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Guest Blog: Glute strengthening for knee injury prevention

TriBlogsby TriBlogsAug 27th 2012
We're always on the lookout for useful articles and tips for our members and readers. Injury prevention is very important for endurance sports athletes as time out from training is something that we're all keen to avoid!

We're lucky today to have a guest blog written by Gerald Smith of Core Performance Personal Training with some great insight into gluteal strengthening exercises for knee injury prevention.
Guest Blog: Glute strengthening for knee injury prevention

Glute strengthening for knee injury prevention

The gluteals are important muscles for triathletes and runners. They are both a power house muscle for cycling and running, as well as a stabiliser of the pelvis. In this article we will look at the function of two of the muscles which make up the the gluteals.

The glute medius and minimus attach at the side of the hip, and they are key stabilisers of the hip. They are usually undertrained in most runners, and when they are weak and other muscles are strong it causes problems at the knee. You can think of your stabilisers as the foundation of a building. What would happen if you built a house on a weak foundation? The weight and forces of the building would cause it to collapse, and it is the same with running where over 3 1/2 times your bodyweight goes through your body.

Hip stabilisation is very important and as your running muscles develop, so must your stabilisation muscles. Think of the front wheel of the bike you ride. You allways make sure that the front wheel is attached tightly. Now imagine if that wheel is loose and as you put force through the pedals the wheel becomes unsteady, it shakes, it moves from side to side. Eventually the bike will give way and collapse. Your hip joint is similar to that bike wheel, and if it is not stable it will lead to an injury.

Well this is what the glutes do for your entire leg. The wheel falling off would be the equivalent to you getting an injury because your hip can't transfer the forces properly. When your hips are unstable it is actually your knee that will be put in an unfavourable position by the hip, in the same way that the wheel is placed in an unfavourable position by the unstable joint. This can lead to a knee injury. The two key injuries that manifest themselves are Patelofemoral syndrome (PFS), which is a grinding feeling in your knee when you bend it, or illiotibial band friction syndrome (IBFS), which is where you get a pain on the outside of the knee.

Exercises for the glutes

Reverse lunge: This is a stabilisation exercise and should be performed with care, control and precision, rather than speed. If your knee deviates from this straight line while bending then squeeze the Glutes to get the knee back in line.
Guest Blog: Glute strengthening for knee injury prevention
Muscles worked:

Front of the legs (quadriceps),

Gluteus medius and minimus (stabilising muscles)

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 15 each leg, with a 45 second rest

Progression: Progress to a step up exercise, which is performed on a bench.

Result: Will reduce your chances of getting a knee injury, and will improve leg power due to greater stabilisation.

This YouTube video helps demostrate the exercise.
If you liked this and for more useful blog articles on a whole host of performance and injury prevention topics check out Gerald's own blog for more information.
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