Pink Lady® Core: Knee pain
In our current Pink Lady® Core series, Pilates instructor and certified personal trainer, Jane Linden-Brown, is demonstrating how to combat those everyday strains we put on our body. Having revealed functional fitness exercises that will help those suffering from back strain [insert link], Jane is now showing us exercises that will help to combat knee pain triggered by stairs.
Why functional fitness?
We often think of strength in terms of bulging muscles and lifting large weights, so it’s easy to assume that you need to hit the gym to develop core strength, but that’s not the case. Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. These exercises engage your core and body weight through low-impact workouts that engage your muscles in an efficiently strong but gentle way, requiring you to use new breathing techniques and movements that truly re-shape your body.
How to combat knee pain triggered by stairs
Knee niggles are something many of us struggle with, whether it’s while we’re walking and running, or climbing the stairs. Knee pain can be a symptom of many different conditions. Please seek medical advice if your problem is severe or if it persists.
- Pilates or yoga mat
- Foam roller or bannister
- Block or step
Exercise one: Standing knee folds
Standing knee folds improve your balance, which is an important part of functional movement. Balance is part of everything we do and begins in your core. Activities such as walking and going up and down the stairs are balance exercises as they engage your core, which is not only your abdomen but also gluteal muscles (the ones in your bottom).
Standing on one leg requires a lot of core and hip control. Strengthening these muscles will reduce the risk of injury in everyday life.
- Place your feet parallel and hip distance apart.
- Place your hands on your hips using your fingertips to make yourself aware of any movement of your hips – the goal is to ensure that the level of your pelvis is maintained throughout the exercise.
- Slowly raise your right leg, bending at the knee and lower. Repeat on the other side.
- Repeat eight to ten times and then rest.
Exercise two: Standing hip hike
If you can balance on one leg, the standing hip hike is a great exercise to help you strengthen the gluteus medius muscle. This muscle helps maintain a normal walking gait and reduces the likelihood of ankle, knee and hip injuries.
- Stand alongside a block or step with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart.
- Place one foot onto your block or step and then, while using a bannister or foam roller for support, raise the other foot off the ground so your feet are level
- Slowly lower your hovering foot by dropping your hip, keep your legs straight and don’t twist at the waist. Use the muscles in your waist and hip to hitch the hip of your hovering foot up, lifting your foot a little higher than the block, then lower it back to the starting position.
- Repeat four times.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Exercise three: step up
Step up, as the name suggests, is a progression exercise from the previous two exercises. Step up is much more dynamic and requires core and hip control. It further strengthens the hip muscles, as there is a greater challenge of load through the hip muscles. The goal is to maintain correct alignment of the ankle, knee and hip whilst maintaining a level pelvis.
- Face towards a block or step with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart. Place your hands on your hips or place one hand on a bannister for extra support. The aim throughout this exercise is to keep your hips level and to engage those glutes – the muscles in your bum.
- Keeping your hips level and facing forwards and your right leg straight with the foot planted firmly on the floor, lift your left foot bending at the knee and hip and place it on the block.
- Push into your left heel and use the strength of your glute to step up onto the block with your right foot and then slowly lower back onto the ground landing softly. Repeat four times.
- To go a step further, as you step up bring your right leg through to balance on the block on your left foot, with your right knee at hip height, bent at 90 degrees. Lower your foot to the ground behind you slowly and repeat four times and then return to your starting position.
- Repeat on the other side, then rest.
Want to learn more ways to overcome our everyday aches and pains? Stay tuned for more functional fitness with Pink Lady® Core series 6.