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Ankle and Knee Stability - Exercises To Build Lower Leg Strength

One of the biggest issues with our population is alignment. Of course obesity can cause misalignment in knees, hips and back so of course weight loss and decent body fat ranges are your first step but how can you do cardio if you have pains from lack of knee or ankle stability?

Step by step you work slowly toward improving the ankle and knee conditioning then you can work toward more activities which help with your fat loss goals. Plyometrics are excellent for those who are not obese but at a higher body weight you risk injury on your already deconditioned legs so you have to take a step back and work up toward your alternate therapies.

Once you are certain your footwear is ideal for support you will want to include a body ball to your home equipment. I like to have my clients do bicep curls seated on the body ball, core tight, alternating both arms with palms out while keeping a leg off the ground. This is a slight start.

Do a few sets of 10-12 per side leg up. Really work on maintaining posture here. Next I like to have my clients perform front shoulder dumbbell raises standing on one leg, with the other leg has the knee bent back at 90 degrees, thighs inline.

There are a few great choices within the Shapefit exercise guides database which also double for excellent stability training.

Single leg hack squats are perfect but you really have to watch your form to make sure the knee does not fall inward. I would also alter the toe in and toe out each set with one set of toe straight ahead.

Dumbbell side lunges really help the inner knee and ankle but you want to make sure you don’t use any momentum, use muscle to get back up again! Also pay close attention to the foot placing and directions.

One leg presses are used in physio and rehab all the time and can be on an inverted machine, parallel leg press or sliding horizontal lying leg press commonly seen in physiotherapy clinics. You want to see the mid of your knee align with the outer upper foot whenever you perform a knee bending strength exercise unless toe angles are implemented, this ensures training in proper alignment. Of course this rule can vary for other purposes but for alignment purposes you stick to this rule of thumb.

Sets are kept between 2-5 and reps start at 10 and work up to 40 or more. Weight is always kept light for this type of therapy especially when you are working with joints and conditioning.

Alignment issues are also a flexibility issue so you want to make sure your joint muscles are properly warmed and stretched for conditioning and normal workouts as well.

Quadriceps, hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, soleus, hips and glutes should be thoroughly stretched for 10-20 seconds each.

In summary I only want to add that you should always keep movements in this type of workouts slow and controlled, never ballistic especially if you are overweight. Conditioning can be weekly or less frequent depending on your alignment needs and the severity of the issue. I also highly recommend deep tissue massage and or chiropractic therapy to aid in alignment problems for those with severe pain.

By Linda Cusmano






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