Sep 122013
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In Part 1, I shared with you the formula from Mike Robertson:

Hip Extension + Knee Extension = Happy Knees

I focused on Hip Extension in that article and shared ideas as well as drills you can do to improve hip extension.  Actually last night I was showing my dad a few moves because he’s been experiencing a little knee pain on one side.

So let’s continue with the formula and look at Knee Extension.

What is Knee Extensions?

I’m a visual person and like to use pictures.


(left) Knee Flexion, (right) Knee Extension

When it comes to improving knee extension, a study by Donald Shelbourne which basically tested if the improvement of knee extension aided in the rehabilitation of deconditioned knees which were causing the test subjects pain.  He found that improving the range of motion of the knee in fact did relieve pain and improve knee function.

So what needs to be done?

Going back to my example of sitting down for extended periods of time where your hips and knees are both flexed.  In this case, we are looking at knee flexion.  The first thing is to question what are the reasons for the decrease of knee extension.

- Tight hamstrings

- Tight calves or for a fancier word – gastrocnemius

With these two things in mind, this is a great start to working your way to improving your knee extension.  This calls for soft tissue work from a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or a massage therapist if you feel like you need some pampering.

A little more visual aid…

increase knee extension

Photo from Donald Shelbourne’s study

 In 6A, there is enough pressure being applied to the leg to keep the back of the knee against the table.  The foot was slowly raised to hyperextension and noted the degree of extension.  6A shows a knee that has a good range of motion (ROM).

In 6B, the same thing is being done to the right leg.  But on this leg, the back of knee could not be pressed to the table, and the food could not be raised.  This is a great example of a lack of knee extension and knee ROM.

Doesn’t pictures make things much easier to understand?

Stretches to Increase Knee Extension

Along with the soft tissue work, stretching could also help with improving knee extension to relieve knee pain.  The following stretches could be used throughout the day in addition to the drills and exercises found in Part 1.

hamstring wall stretchHamstring Wall Stretch:

Feel like taking a rest after a long day or a hard work.  Here you go.  The goal is to get your okole (butt) close to the wall and your legs straight.  To get a deep stretch, push your heel the the sky and bring your toes towards you.  Hold for at least 30 seconds.


leg swings

Leg Swings:

These are great for part of a warm up as well.  It improves the range of motion in your knees and hips.  Stand sideways next to a support.  With your outside leg, keeping it straight, raise it up towards hip level and let it swing back down.  Allow the swinging leg to hang like a noodle.  Do 20 reps per side.

And my favorite one I made my athletes do just because they complained about them all the time…

Hand Walks (Inchworm):

I’d recommend to do anywhere between 10-20 reps or 2 sets of 10.  Make sure you pay attention to your body position, and keep your knees as straight as possible.

I hope you were able to take away something from this 2 part series of “Simple Knee Pain Solution Formula.” Knee pain is a common problem for many people, from fitness addict to even a couch potato.

If you know of anyone who has complained about their knees, please feel free to share this article with them.  Actually, you could just share it with everyone you know.  I mean EVERYONE!

Right on.  Now you can stand up and loose up those hips and hamstrings.


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