The Worst Exercises for your Knees
Our knees are the hinges of our body. If they freeze up, we freeze up. It is incredibly important to keep your knees strong and healthy. There are many exercises that can promote strong and balanced knee joints, but there are some that, when done wrong, can become some of the worst exercises for your knees. Take a look at this list of the worst exercises for your knees that are commonly seen at gyms so that you can learn to avoid them!
Yes, squats. One of the worst exercises for your knees – when done wrong. When done right, you are on your way to a hot body and poppin’ booty. However, when done wrong, you can put your knees in jeopardy. Many people simply stand with their feet shoulder-width apart, and then bend at the knees to perform a squat. This not only limits how deep you can squat (the deeper the squat, the bigger the butt), but places nearly all of your body weight right on your knees – not good. When you squat correctly, there should be little to no pressure directly on your knees. To avoid making this one of the worst exercises for your knees, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and turn your toes slightly outward. Then, sink back onto your heels and drive up using your heels, not the balls of your feet (the balls of your feet put pressure on your knees).
Knee Extensions (machine)
We have all seen the leg extension machine at the gym. I’m not talking about the one where you are sitting nearly on the ground, which is called the leg press. The leg/knee extension machine has you sitting on nearly the same plane as the board you press your legs against. This machine also puts virtually all of your body weight on your knees. Although you are sitting, the general angle at which you will exert force to press the board is coincidentally also the angle that makes you channel all of your body weight through your knees in order to press the board forward and lift the weight. This is undoubtedly one of the worst exercises for your knees, so much so that many gyms have removed this machine as a result.
This is another exercise that, when done correctly, has numerous benefits for your whole body. However, too many people approach this exercise incorrectly, making it one of the worst exercises for your knees when not executed perfectly. Most people simple stand tall, put one leg forward into a lunge, then push back to a standing position. While this is technically a “lunge,” it is not correct. The key to keeping pressure off of your knee is by making sure you are engaging the glutes when lunging, and not allowing your knee to extend past your toes. Then, push back through the heel of your foot to engage the glute as the main muscle that brings you back to a standing position.
Now that you know about some of the worst exercises for your knees, head to the gym to practice some of the exercises that are great for your knees and body when done right: squats, leg press, hamstring curl, step-ups, and side leg raises.