6 physical therapy-inspired knee exercises for runners

Physical therapy treatment techniques may not be the first thing you think of as a source for exercise education. However, physical therapy can be a great source for inspiring new exercise routines. Physical therapy is often involved in sports rehabilitation, and physical therapy knee exercises are actually used by athletes from diverse backgrounds. If you’re a runner, exercise is vital. Whether you run competitively or just for fun, a good exercise routine can ensure that you are in good shape when doing it. Maintaining knee health is one essential aspect of a runner’s exercise regimen. Knee exercises inspired by physical therapy should be incorporated to prevent injury and boost speed. With physical therapy-inspired knee exercises, you can run with confidence.

Why physical therapy knee exercises are important for runners

  • Injury prevention — Being injured can prevent someone from running for months at a time. This is why runners often take measures to ensure safety when running. One benefit of knee exercises from physical therapy is that they focus on preventing future injuries. By strengthening the muscles around the knee and alleviating physical stress, these exercises can reduce the likelihood of a running injury. 
  • Increased flexibility — Tight muscles can place strain on the knee joint while running. To reduce this strain and make running easier, stretching exercises are important. Incorporating exercises that stretch your legs and hips can help maintain flexibility throughout the body. This can also reduce the risk of knee issues associated with muscle imbalance. 
  • Improved running — Being in better physical condition can make you a better runner. Knee exercises can home in on the key muscles and tendons involved in running. This can help improve your overall biomechanics. Thus knee exercises can do more than make you safer and more flexible. Physical therapy-inspired knee exercises can also improve your efficiency as a runner.

Top knee exercises for runners inspired by physical therapy

  • Hamstring curls — Your hamstring muscles play a crucial role in running. Hamstring curls are an exercise that allow you to take advantage of the curling exercise machine. To start, lie facedown on the curling machine. Make sure to place your heels on the lever. Flexing your knees, curl your legs up toward your glutes. After pulling up, slowly lower back down to the starting position. 
  • Step-ups — This exercise starts with a platform or step lower than knee height. Step onto the platform with one foot, driving forward through the heel. After taking this step, return to the base and step with the other foot. This exercise can be repeated at a fast pace to simulate running on an incline. 
  • Jump squats — Jump squats are an exercise that incorporate squatting with a high-energy bursting motion. You can start by standing with your feet aligned with your shoulders. Next, bend your knees and press your hips backward. When you have lowered to a squatting position, push through your heels to jump straight upward. Return to a standing position as you land. 
  • Wall sits — Wall sits can help build muscle in your legs and improve endurance for running. Begin by standing with your back against a wall. From here, slide down the wall at a slow pace until you reach a 90-degree angle. Hold this position. For the best effect, try to hold for 30 seconds to a minute. If you have trouble holding for that long on your first try, don’t worry. You can try again, gradually increasing the duration as you gain endurance. 
  • Lunges — Lunges can be a great exercise to strengthen your knees. Standing with your feet aligned with your hips, take a big step forward with one foot. As you step, bend both knees to lower your body. With the heel of your front foot, push off to reset your position. You can alternate legs as you do this exercise to work out both knees. 
  • Single-leg balance — Balance is an important part of running. Having good balance can help you recover from stumbles and prevent falling injuries. To do this exercise, stand on one leg with your standing leg bent slightly. Keep the other foot lifted off the ground. You can let this foot hover or rest it on your standing leg. Try to maintain balance for an extended period, up to around a minute. As you repeat this exercise on each leg, you can improve your duration.

Lattimore Physical Therapy can help runners exercise effectively

At Lattimore Physical Therapy, we can help you improve your running capabilities. Our skilled team of physical therapy specialists is ready to design a treatment plan tailored to your personal needs and priorities. With a range of sports-focused exercises and specialized therapies, you can improve your knee health and your running abilities with physical therapy.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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