These exercises will help you strengthen your knees and ankles and will improve your weightlifting performance. Here’s how to perform ’em properly!
Strong knees are essential for any active person and considering the fact that nowadays everyone is complaining of knee pain, we must take proper care of them. No matter the reason for your knee pain, you don’t have to live with it (of course, we’re not talking about serious issues that need medical attention and are very hard to cope with). Try adding these exercises and stretches to your daily warm-up routine and you’ll strengthen your knees and ankles and become more powerful!
1. Straight Leg Raises. Start with this simple strengthening exercise for your quads. It will do wonders for your knees also. All you have to do is lie on your back on the floor (use a fitness mattress), bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Keeping the other leg straight, raise it to the height of the opposite knee. Repeat 10 times for three sets.
2. Ankle Band Distractions. Stiff ankles won’t let the knee and hip to synergistically work together in creating movement and this will lead to injuries and pain. By taking care of your ankles you can prevent certain tyes of knee pain.
Loop one end of a band around a firm base and the other around your ankle. Drop into staggered stance, with the banded leg in front of the non banded leg. Inch out until you feel tension and then drive the knee forward as far as you comfortably can. Keep the banded foot firmly on the floor. Feel free to rotate the ankle side to side as you drive the knee back and forth. Repeat on both sides for 45 seconds each.
3. Standing Hamstring Curls. Stand up and hold on to the back of a chair or stationary surface and without moving your hips bend the knee as far as possible, bringing your heel up towards your buttocks. Repeat it 15 times on each leg. If this becomes easy, you can add ankle weights, slowly increasing the weight from 1 to 3 to 5 pounds.
4. Terminal Knee Extension. This exercise will get blood flowing to the knee and quad to prepare your lower body for training. To perform it properly take a exercise band and loop it around a firm base, then step into the band with one leg and place it above the top of your knee. Walk out and get some tension in the band. From there bend and extend the knee, really focusing on straightening the knee completely and contracting the quad as hard as you can. Perform for 15 reps on each side.