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Old 10-02-2008, 12:12 PM   #21
Stuart Buck
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

After my knee injury this spring, one exercise that seemed to help was this: Stand on a stair or step of some kind; if you're trying to strengthen the left knee, step down with the right leg (or vice versa); and then step back up with your weight on that same leg (i.e., backwards). So for me, it was standing on my left leg the entire time and lowering my body to the next lower step and then stepping back up on the left leg. Do that 10 or 20 times for one set. As I say, that seemed to help during weeks when I literally could not do squats at all.
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:19 PM   #22
Justin Z. Smith
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

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Originally Posted by Robert Callahan View Post
Never ever ever ever in any functional movement (running, jumping, walking, stairs, lunges, sitting, standing, etc) do you ever use your quad in isolation. It is always working in concert with your Hamstring to balance the forces on both sides of the knee. When you do an isolation movement like leg extensions the neural pathway from the brain to the muscle that is used is different from the one that is used when you do a functional exercise (like squats!). Not only is it different but the pathway developed in isolation exercises cannot be used during functional movement (walking, jumping, running...). So any strength you gain does not help stabilize your knee when you actually need it too.
What does the gained strength do then?
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:23 PM   #23
Jason David
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

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Originally Posted by Justin Z. Smith View Post
What does the gained strength do then?
As an example. Strength gained from the leg extension. Will make you stronger at doing leg extensions.
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:15 PM   #24
Ted Apollo
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

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Originally Posted by Jason David View Post
As an example. Strength gained from the leg extension. Will make you stronger at doing leg extensions.
there will be a bit of a residual effect from leg extension strength on squats, but the point is that you are only as strong as your weakest link. so if your quads are strong, but your core can't hold 500lbs then forget squatting that weight. i had this issue and the only way for me to handle heavy weight squats was to do heavy weight squats. all the leg extensions in the world wasn't going to help me under that weight.

and i second the backwards walking & running.
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:25 PM   #25
Jason David
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

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Originally Posted by Ted Apollo View Post
there will be a bit of a residual effect from leg extension strength on squats, but the point is that you are only as strong as your weakest link. so if your quads are strong, but your core can't hold 500lbs then forget squatting that weight. i had this issue and the only way for me to handle heavy weight squats was to do heavy weight squats. all the leg extensions in the world wasn't going to help me under that weight.

and i second the backwards walking & running.
I think we're saying the same thing. No?
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Old 10-02-2008, 08:35 PM   #26
Erin Davidson
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

OK - actually I think it makes me kind of upset that there is ABSOLUTELY NO MENTION OF SINGLE LEG WORK or SELF MYOFASCIAL RELEASE ON THIS THREAD. GEEEEEZ...

Frankly - and I'm not trying to be mean here - "strengthening the muscles around your knees" means exactly like what it sounds like...

on squatting:

Yes - it's good to do it correctly - weight thrown on your heels, chest high, no rounded back - but go as low as you can and push through your heels to extend from flexed hips to the top...OR you could just watch this video and learn how to squat correctly by seeing a GREAT COACH explain it: (wfs) http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...81301858251744

BUT if you aren't squatting correctly or are still experiencing knee pain in the squat you need to address a few things:

single leg work in multiple directions...they're used to be more of this in Crossfit - it's a shame there isn't lately, but if you'd like to be a better Crossfit athlete (and that might involve being a LESS INJURED one) you'd do well to do OTHER things that make you better suited to Crossfit - that is - don't keep doing Fran if it hurts and if your squat sucks. You're not really to get better in the long run - just worse. And if you don't feel your glutes working at all - you need to get activation exercises going until you do...if you're like MOST of the American population you've probably got a condition called "sleeping glutes" - even if you wanted to you have a hard time recruiting your posterior chain (so that'd be glutes and hamstrings dominantly) in movements where you really should (like the squat).

So what can you do?

How's your forward lunge, reverse lunge, lateral lunge, side step up, front step up, split squat, single leg romanian deadlift, single leg squat (HAS ANYONE EVEN SEEEEEN MARY LATELY?!), and when's the last time you did any of these WEIGHTED? The thing about backward running, etc. is that in this case while you're still changing directions (therefore hitting different muscles) you're not actually addressing the issue at fault in the first place which is, more than likely, HOW you move - not just which movement you're doing...make sure you can execute the same primal motions you make in running with great confidence (like all the single leg stuff I noted above) before diving into pulling a load backwards for time...

Also - have you heard of foam rolling? Go here to find out more. (internal link, wfs) I've had more than a few clients complaining of chronic knee pain come in and tell me that after rolling out their IT bands the pain completely went away. I'm not making this up - I've even seen it happen right in front of me. I find it to be true especially in runners and well, people that Crossfit consistently. While I agree that fixing running technique could drastically help your pain - how much are you running anyway? Did anyone even ask you this?

Also - pain usually starts from the ground up, what kind of shoes are you wearing?

Lastly - you can read what I say or you can read what a guy who wrote a HUGE volume on knees said: Bulletproof Knees by Mike Robertson. T-nation so not really wfs...

Hope this helps - feel free to PM me if you've got questions...

and seriously - I'm still SHOCKED no one said anything about the above...
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Last edited by Erin Davidson : 10-02-2008 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:32 PM   #27
Stephen R. Lampl
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

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Originally Posted by Erin Davidson View Post
.....OK - actually I think it makes me kind of upset that there is ABSOLUTELY NO MENTION OF SINGLE LEG WORK or SELF MYOFASCIAL RELEASE ON THIS THREAD. GEEEEEZ.......
Erin,

Wonderful explanation here. I think some of the confusion rests with differing theories as to what contributes to strengthening the knee joint with respect to joint stability. I read the link on "Bulletproof Knees" with interest. Lots of good points there.

My only experience is through post-surgery recovery and PT on my knee. I had good flexibility at the time my injury occurred, but losing three of the four quad tendons had to throw off the balance in the joint. Both the orthopedic surgeon and the PT staff were mostly concern about restoring the balance between the vastus medialis and the vastus lateralis, as the femoris would come back well on its own. This was, I was told, to make the knee track correctly. Ligaments in the joint appeared to be OK and the joint was otherwise stable. Yet no mention was made of other exercises, save for "sissy squats", which hit the quads; step-ups (onto a small bench), which worked the quads and glutes/hams only slightly; and ROM exercises. To ensure proper tracking, we used leg extensions (toe turned out 15 deg. to activate the VMO), with no weight; and to a lesser extent, toe turned in (also 15 deg) to activate the VL. Also included were standing leg curls, with a 5# ankle weight. Again, these exercises particularly were intended not to produce any increase in strength, per-se, but to increase joint stability and knee tracking.

I'm curious now as to what my new PT will tell me this next week. I have some joint pain, but the joint is also very noisy and now degenerating, with narrowing in the patellar channel. Oddly enough (as I may have said earlier), proper squats (per Rip) feel good and produce less noise/crepitus.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:34 PM   #28
Wade Smith
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

Erin...

Foam rolling is great, but doesn't address the imbalance(s) or weakness(es) in the muscles around the knee per se. VMO typically needs to be strengthened. Foam rolling does well in loosening the tight muscles that might be pulling knee cap out of track, but unless you address/fix weak VMO, there won't be a definitive fix.

Also, regarding the lack of mention of "single leg" work, see my post above referencing "Peterson Step Ups". This is a MUST do for knee sufferers, like the OP, who need to strengthen the VMO.
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:09 AM   #29
Wade Smith
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

Regarding single leg step ups:

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciwao8Hclfo (wf/s)
Peterson Step-up: More of a slide show, but has good text commentary that's helpful.

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hMPHNEA0YI (wf/s)
Peterson Step-up: Short video clip that shows proper movement.

3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhBmZ-pNEzA (wf/s)
Poliquin Step-up: Slightly different from Peterson step-up in that foot stays flat.

Note: The more my knee healed doing Petersons (and TKEs and everything else I mentioned in my post above last week), the more I could morph the Peterson step-up into a Pistol; getting deeper and deeper.

One more key thing (at least for me): I ice my knees twice a day (3x on weekend when I'm home) whether they need it or not, just to keep inflammation down. It's a preventative thing for me and it seems to work great.

Erin, great link to the "Bulletproof Knees". Thanks for posting. That one deserves to be bookmarked/favorited by many of us.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:32 AM   #30
James Dent
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Re: strengthening muscles around knee????

Like the Petersen step-ups just tried them out they are goooood.

What puzzles me with knee rehab is that the standard knee doc advice always says rowing and cycling are ok, but squats aren't?? what's the difference?
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