Hey RMA crew!
Great to see the girls rocking out their RMA shirts at the RIFREV session with Will and I last week. Had a few people asking about exercises for runners knee lately and I thought I would go through some important stuff with you. We’ve talked before about technique with knee pain and just be careful with overstriding as well as heel striking. If you get too far out in front the forces for your knee are multiplied three fold and that can spell trouble. Shorten stride a touch so you land more under the hips. Remember too, if you heel strike you get locked into the full mechanics of your foot. If you happen to drop in through the foot that will lock you into a rotation that twists the knee inward subtly…Not good! So think about optimising the mid foot strike to unlock the knee from the stresses of bad foot mechanics.
Then strength wise you want to be aware of two areas, quads and gluteals (your butt). I see so many runners that do a ton of work on glutes and quads and feel like they are good strength wise but it is so easy to miss out sections of strength essential for running. Basically it is the inner ranges you want to strengthen which is really the first 45 degrees of your squat. The first few degrees from straight knees to bending is the hardest to actually activate. Try it for yourself. Put your hand on the quad muscle just above the knee. Now feel for it contracting as you lower into a squat. I bet you find it hard to tense in the first part and then it starts to kick in as you lower. That gap in strength is what you need to fill. When you get stronger and less inhibited in that inner range you will find you become a lighter, more efficient runner.
The butt is similar in that if you are doing glute strength like a pelvic curl, you will drop through the first part of the exercise and use momentum to cheat in the last part…INNER RANGES are the parts you need to fill and almost everyone misses them. So start with technique and look at quarter knee squats with a ball between legs so you can squeeze and activate quads better. Once you have mastered that you can progress to single leg, to get rid of what Ang always calls your sexy hips, then hops etc. Don’t worry about deep squats if you have knee issues, the first 45 degrees is what counts for running! With your butt, pelvic curls are often first, squeeze butt right to the top then hardest is to keep them firing in the first part as you lower down (your functional running range)! Wall glutes are another good one to check out. Then progress to single leg weight bearing stuff like single leg squats, hops but be doing them mentally thinking about filling the gaps of strength in the inner (RUNNING) ranges!
Good luck with these guys! Remember comfy at all times and if you have an injury, work closely with your health care professionals! Looking forward to catching up with you all out and about soon. If you see us make sure you say hi!
Talk next week,