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The Secret Exercise Trick for Getting Rid of Knee Pain, Says Top Trainer

Here's why strengthening your hamstrings and glutes is a recipe for helping relieve your knee pain.

Ugh, knee pain. While all chronic pain is bad on just about any level, there's just something particularly insidious about knee pain. It makes it hard to exercise, to walk around, and, in some cases, to even stand upright.

Now, if you can't bear weight on your knee—or you have serious swelling or can't fully extend your leg—it's important that you seek out medical help. But if you're experiencing nagging pain that is the result of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle, or light injury, I can offer you some helpful guidance.

There are tons of reasons why people get pain in their knees, whether it's from bad movement patterns, tightness in the quads and calves, or previous injury. Regardless of what the cause may be, the single best way to get rid of knee pain—besides stretching your quads and hips—is to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes.

Why? Well, many people who live sedentary lives are very quad dominant, with tight hips and calves. Over time this leads to a huge muscle imbalance. The glutes act as a knee stabilizer, and many people do not know how to activate or use them during lower body movements, so most people end up using their quads instead. If this happens, it's an express lane to knee pain.

What follow are four incredible exercises that I recommend that my clients do when their suffering from knee pain, all of which will help you activate and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings. Before performing them though, I recommend stretching your quads and calves first. This will help you relax those muscles, allowing you to activate and recruit your glutes. And for more exercise advice can use starting ASAP, don't miss The Morning Exercises You Shouldn't Skip After Age 60, Says Science.

Band Lateral Walks (15-20 reps each side, 3 sets)

Lateral Band Walks
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start by putting a loop band with medium tension above your knees. With your hips pushed back and knees soft, begin stepping out to the left. As you step, lead with your heel and don't let your knee cave in. Perform all steps on the left before moving to the right. And for more great exercise tips, see these Secret Tricks for Walking for Exercise, According to Walking Experts.

Stability Ball Leg Curl (15-20 reps, 3 sets)

Stability Ball Leg Curl
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Laying flat on your back, place your feet on top of a stability ball. Lift your hips off the ground and begin curling the ball towards you with your heels, flexing your hamstrings and glutes at the end of the movement. Return the ball to the starting position and repeat. Be sure to keep your hips up the entire time and to continue bridging as you curl the ball in.

Kettlebell Deadlift (10 reps, 3 sets)

kettlebell deadlift
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Stand in front of the kettlebell with your feet outside of the weight. Push your hips back and squat down low enough to grab the weight. Make sure your shoulders are in line with the handle and that your torso is straight when you get into position.

Keeping your core tight and shoulders down, pick up the kettlebell by pushing through your heels and hips. Stand tall and flex your glutes at the top. Reverse the motion to put the weight down afterward before performing another rep.

Dumbbell Hip Thrust (10-15 reps, 3 sets)

1 hip thrust exercise

Start the movement by setting your upper back on a bench or sturdy platform. Place a dumbbell on your lap with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight, lower your weight down. Push through your heels and hips until they're fully extended, squeezing your glutes hard at the top for 2 seconds. For more great fitness advice, see here for the Exercise Tricks for Slimming Down Your Body, Say Experts.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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