Ankle and Knee Stability - Exercises To Build Lower Leg Strength
One of the biggest issues with our population is alignment. Being
obese can obviously cause misalignment issues in the knees, hips
and back, so losing excess weight and decreasing body fat are critical
for helping with stability issues. But how can someone perform cardio
exercise if they have pain from a lack of knee or ankle stability?
It's a step-by-step process and you will work slowly toward improving
your ankle and knee conditioning initially and then you can work
toward more activities which will help with your fat loss goals.
Plyometrics are excellent for those who are not obese but when you
perform this type of training at a higher body weight you risk injury
to your already deconditioned legs so you have to take a step back
and work up toward these types of activities.
Once you are certain your footwear is fully supportive, you will
want to add an exercise ball to your home gym equipment. I like
to have my clients do bicep curls seated on an exercise ball with
their core tight while alternating both arms with their palms out
while also keeping one leg off the ground. Perform a few sets of
10-12 reps per side with your leg up. Try to really work on maintaining
posture on this exercise. Next, I like to have my clients perform
front shoulder dumbbell raises standing on one leg with the other
leg bent back at 90 degrees. There are lots of great choices in
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 with your toe-in and toe-out for each set with one set with
your toes straight ahead.
Dumbbell side lunges really help the inner knee and ankle but you
want to make sure you dont use any momentum and focus on using
only your muscles during the movement! Also pay close attention
to your foot position and keep your back straight at all times.
Doing the leg press machine with only one leg at a time is an exercise
that's commonly used in physiotherapy and rehabilitation and it
can be performed on an inverted machine, parallel leg press or sliding
horizontal lying leg press which is commonly seen in physiotherapy
clinics. You want to make sure to be able to see the mid area of
your knee align with the outer upper foot whenever you perform a
knee bending strength exercise unless different toe angles are implemented
because this ensures you're training in proper alignment. This rule
can vary for other purposes but for alignment purposes you should
stick to this rule of thumb. Sets should be kept between 2-5 and
reps start at 10 per set and can work up to 40 reps 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 up 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
with these types of workouts slow and controlled. Never use ballistic
style movements, especially if you are overweight. Conditioning
can be performed weekly or less frequently depending on your alignment
needs and the severity of your issues. I also highly recommend deep
tissue massage and chiropractic therapy to aid in alignment problems
for those with severe pain.