Performance Training and Injury Prevention content provided exclusively by Velocity Sports Performance
Healthy Knees = Faster Athletes
by Erik Kasabuske M.Ed., CSCS
Sports Performance Director
Velocity Sports Performance - Irvine
When an athlete has knee problems or an injury it is very important to look above the knee and below the knee to find the cause of the problem. What most athletes don't realize is that the hips, ankles, and feet can often be the weak link that causes knee pain. Think of those three joints as teammates that need to work together to be at optimal performance and health. Below are three tips to make sure those knees are working at 100%.
- Mobility: Poor ankle and hip range of motion can easily cause knee pain. If those two joints can't move properly, then the knee will take unnecessary stress. To improve this, you need to stretch your calves and Achilles, and strengthen your feet. Tight hip flexors and hamstrings won't help those knees either, so make sure you work on that too!
- Posterior Strength: The first thing that most people focus on is increasing hamstring strength to protect the knee because there is often an imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings. However, knee injuries often happen because an athlete has weak glutes. If the glutes and hip muscles aren't activating properly the knee will be unstable and be put into poor positions during movement. Strong glutes and hips will keep the knees in the
proper position and allow you to run faster, jump higher, and absorb forces.
- Learn How to Squat: One of the biggest problems I see everyday is that athletes don't know how to squat their own body weight. They push their knees too far forward and don't use their hips. This is often paired with valgus knee movement (knees crashing inward). Both of these will cause unwanted wear and tear on your knees along with putting them in an unsafe position when changing direction and jumping. To squat correctly you need to
begin the movement by pushing your hips back like your trying to sit on a chair. It is not necessary to have your feet point straight ahead, but it is important to have the knees lined up with the feet. They should NEVER go inside or outside of your feet.
None of these tips will guarantee you won't get injured or have knee pain. Unfortunately, injuries are part of sports and they do happen. However I can guarantee, if you don't squat correctly, have weak glutes and poor mobility, that you are putting yourself at great risk of having knee problems later if you don't have them already. So get off the couch and get to work!!!
About Velocity Sports Performance:
Velocity Sports Performance is a national network of training centers where athletes of all sports, ages and skill levels go to improve their core athletic skills - speed, power and agility. Athletes train in small groups with degreed and certified performance coaches. Velocity Sports Performance is the Official Performance Training Partner of Cal South Soccer. Players who train with Velocity Sports Performance can expect to get to the ball quicker, cover
more of the field faster, increase their shot power and reduce their chances of injury. Velocity Sports Performance has training centers throughout Southern California including Irvine, Redondo Beach, Anaheim, Carlsbad, San Diego, West LA and Santa Clarita.