5 ways Pilates can help strengthen your knees
As one of the largest joints in your body, your knees play a critical role in your overall mobility and balance. But unfortunately, knee injuries are all too common, particularly among athletes and fitness enthusiasts (yes, netballers and skiers, we’re looking at you!). The good news is that Pilates can be an effective way to strengthen your knees and prevent injuries. Here are five ways Pilates can help:
- Builds muscle strength: Pilates focuses on building strong muscles throughout your body, including your legs and knees. By strengthening the muscles that support your knees, you can reduce the likelihood of knee injuries, such as ACL tears.
- Improves flexibility: Tight muscles and a limited range of motion can put excess pressure on your knees, leading to strain or injury. Pilates exercises help to improve your flexibility and range of motion, which can reduce this pressure and improve your knee function.
- Enhances balance and stability: Many Pilates exercises require you to maintain balance and stability, which can improve the strength of the muscles around your knees. By enhancing your balance and stability, you can reduce the likelihood of falls or slips that could result in knee injuries.
- Reduces impact: High-impact exercises can be tough on your knees, particularly if you already have an existing injury or condition. Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that can help you stay active without putting excess stress on your knees.
- Increases body awareness: Pilates focuses on developing body awareness and proper alignment, which can help you identify and correct any imbalances or weaknesses that could lead to knee injuries.
So, which specific Pilates exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the knees? There are plenty to choose from in our studio, with the many Pilates machines and apparatus on offer, but here are 5 basic exercises that you can practice from your loungeroom floor at home:
- Leg Circles: Leg circles are a great exercise for targeting the muscles that support your knees. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, and lift one leg up towards the ceiling. Make small circles with your leg, keeping your core engaged and your hips stable. Repeat on the other leg.
- Squats: Squats are an excellent exercise for building strength in the legs and hips, which can help to protect your knees. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lower your body down into a squat position, keeping your weight in your heels and your knees aligned with your toes. Rise back up to standing and repeat.
- Lunges: Lunges are another great exercise for strengthening the muscles that support your knees. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step one foot forward, bending both knees to lower your body down into a lunge position. Push back up to standing and repeat on the other leg.
- The Wall Roll-Down: The Wall Roll-Down is an excellent exercise for improving flexibility and alignment in your spine and legs, which can help to alleviate knee pain. Stand with your back against a wall and slowly roll down towards the floor, one vertebra at a time, until you reach a comfortable stretch in your hamstrings. Slowly roll back up to standing and repeat.
- Single-Leg Press: The Single-Leg Press is a challenging exercise that targets the muscles in your legs and hips, which can help to protect your knees. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift one foot off the ground and extend your leg up towards the ceiling, pressing your heel towards the sky. Lower your leg back down and repeat on the other side.
Incorporating Pilates into your workout routine can be an effective way to strengthen your knees and reduce your risk of injury. Whether you’re an athlete or simply someone who wants to improve your overall knee health, Pilates is a great option to consider. Consult with our certified Pilates instructors to develop a personalised routine that’s tailored to your needs and fitness level.