6 Quadriceps Exercises to Stabilize the Knee
The vastus medialis muscles are located in front of your thigh bone. They consist of two main groups: the vastus intermedius (VIM) and the vastus lateralis (VL). Both are very large quadriceps muscles that work together to stabilize your knee joint. If these muscles aren’t working properly, it could lead to pain or instability in your knees.
In order to strengthen these muscles, you’ll need to perform various exercises. You can do them lying down or standing up, but they’re all pretty much the same thing. Here’s what you have to do:
Lie face down on a flat surface with your legs straight out in front of you. Your feet should be at least shoulder width apart and toes pointed outward slightly. Keep your back straight and shoulders pulled back while keeping your chest up and breathing normally through your nose.
Now lift one leg up off the floor until it’s just above eye level. Keeping your other foot on the ground, slowly lower it back down so that it touches the ground before starting over again. Do this several times, alternating between both legs. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout each rep!
Doing this exercise will increase strength in the VL and VIM muscles. It’s easy to cheat and use momentum to lift your leg, so be careful not to swing your body or lift your leg too high in the air. You should feel the muscles on the front of your thigh working, but if you feel any sharp pain or any pain radiating to your knee then you’re most likely straining a different muscle group and should stop the exercise.
Ready to kick it up a notch?
Once you’ve mastered this exercise you can advance to the next level, which involves lifting both legs at the same time. Simply lift both legs until they’re just above eye level and hold for a few seconds before slowly lowering back down. The key is to keep your legs extended straight out in front of you and your toes pointed toward the floor the entire time.
After you’ve mastered this, you can increase the difficulty again by lifting one leg at a time as described in the previous step. Once you can easily lift and hold both legs, try lifting one leg at a time. Do not alternate legs; instead lift the right leg, hold it in the air, then lower it back down before lifting the left leg. When that becomes easy, try lifting each leg individually with only a slight pause in between.
It is important to remember that challenging yourself is beneficial, but only if you still perform the exercise correctly. If you feel any sharp pain or any pain radiating to your knee then you’re most likely working the wrong muscle group and should stop the exercise. Incorporate these exercises into your daily workout routine and you’ll increase the strength of the muscles surrounding your knee joint for improved stability and reduced injury risk.
Stay motivated and keep working out!
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Sources & references used in this article:
Patellar fractures in total knee arthroplasty by RE Windsor, GR Scuderi, JN Insall – The Journal of arthroplasty, 1989 – Elsevier
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation for quadriceps muscle strengthening after bilateral total knee arthroplasty: a case series by JE Stevens, RL Mizner, L Snyder-Mackler – Journal of Orthopaedic & …, 2004 – jospt.org
Quadriceps and hamstrings muscle dysfunction after total knee arthroplasty by JE Stevens-Lapsley, JE Balter, WM Kohrt… – … and Related Research®, 2010 – Springer
Quadriceps strength and the time course of functional recovery after total knee arthroplasty by RL Mizner, SC Petterson, L Snyder-Mackler – Journal of Orthopaedic & …, 2005 – jospt.org