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Home / Patient Education / Exercise Library

Strengthening Exercises

The best way to prevent injury is by having strong, flexible muscles and joints which resist strain and injury. Stretch slowly, and never do any exercise that causes pain. If you are an athlete, your legs take a lot of abuse. Here are some advanced exercises for those with healthy knees, legs and arms that will get you ready for your sport.

Strength Exercise Menu


Knee Twist

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Lie on your back with your knees bent. While trying to keep your lower back flat, slowly let both knees fall together toward the floor. Hold for ten seconds, then go back to start position with knees up. Repeat other side. Repeat the exercise ten times.


Abdominal Crunch

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Lie on your back. Try to keep your low back in contact with the ground. Slowly lift your right shoulder up six inches off the ground. Merely raise your shoulders up six inches, hold for one second and lie down. Repeat for ten sit ups, alternating left shoulder and right shoulder. DO NOT do a full sit up. DO NOT put your hands behind your neck to jerk yourself upward.



Hamstring Stretch

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Place a belt or rope around the arch of your foot. Straighten your leg. Slowly begin to pull your leg to a straight up position. Depending upon your flexibility, having your leg point straight up may be a realistic goal. For those who have good flexibility, you may be able to go past vertical during your stretch.


Side Bend

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Stand straight up with hands above head. Slowly reach your hands to the right and hold for ten seconds, then straight up and pause, then go to the left and hold for ten seconds, then straight up again and pause. Repeat the stretch ten times.


Squats

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This exercise can strengthen a healthy knee, and prepare it for the high impact the knees may get on the crusty snow, or the spring action generated by the fresh powder. To do this exercise, start with the feet shoulder width apart. Your hands are outstretched for balance. Lower your body slowly (do not bounce up and down) until the thighs are horizontal. Hold your squat position for five seconds, then stand. Repeat ten times.


Leg Swings

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This exercise requires a great deal of balance. You may put one hand on a chair back to balance if need be. To do this exercise, stand on your right leg. Extend your left leg out in front of you until it can almost touch the floor, 18 inches in front. Next, slowly begin to swing the left leg to the side so the leg may touch the floor, 18 inches to the side, then back behind you, then back to the starting position. You left leg will have made a large semicircle path from front to back. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.


Standing Rotation

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If you play rotational sports like tennis and golf, it is a good idea to include rotational stretches like the one shown. Hold a racquet, golf club or broom across your shoulders as shown. Without moving your feet, slowly rotate your shoulders to the left, then back to the right. Do this stretching exercise for five minutes before playing.


Moguls

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This exercise is a good simulation for preparing yourself for skiing, among other activities. To do this exercise, place a rolled towel on the floor. Start on the left side and hop with both feet together to the right side, and then to the back again without stopping. Continue this momentum for 30 seconds. To simulate skiing, remember to keep your hands out in front of your body, as if you had poles in them.


Windmill Hops

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Mouseover the image to see the complete motion.

This exercise works the knees with moderate impact, and it rotates the upper body as it requires aerobic conditioning, agility and balance. To do this exercise, place a rolled towel on the ground. Start on your right foot with your left hand on the floor, as shown in picture one. Next, jump from this position, across the towel landing on your left foot and right hand. Do this back and forth for one minute. Rest, then repeat this momentum for ten one minute intervals.


NOTE: We recognize that people will diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about nonsurgical aspects of care, the role of exercise in your long-term recovery, and injury prevention. In some cases exercise may be inappropriate. Remember, if you diagnose or treat yourself, you assume the responsibility for your actions. You should never do any exercise that causes increased pain. You should never do any exercise that places body weight on a weakened or injured limb or back.

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