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Status:Closed    Asked:Jan 29, 2013 - 03:18 PM

What are the best hip and knee stability exercises?

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The abductors and adductors are critical for providing integrity of the hip joint and creating a strong, balanced link between the lower body and the torso. To target their multiple functions, these muscles need to be exercised through an entire range of motion. If you work these muscles only in one plane (i.e., sagittal plane, or forward and back) by walking, running or using the popular cardio exercise machines, then you are not developing the structural integrity of the hip, or the entire lower body.

These muscles, along with the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings, also play an important role in allowing the patella (kneecap) to track properly as the knee joint flexes or bends. If the abductor and adductor muscles are not strong, flexible and balanced, knee pain and/or injury are more likely.

Strengthening and balancing the muscles that surround the knee reduces the level of pressure on the joint and the amount of load absorbed by the connective tissue (i.e., ligaments, tendons, and cartilage) in the knee. Because the knee is a hinge joint and only moves in one direction, it's important to maintain both strength and stability.

The hip joint, on the other hand, is a ball and socket joint that works best when it has mobility in addition to stability and strength. The hip is a much more complicated joint, and needs to be exercised in a variety of directions, including rotation, in order to increase overall stability. If the muscles that support the hip joint (quadriceps, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings and even the core muscles) are strong and allow appropriate mobility, the amount of pressure and wear and tear on the hip joint, as well as on the knee joint, decrease.

The soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) help maintain proper alignment of the bones during movement. If bones aren't properly aligned when they move through a range of motion, there can be a great deal of friction, a lack of stability, decreased mobility and compromised function. This can create the perfect storm for a greater risk for a variety of injuries.

The best way to maintain orthopedic integrity during movement is with the proper balance of strength and flexibility around the joint. Muscles work in pairs (extensors and flexors) and maintaining the proper balance of strength in these muscle pairs contributes greatly to pain and injury prevention.

It is advisable that you perform a dynamic warm-up before performing the hip and knee conditioning exercises. Consider using them as a warm-up before strength training. The following exercises will serve as a great warm-up to prepare the muscles targeted by the hip and knee conditioning program while also engaging the key core stabilizer muscles.

· Bird-dog

· Standing Gate Openers

· Mountain Climbers

The following series of exercises represent great options to promote the development of proper alignment, balance, strength, endurance and flexibility of the hips and knees.

· Clamshell

· Glute Bridge

· Standing Hip Abduction

· Standing Hip Adduction

· Step-ups

· Glute Activation Lunges



Jan 29, 2013 - 03:19 PM

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