Hector Estrada from Aztec Athletics, and in today's video, Knee Strengthening Exercises
for Runners: Avoid Runner's Knee. You're going to learn: what is runner's knee, causes, prevention,
and finally, knee strengthening exercises.
Let's jump into it.
You started running, and GREAT SUCCESS!
You're consistent with your running.
But then, a couple of days or weeks down the road, you start to notice that your knees
are starting to hurt.
This is typically known as Runner's Knee.
Now, you may be wondering "What is Runner's Knee?"
It's Epic Drawing Time!
What is runner's knee?
Well, this is your leg and the main bones are the femur in your thigh, the tibia and
the fibula in the lower leg, and the patella, which is in your knee cap.
When you have any kind of knee pain, it's always going to be associated with your patella.
Here's the reason why: Imagine, that this is your femur, and this is your tibia, and
this here is your patella.
So, the patella here sits on top on the knee cap, and it's lose.
So, what ends up happening, is that as you're running, as you're jumping, as you're walking.
Any kind of movement.
If your knee isn't healthy, this bouncing motion is going to cause knee pain or runner's
Okay, you know what runner's knee is, but now, what are some causes.
It can be all summed up into 2 main causes.
The first one is your patella is not tracking properly, and the second one is that you have
reduced impact cushioning.
So, what do I mean by your patella or your knee not tracking in alignment?
Basically, when you're running.
Your knees should be tracking in a consistently straight pattern.
But, when your knees start tracking in a side-to-side movement, that's going to put a lot of stress
on your knee cap.
One of the causes of this side-to-side movement could be: you either have tight quads, tight
hamstrings, or tight calves.
This is the reason why foam rolling or stretching is really beneficial to keep your knees in
alignment while running.
The second is that you may be over-pronating, which just means you're flat footed.
So, when you're taking a step, your foot will tend to cave inward, and as you can see here
in the knee, it tends to track inward or sideways.
Finally, you might have weak quads.
Your quads consists of 4 big thigh muscles, and if there's any kind of imbalance or weakness,
this will also, cause your knee to track sideways.
So, you want to make sure to keep your quads nice and strong.
Which we'll actually get to with the knee strengthening exercises.
Alright, and the second category of causes to runner's knee is reduced impact cushioning.
Basically, around your knee, you have a lot of cartilage that helps to protect against
any kind of impact.
But, if it's worn down, such as, from aging or some kind of injury.
you won't have that cushioning to help protect your patella.
Also, if you have high arches, this can lead to less cushioning for your knees.
What a high arch will do is shorten your calf muscle, and with a shortened calf muscle,
you have less impact reduction.
Because, that's one of the main jobs of your calves: to absorb the impacts when your feet
And typically, this is an issue that women encounter, because of high heels.
So again, foam rolling and stretching come into play to help out with this issue.
Now, if you have the pain over a long time.
I highly recommend you get it checked out by a specialist.
Because, runner's knee is actually a very general term.
Depending on where exactly the pain is in your knee, will determine the issue.
For example, it could be causes by arthritis, it could be caused by tendons that are swollen,
it could be caused by patella femoral pain syndrome, it could be caused by a meniscus
Honestly, the list is really endless.
Okay, let's jump into prevention.
So, when should you take preventative measures?
The moment you start feeling any kind of discomfort in your knees!
If your knees start hurting during or after your runs, you have to start taking steps
to alleviate and eliminate the pain.
Because, it's only going to get worse.
The first thing you want to do is run on softer surfaces, such as, asphalt or grass.
Secondly, you want to get some running specific shoes.
Especially, if you tend to be flat-footed or have high arches.
Thirdly, you want to make sure that you're stretching your quads, hamstrings, and calves
after your run, or on your off days.
So that, your knees are able to track properly.
Fourthly, you want to make sure that you're doing strength training for your quads and
Which again, will help with your knee alignment, and we'll actually get to this in the last
part of this video of knee strengthening exercises.
The fifth preventative step is to cut back on your mileage.
If all those miles you're running are hurting your knees, it only makes sense to cut back
a little bit.
And then, finally.
Build your weekly miles back up steadily.
Remember, the goal is to alleviate and eliminate the pain.
As an example, let's say you're running 30 miles a week.
Your knees are starting to bother you a bit.
So, you decide to cut your miles in half.
Now, you're running 15 miles a week.
Using the 10% rule, you're increasing your miles by 10% each week.
So, in the third week you're running 16.5 miles.
And in the fourth week you're running 18.1 miles.
Progressively, over the course of a couple of weeks you'll be able to build back up to
your previous mileage.
Let's jump into the final segment of this video: Knee Strengthening Exercises.
We're going to cover 15 exercises, that are broken down into 5 categories: the quads,
hamstrings, glutes, calves, and finally balance.
Let me explain why each of these categories is important to strengthen your knees.
So that, you're not wondering, why aren't we just focusing on the quads?
Here's a little anatomy lesson on how each of these muscle groups affects your knees,
and why you should be strength training each one.
Again, your quads help with your knee alignment to straighten your knee out.
Whereas, the hamstrings on the back of your thigh, function to flex your leg at your knee.
Your glutes, also known as your booty, has a very interesting function.
It works to bring you leg out to the side.
It also functions to rotate your knee inward and outward.
The importance of having strong glutes, is that it enables you to have more control over
your leg and knee rotation.
For example, if you're running curves, if you're making a tight turn, or if you're in
a unsteady environment, such as running on a trail, where you have to quickly jump and
If your glutes aren't strong enough, your knees are going to become more irritated,
and you could also potentially sprain your ankle.
Which leads into the next muscle group: your calves.
Your calves primarily control your feet.
So, if these are weak, your ankle will be unsteady, which will put a lot more tension
on your knee.
Which can lead to more knee pain.
And the final one: balance training.
Well, it ties everything together.
You have to remember, that 100% of running is always done on one leg.
In other words, you only have one leg at a time in contact with the ground.
Having good balance enables you to have better control over your entire leg musculature;
from your calves, to your quads, to your hamstrings, to your glutes.
That way you'll be able to prevent or reduce any kind of knee pain from runner's knee.
Without further ado, let's jump into the 15 knee strengthening exercises to avoid runner's
After I demonstrate all these exercises for you, I'll put a quick little recommendations
portion on how you can mix and match these exercises to create a workout program specifically
And I'll also include that in the description below.
Let's jump into it!
And there you have it.
The 15 knee strengthening exercises to avoid runner's knee.
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