Written by Sami Fait
Raise your hand if you have knee problems! If you raised your hand, this blog is definitely going to benefit you. If you don’t, great – let’s keep it that way! Here in this blog today I will be sharing tips and tools on how to keep your knees protected during exercise, primarily during HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for the utmost longevity and an injury-free lifestyle. The knee pain is probably the most frequent complaint I hear from people on why they can’t run or do specific workouts; so let’s put a stop to this! You are not alone, but you have the power to change this.
Did you know – that when the front of the leg is functionally stronger than the back of the leg, you’re automatically susceptible to hyperextension? Our knees are only designed to bend and straighten, so anything outside of these movements can cause injuries leading to surgery and rehabilitation. Not fun!
What is hyperextension?
It means that you extend too fully where you end up jarring your joint. A hyperextended knee occurs when the knee is bent backward, often as a result of landing wrong after a jump. A hyperextended knee can damage ligaments, cartilage and other stabilizing structures in the knee. To avoid this, and hyperextension as a whole, don’t ever lock your joins. With knees, arms, etc – keep them soft and don’t fully extend.
Essentially, we want to mindfully keep the hamstrings engaged and strong with knees soft. Here are a few examples of how you can do this:
- Triangle Pose (Yoga)
- Pyramid Pose (Yoga)
- Bow Pose (Yoga)
- Yoga for Hamstrings (on Grokker – VIDEO)
- Cycling! A super low impact exercise that strengthens the hamstrings and ultra protects the knees. I’m a huge fan of cycling. I’ve biked 24 miles in one 55 minute indoor class before! Try it if it’s available in your area.
- Swimming – a perfect way to protects your joints from strain as the water keeps your knees weightless. Especially since it’s summer, get in that water and do some cardio baby!
- I also recently discovered Tridosha Wellness’, Better Knees Program and I fell in love. He encompasses just about everything I’m passionate about. Physical therapy, Exercise Science, and Holistic Medicine. Check out this program! Click here.
With the first three above poses, you want to keep the back of your knee soft. If you feel your hamstrings tighten, bend your knee slightly to loosen that up and feel the stretch more in your hamstring. Yoga is always about modifying to your best ability.
You want to be so strict with this, because once you get a knee injury especially with the Popliteal Fossa (back of knee) the chances are high that you’ll be down for at least a couple of months! Swollen and in pain. Not to say any names here, but I have a personal trainer friend who recently suffered from this injury and you know what caused it? Not stretching prior to exercise. Big no-no, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a Pro, everyone should be warming up. Pre-workout stretching is incredibly important and while it seems like a no brainer, I can vouch for a lot of people who bypass this step. Primarily caused from lack of time or lack of patience – please do not skip this step. Warming up the muscles is necessary. Point blank. Click here for warm up videos on Grokker.com
HIIT Workouts for the Legs
If you haven’t heard of HIIT workouts yet, speed up your game and retire from the treadmill! This is where it’s at – high intensity interval training entirely increases your agility, blasts fat, gives an effective fully body workout while providing intermittent cardio and the best part: it can be done in 20 minutes or less. (Although I like to do 45 lol). With HIIT, you use your legs A LOT. So these are perfect examples of how to strengthen those hamstrings and being mindful of protecting the knees simultaneously. When you do HIIT exercise, the knees are bending and straightening constantly – so remember what I said above, that those two moves are the only extensions are knees are designed to do. If you rotate the wrong way, stop too quickly, or lock your knees (which is something you never want to do) – things can go wrong quick!
On Grokker.com, there are over 1500+ fitness videos and about 95 that strengthen the hamstrings. One of my favorite go-to Expert duo is Pace and Go, they are intense but can help you really step up your game. I’ve gathered a couple of relative videos searches for HIIT and hamstring strengthening below!
Aside from protecting your knees via proper and mindful exercise, there are supplements you can take on a daily basis to strengthen your knees, joints, and ligaments through vitamins. Click here to browse these Vitamins through my affiliate Piping Rock Health Products. Be sure you’re warming up, be sure to squat properly, and most of all be sure to keep those hamstrings engaged and strengthened to keep the extension ligaments in the knees working at it’s best ability to avoid injury and pain as a whole. If you suffer from knee pain, please know you are not alone and that you are not stuck with this, nor is it “hereditary”. Simple mindful moves and vitamins is all one really needs. If you have any questions and want to ask me offline and in a private setting, email me at Hello@BeMindfulYoureCreative.com
Thank you for your time in reading this, and happy exercising my friends!
My name is Sami from BeMindfulYoureCreative.com; I am a full time Holistic Health Coach and Life&Style Blogger. I focus on a “Mind Body Beauty” lifestyle where I am most passionate in correcting the imbalances of the mental state, to bring the physical state at ease with ancient natural medicine for our modern world. I currently have an Aromatherapy program on how to implement herbs and oils into the daily life for ultimate stress reduction and mental clarity. Email me for services and collaborations at Hello@BeMindfulYoureCreative.com!