Anyone need to be delicate with their knees? Open the door the the gym and look around at all the equipment thinking: no, nope, definitely not, no again, and turn around and walk out? Knees are a tricky thing because they take a beating as a primary joint in our bodies - when we walk, the pressure on our knees is about 1.5X the weight of our bodies. Even if you do not have knee problems, it is always a helpful strategy to build muscle around your knees and in your legs to support the knees and keep them healthy and you active as long as possible!
Here is a part of my routine that I try to make sure I do at every other day. The only equipment you need is a looped stretchy band for legs. There are varying thicknesses that you can correlate with your strength (and work your way up to thicker bands as you progress!).
I always place the bands above my knees and start with standing exercises and then move to floor. Here are the steps:
1. Side Steps (20 steps in each direction x3 sets) *make sure your back is flat, chest in line with hips, knees slightly bend and head upright looking straight ahead.
2. Lay on the ground and bring your legs into a 90 degree position lifting the top leg in line with the bottom just up to hip height 10-12 reps, 3 sets.
3. Keeping your knees bent, bring your feet in line with your hips so your knees are now sticking out from your body at a 45 degree angle. Open your knees like a clam shell and do 10-12 reps, 3 sets.
4. Extend legs fully straight, make sure your body is in a straight line. Lift the top leg about 4 inches above the bottom leg, keeping your leg straight, shift the top leg back 4 inches and then pulse upwards and a slow, deliberate pace. Do 10-12 reps, 3 sets.
REPEAT all exercises on the opposite side.
I take those bands with me anywhere I go - and I have to travel all the time for work, so it is great to be able to squeeze in a workout without relying on equipment or a gym anywhere in the world you happen to be!