Stronger Safer Knees
Hi, Z community. Back with you again this week.
This week we’re going to talk about knees.
Stronger Safer Knees – People Are Always Asking
I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently from athletes saying, “Hey, man. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff for my knees. I’ve been doing all of your closed-chain knee circles, etc. They made my knees feel great and they feel safe. What’s the next step?” So here’s what we’re going to show you, which is the next step.
If you don’t know this, we actually do a tremendous amount of band work in Z-Health because we’re already doing a lot of mobility stuff, but what we tell people is that once we’ve gotten good at moving our knees, moving the rest of our body, we want to add some load to it.
Now, we have a new product coming out shortly. I’m not going to tell you when yet, but it’s called the Strength Gym, which is a full body training session that takes you through how to use bands to do everything in Z.
What I want to focus on today is knees. Knees we see all the time, kids, adults coming in that were out playing soccer, playing basketball, whatever, and get some kind of crazy knee injury and we want to help them in the rehab process.
Stronger Safer Knees – Not All Advice Is Correct
The thing we always tell them is, “Listen, a lot of the advice we’ve been given in the gym is kind of wrong,” because we always people in the gym setting, “Hey, if you’re doing a squat, you want to make sure your knees don’t go past your toes” and a lot of things like that. That’s kind of true, but mostly not.
In the real world our knees are constantly deviating in and deviating out and going forward and going back, and if we never practice doing those things safely and intelligently, we’re going to set the stage for injury to occur. So in Z, we say, “Hey. What actually happens? How can we prepare well for it?”
So our basic closed-chain knee circles in R-phase look like this. They’re not complicated, you’ve got a nice tall spine, and you’re just doing good knee circles. You want to try to keep your hips still as best you can so that the work is focused in the knees because you see stuff like this happening. That may be good for Friday night, a little dancing, but what we want to do is try to keep your hips still for this exercise. So R-phase we do it in neutral stance and then in I-phase we do it in different lunge positions. Now you have different lunge positions, you can do knee circles with one knee or another knee or both knees at the same time.
So what I’m going to do is take you through a little progression, assuming that you’ve already done some of this work. I don’t want you jumping into the loaded stuff until you’ve done a little bit of work in neutral stance in lunge positions.
Stronger Safer Knees – Using Bands For Strength
Once again, we’re back to our lovely band. What I’m going to ask you to do is take the band, twist it once so you now have two loops. Once you have the two loops, you step into them, and now what you’re going to do is decide where you want to place it.
Now, in general, when you start this, I’m going to ask you to put the loops above your kneecaps. All right? You’ve got a nice tender little bone just below your kneecap, on the outside, that’s best not to have the bands looping around. So keep it looped around, like I said, above your kneecaps in the beginning. What you’ll notice is that these bands, once you loop them, you really can’t stand in the neutral stance again because if you did, the band just falls off.
So in general, what we’re going to do with these on, we’re going to step into I-phase lunge positions. So we’re going to get nice and tall. We’re going to step forward into an anterior lunge position. Notice that I’m trying to get both my feet facing straight ahead, nice tall spine, pelvis is controlled, and I’m going to just do a simple knee circle with my front leg. The band is going to offer me some resistance as I move around. Okay?
Now if you’re really strong, you might need a much bigger band. I’m using this one because it’s green and you can see it easily against my pants. Normally for these, I use a much wider band, but when you’re first starting out, you may want to use the smaller ones just to get used to the idea of this kind of resisted movement.
Now, what I love about this, like I said, is this particular exercise makes my leg and brain learn how to decelerate and control my knee as it’s moving to the inside because that’s what the band is pulling. This is a typical position that many people injure their meniscus and ACL in. So being able to decelerate against resistance is awesome. All right? It’s a great tool.
So we’re going to do five to ten repetitions, circles in each direction in an anterior lunge, and then a lateral lunge. All right? So anterior and then lateral. Once again, that band’s giving me some nice resistance, moving medially, gives me a lot of feedback as far as the smoothness of my circle but also the control. What I want to be very aware of is if there is an area where I can’t control it. I may need to decrease resistance on the band and build strength there.
Now, once you’ve done five to ten repetitions in each side on each leg, or in each lunge position with each leg, if you feel like doing a little bit more work and you have the time, go back and repeat those same positions. Only now, take that front leg, turn the toes in for a set of five, and then repeat it with the toes out for a set of five.
Every time you change the foot position, the intensity of the exercise changes for the leg. So in terms of developing better neural control of the movement but developing varying position strength, this is invaluable.
If you don’t play field sports, you still need to do the exercise, because you’re working in the yard, you’re running across the street, you’re playing with your grandkids, it’s still very, very possible for your knee to go someplace that maybe you didn’t plan for it to go, and you want to make sure you have the strength and control there. This is the exercise that will let that happen.
So there you have it. There’s a way to progress your knee work. If you have questions about this, please call the office. If you don’t have bands, I can tell you where to find them. It’s an incredibly useful tool, and as I said, over time, if you’re already doing Z-Health work, these are going to become invaluable to you going forward.
Like I said, if you have questions, anything we can do to help you, please give us a call.