You know the feeling. It hurts when you get up from a chair, walk up the stairs, squat down to tie your kid’s shoe, doing cardio and definitely during all quad dominant exercises on leg day. Knee pain shouldn’t be taken lightly especially if you’re serious about your training.
Reducing knee pain should be a priority but how do you do it without all the pain pills and cortisone injections? If you focus on the my top 3 methods to rid yourself of that frustrating pain, you won’t be slowed down by your achy, breaky joints anymore…
1. Prevent further breakdown
It’s a well known fact that the best cure is prevention but you’re already are past that point so the next best thing is to prevent matters from getting worse. I’ve found that by protecting your knees from further damage will expedite your relief. Here are the steps I want you to begin implementing immediately into your regimen prior to working out legs or intense cardio
Warm-up: a solid warm-up will go a long way in terms of injury prevention.
A warm-up should serve to do three things: generate heat, improve mobility and “get into the groove” which is to nail proper training form when doing exercise. An effective routine to warm-up the knees is
- Take a short warm shower prior to training. I found that by running warm water over the knees begins to generate heat in the knee and brings a small bit of immediate relief.
- 3-5 min of light to moderate cardio on either elliptical or stationary bike as they tend to place less pressure onthe knees. The cardio continues to heat the knee joints but also loosens and warms up the surrounding muscles for more mobility.
- Dynamic stretching is next in the warm-up and that entails stretching the knee in a repetitive fashion through it’s full range of motion (ROM). Doing a light set of hamstring leg curls has helped me tremendously to reduce my knee pain prior to training. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps with a light weight to really loosen up behind the knee.
Knee sleeves are created to provide warmth, support and stability for the knee joints while training. Most are size specific so prior to purchasing a pair, make sure to measure the circumference around your knee joint for an accurate fit. I personally use Rehbands as they are high quality and with great durability.
Post training you should reduce any potential inflammation of the knees with ice
Take 20 min after your workout to ice your knees to reduce the inflammation that could cause additional pain. Sit in a comfortable chair and elevate your legs and plop the ice packs on the knees.
2. Repair Damage
Once you understand how to prevent additional wear and tear to the knees, you can focus on repairing the damage already done.
For the past 8 years I have been using a product known as Animal Flex which contains a powerful joint complex. The glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM of the complex helps to rebuild and repair the connective tissues in and surrounding the knee joint. The cetyl myristoyleate, flax oil and hyaluronic acid helps to cushion the joint allowing you to feel less sharp pain when doing simple tasks such as standing from a seated position. Finally the natural herb complex such
as curcumin from turmeric, bromelain and boswellia are added to have a natural anti-inflammatory effect so you won’t have to reach for the nearest bottle of pain pills. Taking the supplement as the label directs, once a day, is all you need to help bring those knees back to life!
3. Build Knee Stability
You’re now on your way to recovery but don’t forget the last step which is to improve the stability around the knee so that you don’t cause an imbalance which could lead to more injury. In my graduate anatomy and physiology course I remember my professor stating that in our bodies there is a compromise between stability and flexibility. The more stable something is the less flexible and vice versa. If you have a muscle imbalance between the front & back or sides of the knee joint it can result in injury. Through my years of training, I’ve found most people just have weak hamstrings which causes an undue stress on the knee. So to fix I recommend…
Starting each of your leg workouts with some hamstring work
- Lying leg curls: 3 sets of 10-15 reps: EDGE tip: keep your pelvis and hips down flat prior to doing a rep to ensure the stress is placed on the hamstrings and not lower back.
- Romanian dead lift: 3 sets of 8-12 reps: EDGE tip: while the majority of your weight is on the heels of your feet, actively drop your hips back as you allow the bar to pull you down, once the bar meets mid shin level, begin contracting the hamstrings to pull yourself back up to the start.
So there you have it. By implementing these strategies I was able to reduce my knee pain without drugs or injections and you can too. Reducing that acute or chronic knee pain will give you the EDGE you need to take your physique and performance to the next level!