Strengthening your quads can help prevent runner's knee.
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The quadriceps are a group of muscles at the front of the thigh that extend the knee and straighten the leg. Strong quads are important for any athlete, especially those who place excessive strain on their knees, such as runners or football players. In fact, knee injuries account for 51 percent of all injuries sustained by players in the NFL. The quadriceps muscle group includes four muscles: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius. All four of these muscles attach to the upper half of the kneecap to lessen strain on the knee joint and protect it from injury. Strengthening these muscles will lessen your chances of injury.
Stand with your back against a wall and your feet about 2 feet away from the wall. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Bend your knees and slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before rising back to the starting position. Repeat two times to complete a total of three repetitions. For an extra challenge, alternate lifting one heel from the ground for 10 to 15 seconds.
Stand with your back straight and your feet together. Step one foot back until the leg is straight and turn the toes of your back foot to face the side. Keeping your back straight and your chest up, bend your front leg at the knee and lower your hips until your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Shift your weight into your front leg to feel the tension in your front thigh. Do not allow the knee to extend farther than the toe. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before shifting the weight back and straightening your leg. Perform a further two repetitions and switch legs. Complete three repetitions on each leg.
Start standing straight up with your feet together. Step one foot far out to the side until it's straight and your legs are straddled. Unlike the forward lunge, your toes should remain facing forward. Keeping your upper body upright, shift your weight into the other leg and bend at the knee. Lower your bottom until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before returning to a straddle. Alternate sides, performing three repetitions on each leg.
Start by standing straight up with one foot slightly in front of the other. Shift your weight into the front foot so only the toe of your back foot is touching the ground. Engage your core muscles for balance and stability as you bend slightly forward at the waist. Bend the knee of your supporting leg to slowly lower your hips until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Return to the starting position by extending your leg and lifting your hips. Complete five repetitions of this exercise on each leg.