Are knee workouts a necessity when running? There’s no denying that running can be hard on the knees, but some myths do prevail about how it damages your knees. Just to be clear, running is perfectly safe for your knees, unless you already have an existing condition or injury that is exacerbated by your runs.
For those who are starting out or may have amped up their mileage considerably, knees prove to be the most commonly injured joints in the body. Even everyday wear and tear can end up hurting your mobility. The following knee workouts aim to keep this absolutely crucial joint from stiffening, and helps ward off several common injuries, which might end your running if you are not careful.
The most common reason for knee injuries is the lack of conditioning in the joint, coupled with a heavy workload which is likely in the case of beginners, who have not run regularly.
This is a great and easy way to add resistance to regular stretches which increases the intensity and gives you a deeper stretch. The best part is that you don’t need any equipment to get going.
- Wall Sits
Start with the multi-dimensional wall sits which not only target the knees, but add strength and flexibility to hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteal muscles, and lower abdominal muscles. Touch your upper back and butt to the wall and sit on an air chair for about 10-15 seconds, before coming back up. A few reps of 20-second wall sits a few times a week is plenty for most runners.
- Wall Kick
Standing 3 to 4 feet away from a wall, with your back facing it, bend one knee slightly and extend the other one behind you, pushing it against the wall at about knee height, or whatever is comfortable for your fitness level. Keep the same discipline as in a squat; don’t let your bent knee go beyond the toes. And your back must be upright at all times, which helps you maintain the shape of your hips. Continue on one led for 30 seconds before switching.
One of the best no-equipment knee workouts for beginners, as it doesn’t need any experience. Like wall sits, lunges target your glutes, quads, inner thighs and the upper hamstrings, which gives you that necessary spring in the step. It also build the strength to handle the increased shock absorption, when running.
It not just strengthens your knee joint, but also helps you achieve great balance in the half-squat position, an helps stabilize your knees when it comes in contact with the floor. Stretch out with one leg, in front of the other and bend the leg behind to rest the knee at 90 degrees on the floor. Then lift it and plant it in front of the first leg, and bringing the formerly forward foot back and bend it to touch the floor.
This one requires some weights in the form of dumbbells and it does wonders to your balance and coordination, as well as strengthening your back, which greatly reduces the pressure on your knees when running. Deadlifts work on your gluteal muscles and improve the strength and flexibility of your hamstrings.
Weak knees inevitably lead to common injuries such as the dreaded Runner’s Knee, IT-Band Syndrome, ankle sprains and more. The good news is that the above knee workouts strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joints — Quadriceps (front of thigh), Hamstrings (back of thigh), Abductor (outside thigh), and Adductor (inside thigh)—will help make your knees stronger and more flexible, and you won’t have to run to a doctor any time soon.