Knee Stability

A couple posts ago, Daniel James Lynam did a pretty legit post on shoulder stability. If you haven’t gotten the chance to check it out, you can do so here! Anyway, I wanted to segue off of DJ’s post and talk a little about knee stability.

The knee joint is considered a “hinge” joint. Think of a door hinge, the knee is made to extend and flex with little rotation if any at all. There are ligaments that contribute to the stability of the knee joint and here’s a little info on those…

  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), also known as the Tibial Collateral Ligament because it connects the Femur and Tibia, provides stability to the inner (medial) aspect of the knee.
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), also known as the Fibular Collateral Ligament because it connects the Femur and Fibula, provides stability to the outer (lateral) aspect of the knee
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), in the center of the knee, limits rotation and forward movement of the Tibia
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), also in the center of the knee, and like the ACL secondarily limits rotation, while primarily limits backward movement of the Tibia.

As you can see, these all contribute in one way or another to the stability of the knee. So how do we train stability within the knee? Here are a few exercises that can get you going…

Inverted Toe Touches w/ Plates

Coaching Points:

  • set plates down in a triangle shape (you can vary this in the future)
  • pick up and set down plates (or any other object) with the opposite hand than the leg you are balancing on
  • slight bend in the knee and maintain a flat back in order to resist just bending over to pick up the objects
  • keep opposite leg off floor for the ENTIRE set
  • 2 – 3 sets on each leg in a slow and controlled manner
  • scaling options:
    • work with one plate right in front of the foot
    • practice standard inverted toe touches (similar to class warm ups)

Banded Bulgarian Split Squats

Coaching Points:

  • the band here is to pull our knee into a position where we do not want it to be in, thus, we must stabilize and resist the band in order to keep the knee in it’s proper track
  • elevate back foot on bench or box
  • maintain an upright torso and drop back knee to the ground maintaining weight in the front heel
  • 3 x 8-12 on each leg
  • scaling options:
    • standing lunges (no foot elevated)
    • no band

Two Foot Jump to Single Leg Balance

Coaching Points:

  • two foot takeoff to a one footed landing on box
  • hold landing for 2-3 seconds and step down
  • we do a TON of dynamic movements in CrossFit so this translates really well to those movements in a controlled manner
  • 4-5 x 4/leg (we don’t want to do these in a fatigued state in order to avoid compensation, lower reps but an extra set or two will do)
  • scaling options:
    • lower box height if needed (onto a plate is an option)
    • two foot jump forward and landing on one leg is an acceptable modification as well

Lastly, a couple of reasons to solidify why working on knee stability plays an important roll in your exercise experience…

  1. Prevent injuries!
  2. These are great exercises to build body awareness and understand what your body is doing in space. In turn, it becomes to easier to recognize movements faults in more complex exercises such the clean or snatch
  3. Be like DJ…haha (shoutout to DJ for cutting into his lunch to help me!)
  4. Continue to build your overall strength

If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of your coaches on more exercises are some tips and tricks for stability exercises! Thanks for reading ya’ll, happy exercising!

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