another leg should gently touch the surface.
From that position, take a long step with the other leg and repeat it for a few times. Walking lunges are not only ideal exercise for strengthening your legs, but also for improving your overall balance. Slowly begin with 5 repetitions for each leg and repeat the circle 5 times. Rest between the circles for one minute doing a light hamstring stretch. Be sure to increase the number of repetition each other day.
#4 Deep Bodyweight Squats
The squat is a basic compound exercise that is targeting the majority of lower and middle-part muscles. The best way to increase the strength of your legs is by doing the squats and its variations. The squat can be a really effective exercise for preventing a knee injury if done correctly. You can do squat anywhere and you don’t need any equipment. Take a shoulder-width stance and slowly lower your gluteus until you reach 90 degrees.
Be sure that your knees don’t pass the foot fingers. When you reached 90 degrees position, slowly go into the lowest position and stay there for a few seconds. Return yourself to the standing position and repeat it for 8 times. Complete 3 circles and rest between each is 1 minutes.
#5 Calf Raises and Stretches
The development of calves can represent a serious problem to a runner. If you don’t have strong calves, the majority of pressure will be redirected to the knees. That way the injury is almost unavoidable, but you can do a lot on that question. Calf raises are pretty effective and easy to perform the exercise you can do anywhere. Simply stand in a stable and comfortable stance and raise your weight on the foot fingers and keep the body weight in that position for a few seconds. Slowly return yourself in the normal stance position. Repeat it 10 times and slowly increase that number. When you gain a decent strength in your calves, you can do the exercises, but only on one leg. That way, you will put more pressure on one calf which means you will get the faster strength and muscle gains. Don’t forget to do the light stretching routine after exercising your calves.
Simple Bodyweight Workout Routine to Strengthen Knees
- 5 x 15-second intervals of wall sits
- 5 x 5 repetitions of step ups (each leg)
- 5 x 5 repetition of walking lunges (each leg)
- 3 x 8 repetitions of deep bodyweight squats
- 4 x 10 repetitions of controlled calf raises
- 10 minutes of light stretching after workout