How to activate your glutes to help eliminate knee pain is an essential part of training. If your glutes are not working while you are walking, running, squatting, your femur is not supported in any of those movements. If your leg bone (femur) isn’t supported with strong glutes it will quickly fall into a poor movement pattern and as you move during exercise in poor alignment you may increase your risk of injury and pain. It makes sense that in order to eliminate pain you must have strong muscles to support your frame and support the type of exercise and movements you are doing.
Strengthen your glute medius with simple focused pilates exercises is great placing to start to help support your knees. Glutes often get very tight if there is a weakness in your movement pattern and can be stretched in a few different ways to help benefit the activation.
Visualize squeezing your glutes in at the side of your legs, like two points are trying to squeeze together.
Ideal Glute exercises and stretches:
- Side lying leg lifts
- Monster walks
- Clam rotation
- Hip bridge
- Pigeon Stretch
- Standing Pigeon stretch using a box
- Sitting cross legged and reaching the body forward
Knee pain can also be the result of tightness in the body. A typical form of tightness that results in knee issues is described as ITB pain but more often than not it’s most likely actually tightness in the lateral quad. Foam rolling and stretching the lateral quad will help, as well as deep tissue massage.
Foam rolling: Lay your quad straight down on the horizontal foam roller and roll there for 1.5mins, turn your body slightly to the lateral part of your quad but not right on the side where the ITB band is, and roll there for another 1.5mins. Breathe and relax as you foam roll, try not to tense up and make sure you stay on that foam roller for at least the 1.5mins.