Your knee joint is one of the most pivotal joints in your body. It supports the weight of the rest of your body and transmits motion from your core to your feet. However, it also undergoes a lot of stress and strain.
Many muscle groups help to keep the knee in proper alignment with its supporting ligaments, but when any one of them fail or is weaker than the rest, the whole system is thrown out of balance and your knee becomes much more prone to pain and injury. This is where Pilates comes in! In this article we look at some Pilates exercises to strength the muscles surrounding and supporting your knee joint. Read on to find out more!
Inner Thigh Circles
One of the major causes of knee pain is weakness in the inner thigh. Whilst your outer thigh gets a good workout during everyday activities, the inner thigh tends to get neglected leaving your knee vulnerable to injury. The Pilates exercise known as inner thighs circles can help correct this imbalance.
To do this exercise, put one forearm on the ground and prop yourself onto one side; the shoulder should be directly above your elbow. Bend your top leg so that the knee points upward and the foot is flat upon the ground. And be sure to keep your top hip aligned with the bottom one. Lastly, flex your bottom leg and keep it straight. Then lift your bottom leg up as much as you are able – it should meet your top knee. And the inner thigh of the bottom leg – as well as your abs – should be doing most of the work. Do several leg lifts, then lift your bottom leg up and hold, before doing 10 circles in either direction. Repeat on the other side.
Shoulder Bridges With a Ball
This workout will strengthen and stabilize your inner thighs, glutes and hamstring muscles. It is best done with an 10-12” exercise ball, but if you don’t have one, a rolled up towel positioned between the knees will also work. Lie flat on your back with knees bent and the ball or towel in between them. Your heels must be directly below the knees. Squeeze the ball and raise your hips from the ground – don’t arch your back, you should lift by squeezing your bottom and legs (at the back). Pull your navel up your spine as you raise your hips. Do 10 bridges in succession before holding at the top. Then squeeze your ball or towel using your inner thigh in a 10 pulse routine. Repeat three times.
Finally, we have clams – which actually strengthens the outer thigh muscles. Lie flat on your side, bending your legs and placing one on top of the other. Raise your heels from the ground. Keeping your bottom leg stationary and stable, squeeze your upper thigh and gluteal muscles to open up the top leg – exactly like a clam! Get your knee so that it is pointed skywards but without your top hip having to fall back. Hips should also be stacked when doing this exercise, one on top of the other. Do 10-20 reps a set, then repeat on either side.