HOW: Get into a comfortable position on a chair or bed with your foot elevated and supported on a surface so that your leg is straight and parallel to the ground. Let gravity pull your knee into extension and/or use your hands as needed to help move your knee into extension. Hold until your knee begins to feel a little uncomfortable – not painful. Then relax your leg. Repeat as needed or prescribed.
FEEL: This should feel like a stretch behind your knee, maybe even your calf and hamstring. It can be normal sometimes to feel discomfort in the front of the knee, try to readjust your position if it is not tolerable discomfort. See video for other tips.
HOW: Begin seated with one knee stretched out in front of you. Place your hands over your knee and push your knee straight. Your pressure should be directed down and back towards the floor.
FEEL: You will feel this stretch on the back of your knee or in the hamstring muscles.
COMPENSATION: Avoid rounding the back as you perform this, keep your back straight when leaning over.
HOW: Follow this foolproof guide to wake your quad back up! Use a stretch strap or towel and place it around the balls of your feet, holding onto both ends of the towel with your hands. Laying on the ground or on a table with your knee straight and foot supported, attempt to push your knee down and lift your heel off the ground by squeezing your quadriceps muscle until your knee is fully straight. Help your quad lift your heel up by pulling on the strap to lift your heel up at the same time. You should be able to lift it higher with the assistance of the strap. Return to starting position and repeat.
FEEL: Really focus on squeezing your quad. Sometimes touching the muscle, massaging it, or hitting it can help. Think about moving your kneecap up and towards your hip socket. Push your knee down into the ground. Move your shin bone in the shape of a “J” by moving your knee down and your heel up at the same time. Squeeze both quadriceps at the same time to improve the quality of the quad contraction.
COMPENSATION: Do not lift your entire leg off the ground, focus on getting your knee fully straight similar to the other side.
HOW: Get set-up standing with a band around and above the knee with the band anchored in front of you. You will perform this exercise in 3 different positions: with your feet side by side, with your working leg in front of your other leg, and with your working leg behind your other leg. To perform the exercise, put tension on the band so that it wants to pull your knee forward, let your knee bend and your foot go onto the toes followed by squeezing your quad, pushing your heel into the ground, and pushing your knee back until it is fully straight.
FEEL: You will feel your quads working with this exercise and maybe even your glutes. You may also feel a stretch behind your knee in the calf and hamstring region when your knee is straight.
COMPENSATION: Don’t let your butt go back and your hip bend when you straighten your knee. The only thing moving should be your knee going backward!
HOW: Get set-up laying on your stomach with your elbows under your shoulders and hips supported on the ground. On the side, you want to perform the exercise, point your toes towards you and start with your knee on the ground. Begin the exercise by squeezing your quads to fully straighten your knee, hold that position, then return to starting position and repeat.
FEEL: You will feel your quad muscles working with this exercise along with a calf and hamstring stretch behind your knee.
COMPENSATION: Focus on getting your knee fully straight while keeping the rest of your body still.
HOW: Get set-up in a down dog position, but with your knees bent. On the side you want to perform the exercise, get a band set-up behind the knee and anchor the band with your hands. Perform the exercise by squeezing your quad to fully straighten your knee, hold that position, then return to starting position and repeat.
FEEL: You will feel your quad muscles working with this exercise along with a calf and hamstring stretch behind your knee. You may also get an upper body workout with this as well.
COMPENSATION: Focus on knee movement only and getting your knee fully straight while keeping the rest of your body still.
HOW: Walk backwards. As you take a step with your involved leg, work on “staying strong” and squeezing your glutes and quadriceps as you make contact with the ground. The goal is to feel strong on your leg like no one can push you over. Think about pushing your knee backwards and straight.
FEEL: Feel your knee straighten and your quadriceps and glutes fire when your foot is on the ground.
COMPENSATION: Do not let your knee buckle. Keep it squeeze as hard as you can when your weight is on your foot.