Bad knees are a common condition that bodybuilders and weightlifters end up diagnosed with. These are not the only individuals who may have higher risks for this condition though, and it is found in runners and other athletes as well. There are some things that you can do before, during, and after your workout to help minimize the risk of developing bad knees though. The Internet is full of tips to help you protect these joints, and warming up is a big start.
Locking your knees during a workout or lifting session is a big mistake. You also need to make sure that you have the proper form on every move, and you should never lift more weight than you can safely handle. Your cardiovascular choices also help determine how much stress and impact your knees undergo each day. You need to choose the right footwear for your workout in order to prevent bad knees.
Helpful Tips if You are Starting to Develop Bad Knees
If you are already starting to develop bad knees then there are some steps you can take to keep the pain and damage from worsening. They include:
• Knee wraps may help provide support and stability to your knees but they also remove some of the benefits of squatting and certain other lifting moves. Wrapping your knees will actually keep them from getting stronger and these products should only be used while your knee is injured.
• Choose cardio routines that are low impact instead of high impact options. Swimming can provide exceptional cardio without adding any stress or additional pressure on your joints.
• Allow extra time in between workouts in order for your knees to heal completely. If the tissues are not fully recovered then they will be weaker and more prone to tears and other problems.
• Evaluate your diet and nutritional needs to ensure that your body has the required nutritional support in order to heal and recover properly.
Warming Up and Cooling Down Can Protect Your Joints
Anyone who does not warm up and cool down properly may end up with more injuries, fewer results from the same efforts, and knee pain that becomes chronic. Warming up before your workout or exercise session increases the blood flow to all of the tissues in your body. This includes your muscles, joints, and tendons. This warms up the tissues and makes them more flexible and limber. In this state injuries are less likely and tissue damage is minimized. Over time repeated stress on the knees and damage to the joints from not warming up properly can result in chronic knee pain and instability. . Cooling down slowly brings your body functions down to a more normal level after your workout. This allows your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vitals to come down slowly instead of going from full on mode to stop mode quickly. As you cool down the blood that reaches your joints and muscles is slowly decreased. This can help prevent many problems including muscle cramping and knee weakness or pain.
Never Lock Out Your Knees When Working Out
Locking out your knees during any routine or workout session is a big no no, and a move that could leave you with bad knees. When you do this then you cause all of the stress and weight to transfer over to your knee joint and away from the muscle that you are trying to target. This adds considerable pressure and can cause injury to the knee joint as a result. Making sure that you do not lock out your knees will help you gain better size and mass because your muscle must do most of the work. If you find that you must lock out your knees in order to lift the desired amount then you need to back off a little and lower the weight that you are currently using.
Always Use Proper Form When You Squat
Far too often lifters have a tendency to squat improperly, using the ball of their foot instead of the heel. This can cause your posture and form to change and place more stress on your knee joints. Eventually these will give out and you will end up with bad knees and a handicap to your workout. As you come down into the squat your knees should not come forward at all. Your back should stay arched and your rear end should be sticking out. When you come back up your body needs to be pushed upwards by your heel and not the ball of your feet. If your technique is bad then you could twist your knee joints and cause serious or even debilitating injury.
Never Lift More Than Your Knees Can Safely Handle
Since your knees are one of the weakest parts of your body these joints will determine how much weight you can safely lift at any time. If you try to increase the weight beyond what your knee joints will hold then bad things will happen. Every serious bodybuilder has heard stories or actually seen what happens when the safe amount of weight is exceeded. Knee joints can rip, and this can cause a cascade of other problems as well. Legs snapping, knees that are never the same again, and torn cartilage that leads to scar tissue and limited movements can all occur if you try to exceed the weight that your knees can safely handle.
Your Footwear Choice is Important
The footwear choice that you make for your workouts is a critical factor in preventing bad knees. Running shoes are typically a very poor shoe choice if you are hitting the gym and lifting some serious weight. Many professional weightlifters do not wear any shoes at all, and going barefoot does have some advantages. Your feet will be more stable and your body can sense this. Others prefer a shoe that is extremely flexible with a very thin sole. Footwear that has a thick sole or that is not stable may cause you to lock out your knees or force them forward when they shouldn’t be. The added stress can cause knee pain, damage, and injury.