Today we’re talking about midline stability, in relationship to knee pain.
One of the most important concepts that we constantly share in our, more athletic development classes, is the whole idea that midline stability, reflexive control of the core of the body, however you want to define that, has a huge role, in the amount of movement possibility that exists in the periphery.
The simple idea, is if I have really, really sloppy, unstable midline. It makes it more difficult for my brain to be able to control my extremities. Very often, what we’ll find is people that have knee pain, hip pain, elbow, shoulder, et cetera. If we work in the midline of the body, improve stability, through whatever means, whether that’s a visual drill, a vestibular drill, or some kind of other motor controlled drill, we often see vast, quick improvements in pain.
Today, what I want to talk about is knee pain in lunging. One of the really frequent things we run into in the fitness industry. You have clients come in. They get into an anterior lunge, or an anterior 45 lunge, and they go, “Ah. I’m having some knee pain.” Now, there is a very easy way, to get an idea of maybe, why that may be occurring, based off strength, deficits, either in the back of the body, the posterior side of the body, or the front of the body, the anterior side of the body.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter for most of us, because all that we really want to be able to do, is design our training programs in such a way that we can continue to do what we want to do, without pain. What I’m gonna show you, is a very, very quick test, to get an idea of, hey, how can I modify my lunges, so that I don’t have knee pain.
We’re going to imagine, for this particular set up, that I’m having some left knee pain. Every time I step into an anterior lunge. All right? I may be stepping out into it. I may be stepping back. However, you’re getting into that position, maybe you’re experiencing some irritation around the kneecap, or somewhere else in the knee.
One of the easiest ways to get an idea of, maybe why this is occurring, is to use a band. Now, if you see what I’ve done, I’ve taken a band, and I’ve secured it off to my left side. All right? We’re working on my left knee. We’re gonna do two different version of a lunge, utilizing the band, held either in the right arms, or the left arm, because depending on how we hold it, the muscular adaptations that has to occur, will emphasis either the back of the body, or the front of the body. What we’re gonna do, is we’re gonna use the band, and then re-test how our knee feels.
The first thing that I’m gonna do, is I’m going to focus on activating more of the posterior chain of the body, for my left knee. The way that I’m gonna do that, is I’m gonna hold the band in my right hand. I’m gonna hold the band in my right hand, step out in just a little bit. I’m wanna pull it, so I’m doing a little bit of external rotation with my shoulder, so that it’s in the midline of my body.
Now, as I do that, and hold, you can feel that you’re having to do some counter rotation work. Now, as I’m holding that, I’m going to step forward into my lunge, making sure that I continue to get a good pull on the band. In this particular position, as I’m getting in more activation of the posterior part of my core musculature, I’m trying to get an idea, how does my knee feel, as I get that amount of rotation? All right? That’s one possibility.
You may have to play around with the band distance. I may actually want to step back a little bit, and then step into it, so the band isn’t way, out in front of me, from an angel perspective. This is actually pretty self explanatory. If it feels better, awesome. You may need to do some more rotational work, more posterior chain work, or use bands, held in the hands, as part of your lunge work, during a training session.
Now, Let’s assume that I start off again, working on my left leg, holding it in my right arm, and that did not improve my knee issues on my left side. I’m then going to switch it to my left arm. If I hold the band, now in my left arm, internally rotate a little bit, pull it to my midline, again holding here … Once again, as I step into my lunge … If you freeze here for a second, you’ll actually notice, you feel a little bit more activation through the anterior musculature of the body. This is all related to, how the band is pulling us into this knee. I can get here, again going through my lunge patterns, getting an idea of which seems to give me the greatest amount of mobility, and the greatest amount of freedom for my knee.
Just like a couple weeks ago, we talked about shoulder pain, and how sometimes, if we give ourselves stabilization exercises for the head and neck, while we’re moving our arms … This is another idea related to primarily the lumbar spine and pelvis, in relationship to what’s going on into your lower extremity.
Again, very simple idea. Test your lunge. Get an idea of how much difficulty you’re having, how much pain you’re having, and then test right arm resistance, and left arm resistance in that same lunge pattern, just making sure that there’s a rotational component to it. See, which one gives you the greatest relief.
If it gives you the greatest relief, then I would encourage you to use that in your training sessions for the next couple weeks, and see if you can clear up that knee issue.
If you have any questions about this, let us know, otherwise, good luck.