Did you know that according to a study published by Gallup-Healthways 26% of the adult population in the US suffers from knee pain? Considering that when you simply walk up stairs, the pressure across your knee joints is four times your body weight, it’s not all that surprising.
Gym addicts, WOD lovers and lifters – from novices to pros - tend to ignore the high amount of pressure they put on their knees even though the smallest knee injury can put your workouts on hold for weeks on end. In fact, if you’re reading this article know that all above-mentioned categories are prone to 4 different types of knee injuries. These include:
- IT band syndrome which can lead to meniscus tears and require surgery
- ACL tears may also require surgery and mean up to 12 months of rehabilitation
- PCL and MCL tears are less frequent but on the rise among those training hard
But what can you do to protect your knees AND improve your workouts?
The key aspects for protecting your knees and improving your training sessions are:
- Knee sleeves for adequate stability and compression (they play a serious role in knee safety during intense sessions or heavy lifts)
- A proper warm-up which you vary every few workouts (don’t cheat on it or try to make it shorter – it serves to help your body adjust to the effort)
- Knee strengthening exercises which will help you avoid knee pain and will improve your workouts in the long run
Knee wraps/ sleeves play an important role in injury prevention as they protect your knees by absorbing a part of the pressure you put on them during a regular workout. They do this by providing your knee adequate support and stability so that you don’t accidentally hurt yourself. Contrary to popular belief, knee wraps/ sleeves are comfortable and flexible and will not interfere with your workout – in fact, they can give you at least a 10-15 percent increase in how much you can lift. They will help you overcome psychological insecurities regarding knee stability and better focus on your workouts.
The proper warm-up ensures that blood and oxygen pump through your legs and that your knees are well-lubricated. Psychologically, it’s an important form of mental preparation to get you through your regimen. The warm-up also increases body temperature, which, in turn, reduces the potential of injuries. It also prepares your entire body for performing better.
Knee strengthening exercises are a great way to help you deal with knee pain or avoid it altogether. People who do them actually suffer from less pain, recover faster from injuries, their knees and joints function better and they have less chance of similar problems reoccurring in the future.
Now, if you have an existing knee injury, do talk to your doctor about your training sessions or better yet consult a physical therapist.
PS: Remember. Just 3 small things:
- Knee Sleeves
- Warm Up
- Knee Strengthening exercises
Keep training hard and enjoy your results!