Keep your knees bent to 90 degrees in a front lunge to avoid harming the joint.
Your knee is a highly complex and sensitive part of your body. It forms at the intersection of the femur and tibia bones, and is protected by your kneecap, or patella, according to the Southern California Orthopedic Institute. Cartilage helps cover the ends of those bones and cushion the whole knee joint; ligaments keep the knee stable. Some exercises are harmful to your knees because they disrupt or strain the delicate balance of all of these intricate, interconnected parts. If you ever feel strain, discomfort or pain in your knees during an exercise, discontinue to avoid causing injury.
Avoid deep knee bends, which can be harmful to your knees. This exercise causes hyperflexion and stress because your knees extend past your ankles. Instead, opt for a forward lunge. Complete a forward lunge by stepping back with your left leg, bending your right knee to 90 degrees directly over your right ankle. You can drop your left knee for support in this exercise, or create a more demanding exercise by keeping the left leg straightened. Switch to stretch the other side.
Moving Forward to Avoid Strains
A standing forward fold with straight legs and a straight back can create excess strain in your ligaments and kneecap. You can still achieve an effective hamstring and low-back stretch in this exercise by slightly bending your knees. This relieves pressure in your ligaments and kneecap, but still allows your legs and back to strengthen and stretch.
Safety and the Hurdler's Stretch
In hurdler's stretch, you sit down with both legs extended and then fold one knee back, bringing your foot close to your buttock. From there, you stretch your torso along your extended leg, reaching for your shins, ankles or foot soles. However, this pose can be harmful for your knees because it creates strain along the joint. A safer way to stretch your hamstring is to lie on your back with your knees bent. Raise your right leg, using your right hand to stretch toward your right foot. Use your left hand to gently pull your right hamstring closer to your chest. Switch to repeat this exercise on the other side.
Duck Walks and Grand PliГ©
Some exercises involve bending deeply through the knee with external rotation. For example, in a grand pliГ© you bend your knees past 90 degrees, rotating the upper leg to the size so that your knees are externally rotated. Your hips then dip down lower than your knees and rise back up. The excessive knee bend paired with external rotation is a dangerous combination, and bringing your hips below your knees creates even more pressure. A вЂњduck walkвЂќ involves coming down into a pliГ©-like dip with external rotation, but then taking small steps forward across the room. Both of these exercises may be harmful to your knees. You can still develop leg strength by standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, rotating externally through your knees and then slightly lowering your hips.