It goes without saying that everyone should be physically active on a daily basis. The more, the better. It is one of the best things anyone can do for themselves. It makes you healthy and may even help you live longer. However, being active in any form carries with it the risk of injury. For example, a knee injury which may cause you problems in the future, flare up every now and then and become extremely painful during or after a workout.
The knee is one of the most complex joints in your body. When we train we use it mostly for maintaining stability, such as during back squats, lunges, leg presses, etc. If you’re not seeing any signs of improvement for an extended period of time after an injury, the first thing you should do is go see a doctor and make sure that it’s not anything serious.
If it’s not, there are some exercises which can help you go through the workout by experiencing less pain or no pain at all. That way you’ll be able to bypass the condition while continuing to build your muscles.
1. Warm-up and stretch
A proper warm-up is extremely important. The reason for this is that it will increase the body’s temperature, which drastically decreases the chances of incurring muscle or connective tissue injuries. Additionally, it will also reduce muscle viscosity, as well as enhance the suppleness of the muscles.
Besides warming up properly, it is equally important to regularly stretch your muscles. The most effective way to stretch your legs is to use the foam roller. You won’t find it very comfortable at first, for sure, but as time goes by, you will see that it will give you tremendous benefits. The rolling massages the tense muscle fibers within and will make your pain more durable and eventually disappear. Here are 34 pictures to see which muscle you are stretching.
You should especially pay attention to foam roll your quads, hips and inner thighs. When they’re properly stretched, the knees will not be pulled as far out from their natural position and you’ll be able to maintain proper tracking. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be ready to do some exercises involving weights.
2. Leg extensions
You shouldn’t go too heavy when you start out with your first exercise. The purpose here is to warm up the quads and to make it easier for the knee to take the stress from the exercise. Go for 12 or more reps on each set. The majority of people start with their legs placed too far back which puts most of the torque on the knees even before they engage their quads.
The solution is to start with your knees at a 100-degree angle which will force the quads to engage instantly and will take the burden off the knees.
Perform 3 sets of at least 12 reps. Rest time between sets should be 2 minutes or less. You don’t need to rest between sets too much, considering that these are just warm-up sets done with a small weight and light training volume.
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