View Full Version : Advice for knee exercises

Daniel Overvoll
02-09-2005, 06:09 AM
Hello to all. I've been doing XFIT for about 2 months now and seeing a great difference. I started in bad shape and am moving toward whole lifestyle change. Don't want to say more until I'm in this for 6 months or more, then will post changes.

Doc says I need to build up the muscle at the bottom of my quads on the inside of the leg above the kneecap. My kneecaps are a little higher than some people and have a tendency to "Maltrack". He suggested laying off running for a few weeks and hammer the bike to build up that "biker's muscle". He also prescribed some VMO's and told me to stay away from squats.

I find air squats and Tabata squats have HELPED my ROM and knee function, as well as deadlifts and weighted squats/thrusters (I never have knee pain after them). Stay away or what?

Any good exercises to build this muscle besides the bike? If this will help I want to look like BATMAN to keep good knee health.

Your help is sincerely appreciated.



Brian Hand
02-09-2005, 06:45 AM
Daniel, for me nothing makes the teardrop of the quad, the vastus medialis oblique (VMO), work harder than full front squats, but any full squat builds the VMO, including bodyweight squats. I am a little skeptical abut relying on the bike to correct this. If by "VMOs" you are referring to the simple straight legged quad flexing isometric exercise, that may help build up better nerve control of that muscle. Until the nerves are firing the VMO, you're spinning your wheels (no pun intended). The reviled leg extention, a poor choice for building real strength, can be useful for getting the nerves firing too. Once it's firing, deep squats are the solution.

William Hunter
02-09-2005, 08:38 AM
Dan, I agree with Brian. Squats are such a simple, functional movement that they will give you what your quads need, in correct proportion. Running activities do tend to recruit the ITB, which, when overdone, can cause the patella to "maltrack". Perhaps continue with squats, and sub biking for running in the WOD for a month and see how you do.

If you do VMO's here's a neat trick to try: As you contract your quads, tap the VMO with a finger. This seems to help your brain "reconnect" with the muscle and improve facilitation.

Steve Shafley
02-09-2005, 04:53 PM
I've always heard from assorted strength coaches (like Charles Poliquin and Ian King) that 1 1/4 squats his the VMO very well.

This is basically a full squat, come a quarter of the way up, then back down into the full squat, then all the way up again.

Karl Steadman
02-10-2005, 11:42 AM
Hi Daniel,

It is my belief that the VMO is primarily used in the last 30 degrees of extending your leg, "locking out" if you will. Therefore my advice would be to employ the "tapping" technique offered by William, this is a neat trick and does help you focus on the area. I come across many knee injuries and can safely say that isolating any muscle does tend to "knock on" instability to other areas. Perhaps not immediately but it will resurface. STAY AWAY FROM THE LEG EXTENSION :sad:
My advice (don't take this as gospel) would be to do bodyweight squats, perhaps even thrusters to warm up and then front squats for full range. Focus on the last 30 degrees of the motion and squeeze the quad to virtual straight leg....

Daniel Overvoll
02-11-2005, 10:00 AM

You rock! Thanks for all the great advice! If anyone else has any ideas, feel free to chime in.

William, I am working on that tapping the muscle at contraction.



William Hunter
02-11-2005, 10:20 AM
No need to thank me DanO. 2 weeks ago I built my med ball according to YOUR instructions.

Thank you,


Daniel Overvoll
02-14-2005, 05:43 AM
FOr all who helped,

I am doing the WOD's a week behind now, so this weekend was front squats Friday, and a chipper on Saturday. Everything felt fine with no pain in th knee, even the 400m runs.

SOooo..for the next six weeks I will try to do a lot of biking as per the Doctor's advice and keep doing the WOD's subbing the bike for any longer runs. We'll see what happens by then. Thaks for all the advice.


Karl Steadman
02-14-2005, 12:10 PM
Good to hear DanO, keep us posted of your progress and hope it stays trouble free!


James Dent
03-08-2005, 06:06 AM

I had a total knee reconstruction 3 years ago. Rebuilding the right quad and VMO was a part time job! I have to agree with the other guys here on squats, but you could also use a wobble board on your weak leg. I'm doing 10 mins every day -usually in 2 min bursts and the results have been fantastic.
Stand on 1 leg and throw a ball at a wall rocking the board around. This recruits all the stabilising tendons and muscles around the ankle, knee and hip. Then try to squat on it, one legged.
I just wish I'd used one earlier. It improves your sprinting too.
Also try kicksets in the pool using a float as resistance, or standing in the deep end with your hands in the air using only your kick to keep you upright.

Daniel Overvoll
03-30-2005, 11:31 AM
Update for all who helped here:

No knee pain from squats or running. I am using the neoprene sleeve over the joint when I squat or run just to keep things warm and tracking well.

James, the swimming was a good idea and helped, I think. I have a wobble board I use at home, but am such a spaz I can't imagine staying upright one-legged. Will try it today.

Thanks again,


William Hunter
03-30-2005, 12:36 PM

The wobble board is a great tool and you will progress quickly despite how awkward you feel now. If you need a progression, start with it in a corner, put your hands up near the walls and use your fingertips to maintain balance.

Karl Steadman
03-30-2005, 12:41 PM
Good to hear that the knee seems to be on the mend DanO. I'm a big fan of stability discs, kind of an inflatable disc, but much in the same vein as the wobble board by introducing an unstable environment to the joints and connective tissues.

They really will help and i hope your progress remains rapid and strong.

Daniel Overvoll
04-08-2005, 07:05 AM
Thanks for the encouragement! I just tried a stability disc this week at our gym. I saw someone doing tabata- squats on it and thought I'd give it a try. It was good once I got used to it, then I had to try thrusters and yep - got rolled like a cheap drunk on Christmas eve! A few guys were around to witness, but we all just laughed. I'm becoming a highly skilled idiot.