Starting Cross Fit? Insanity? Weight Lifting? Trail Running? Pretty much any exercise regimen will demand a lot of your joints, particularly your knees. Every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. (That means a person who is 10 pounds overweight has 40 pounds of extra pressure on his knees! Yikes!) If you’re jumping and bending you need to protect those important joints!
- Warm up. I can’t say this one enough. This helps protect your knees. And everything else. 🙂 Just take 3-5 minutes at the beginning of every workout and you’ll be amazed at how muscle soreness decreases and overall recovery speeds up.
- Land softly when doing any sort of plyometrics and cardio. I’m currently doing insanity and have learned the importance of this very quickly! I land on my toes first and roll into the balls of my feet. (This isn’t a slow motion, it’s instant – but the technique helps your knees not get beat up as badly.)
- Wear the proper shoes. Do you overpronate? Are you running, trail running, cross-training? These use different shoes! Having the proper shoes as you’re exercising allows your muscles and joints to remain aligned as you perform the movements. Switching to the proper shoes can quickly help your muscles and injuries dissipate.
- Keep your knees in the proper position. Overextending your knees and not keeping them over your ankles will almost guarantee knee injuries. The proper way to squat and lunge is to keep your knees over your ankles. (Doing this gives you a better workout anyway! It involves more muscles!) It can be hard to keep your knees directly over your ankles, but a good guide is to make sure you can always see your toes as you squat.
- Don’t lock your knees. Hard-locking your knees as you’re performing any exercise is a recipe for disaster. You are literally creating the opportunity for your joints to rub hard against each other. This wears away the cartilage and can eventually cause bone spurs. NOT fun.
Do you have any other tips for protecting your knees? Are there any other workout tips you’d like to hear about?
Good luck working out!