|NOTE: If you are one of the many who suffer from knee and hip problems, you may enjoy reading this article. But do not just read it, include it as a part of your daily exercise routine. You do have one, don’t you? (lcr)
Build hip and knee stability with a few basic exercises
Updated July 04, 2015
The abductors and adductors are critical for providing integrity of the hip joint and create a strong, balanced link between the lower body and the torso. They also need to be exercised through an entire range of motion. If you work these muscles only in one direction (forward and back) by walking, running or using common cardio machines then you are not building structural integrity of the hip, or the entire lower body.
These muscles, along with the quads and hamstrings, play an important role in allowing the patella (kneecap) to track properly as the knee joint bends.
Strong Muscles Support Joints
Strengthening and balancing the muscles that surround the knee can take the pressure off the joint and decrease the amount of total weight absorbed by the ligaments, meniscus and cartilage in the knee. Because the knee is a hinge joint and only moves in one direction, it’s important to maintain both strength and stability.
The hip joint, on the other hand, is a ball and socket joint that works best when it has mobility as well as strength. The hip is a much more complicated joint, and needs to be exercised in a variety of directions, including rotation, in order to increase overall stability. If the muscles that support the hip joint (quadriceps, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and even the core muscles) are strong and allow appropriate mobility, the amount of pressure and wear and tear on the hip joint, as well as the knee joint, decreases.
Proper Alignment Reduces Pain
The soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) help maintain proper alignment of the bones during movement. If bones aren’t properly aligned when they move through a range of motion, there can be a great deal of friction, a lack of stability, decreased mobility and compromised function. This can set an athlete up for a variety of injuries.
The best way to maintain biomechanical integrity during movement is with the proper balance of strength and flexibility around the joint. Muscles work in pairs (extensors and flexors) and maintaining the proper balance of strength in these muscle pairs can go a long way to prevent joint pain and injury.
Begin with a Functional Warm Up
Consider using the core workout as a warm up before strength training. This routine activates the core stabilizers as it warms up the larger muscles to prepare for more powerful strength training exercises. Also see:
Exercises for Strong Hips and Knees
This list offers some great exercises that athletes from all sports can incorporate into their training routines to help keep the hips and knees properly aligned, strong, flexible and able to withstand the rigors of sports.
1. Clam Exercise
2. Bridge Exercise
3. Plank Exercise
1. Side Plank
3. Single Leg Bridge
4. Lunge with a Twist
5. Weighted Step Ups
1. Walking Lunge
2. Lateral Plyometric Jumps
4. One-Leg Squat and Reach
5. Overhead Lunge
Real Life Exercises for Hips and Knees
When it comes to preventing injury, using compound or “functional” exercises that use a variety of muscles and simulate real life movements are generally considered the ideal way for athletes to train. Such movements include exercises like squats, lunges and lateral movements. Exercises that isolate a specific muscle (such as a leg extension or biceps curl) do have a place in athletic training, but are often reserved to help isolate and rehab a muscle after an injury or to recover after a surgery. (Read More: Compound vs. Isolation Exercises)
Basic Knee and Hip Exercises
If you are starting from zero or getting over an injury, you can begin to build strength and stability in the hip and knee joints by going back to basics and using these simple exercise routines.
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