Health

12 Bodyweight Exercises for Knee Pain Relief

Are your knees feeling achy, stiff, or otherwise not-so-hot? You’re in luck. Our latest Sweat with SELF video is all about low-impact exercises for knee pain relief.

Led by Taylor and Justin Norris, cofounders of the LIT Method, this recovery-focused routine features 12 moves designed to both assuage cranky knees and reduce the risk of future knee problems. Through a combo of strength work, stretching, and foam rolling, you’ll boost flexibility and stability in the muscle groups surrounding the knee joint, including the hips, glutes, and quads. That, in turn, can translate to happier, healthier knees.

Quick caveat: Knee pain can be caused by a number of things, including ankle and/or hip issues, joint derangement, and/or tendon and ligament problems, as SELF previously reported. So if you’re having knee pain, it’s always a good idea to see a professional who can ID the root of your issue and develop a plan for improving it. You should also check in with that professional before attempting anything new, just to be safe.

If you are cleared to do these exercises for knee pain, try it before or after your regular workout. Or, do it at really any point of the day as a quick, gentle movement break. All you need is a mat and a foam roller. Don’t have a foam roller? Use a household object—like a water bottle, wine bottle, tennis ball, or lacrosse ball—instead.

Check out the video below, or keep scrolling to get detailed workout directions and GIFS of each move. 

WORKOUT DIRECTIONS

Start with the warm-up.  Do each exercise for 60 seconds with no rest between movements. At the end of the warm-up, rest for 60 seconds. 

Next, do the knee and quad strength circuit. Do each move for the amount of time noted. Then, move to the stretches. Hold each stretch for the amount of time noted. Finish with foam rolling. Do each move for the amount of time noted.

Warm-up

  • Hip Circles (in both directions) x 60 seconds
  • Standing Lunge Stretch (Left Side) x 60 seconds
  • Standing Side Reach (Left Side) x 60 seconds
  • Standing Lunge Stretch (Right Side) x 60 seconds
  • Standing Side Reach (Right Side) x 60 seconds

Knee and Quad Strength

  • Lateral Shuffle x 40 seconds
  • Squat Hold x 20 seconds
  • Tempo Squat x 40 seconds

Stretches

  • Lying Quad Stretch (Right Side) x 60 seconds
  • Lying Quad Stretch (Left Side) x 60 seconds
  • Glute Bridge x 20 seconds
  • Figure-4 Stretch (Left Side) x 60 seconds
  • Figure-4 Stretch (Right Side) x 60 seconds

Foam Rolling

  • Calves x 45 seconds on each side
  • IT Bands x 60 seconds on each side
  • Hamstrings x 30 seconds on each side



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