Knee Extension Exercises for Terminal Knee Extension

Knee Extension Exercises for Terminal Knee Extension

Regaining full terminal knee extension is paramount following any knee surgery. The ability to fully extend the knee equal to the other side is usually one of the most important early goals in knee rehab. While there are a ton of knee extension exercises you can do, the most important variable for regaining full terminal knee extension is the amount of volume and time spent working on knee extension. That is undeniably the most important concept to grasp. 3 sets of 1 min of stretches for a total of 3 minutes (out of 1440 minutes in a day aka 0.2% of the day)ย  it just not enough end range stretching to regain full knee extension! Aim for a total of 10 minutes of knee extension exercises at first, then slowly keep adding time until you’re spending at least 30 minutes a day working on terminal knee extension.

Knee extension exercises, especially after surgery, are not going to be comfortable. If they are comfortable, it probably means you’re not doing them correctly! Regardless of the surgery, there will be joint swelling, or effusion, in the knee that will not only cause more pain and discomfort but also limit the amount of motion available at the knee joint. Furthermore, the muscles around the knee will most likely be tense and guarded, meaning soft tissue work and stretching are also warranted. When working on terminal knee extension during your knee extension exercises, try to hold the position or stretch for as long as possible. That may be a few minutes or just 20 seconds! The goal is to work to that uncomfortable phase, then let your knee bend and relax for a minute or two, and then go right back to the knee extension exercise again. The more time you can spend in that end range stretch the better!
READ: Knee Surgery Prehab Exercises

 

Passive Knee Extension Exercises

First, work on regaining full passive knee extension. Passive knee extension is the amount of knee extension/straightening that your knee has if you prop up your foot on a table or chair, letting your knee be suspended in the air.

You can get a FREE downloadable copy of this entire program to perform on your own at home or the gym HERE.

Seated Knee Extension PROM

 

Knee Extension with Overpressure

 

Bang Hangs Knee Extension

 

Active Knee Extension Exercises

It’s extremely important to follow up any passive knee extension exercise with active knee exercise exercises to “lock-in” that hopefully newly acquired knee extension range. While the standing terminal knee extension (TKE) is the classic go-to exercise for active knee extension, there are a plethora of other options as well. The key component to every single one of them is to fire your quadriceps muscle and squeeze it as HARD as you can. Your goal should be to try to feel a stretch behind the knee. Think of standing tall with each repetition!

 

You can get a FREE downloadable copy of this entire program to perform on your own at home or the gym HERE.

 

Standing 3-Way Terminal Knee Extension

 

Sled Pushes

Down Dog Knee Extension TKE

 

Retro Walking

 

Quad Sets with a Strap

 

Prone Hips Supported TKE

 

Cueing for TKE with any closed chain knee exercise (squats, lunge, step-up)

 

 

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