Picture this, kneeling when you propose or plant flowers in your garden, play with your kiddo, or checking if your husband stores any Playboys under the bed. As you see, all these moves are impossible without engaging your knee.
Yoga includes a complex of exercises that can help you deal with weak knees. Thus, you can easily modify the sequences you do according to the level of your knee’s current condition or your doctor’s recommendations with yoga. Here are the basic postures you may need to add to your practice to improve knee strength:
• Supported Half Moon
• Chair posture
• Triangle or Trikonasana
• Warrior 1,2,3
• Bridge pose
So, How Can Yoga Help Strengthen Knees?
Through a defined range of safe standing or supported asanas, yoga helps build strength for weak muscles in your leg and muscles that stabilize the knee joint. So, choosing yoga as your regular workout helps to improve your knees’ health as stated in the study of yoga postures.
But first, let’s look into the roots and consequences of weak or bad knees.
Why Knees Become Weak?
The knee is the largest and perhaps one of the most complex joints in the human body. On the one hand, it should provide flexion and extension of the leg, mobility to maintain coordination, and the correct position of the body in space.
On the other hand, as one of the connecting parts of the lower extremities, the knee joint must withstand the weight of the human body, not to deform and not be injured under intense loads. For that purpose, it must be solid and stable as much as possible.
Among the reasons that make your knees weak are:
- Disease. Arthritis, infection, or inflammation in the joints caused by age, trauma.
- Injuries. Strains, ligament rupture, and more. The knee ligaments serve as the strongest mechanism that holds each bone in a particular position without limiting the possible range of movements. As you know, the surfaces of bones cannot connect like a puzzle, providing full mobility. Therefore, if the ligaments, muscles, or meniscus, which hold the joint in a physiological position, are disrupted, the cartilage tissues begin to wear out gradually.
- Overuse. With inadequate physical activity and pathological trajectory of movement, your knee wears faster and becomes prone to injury.
- Lack of activity and movement. A sedentary lifestyle calls your body to adapt to less activity by shortening the hip muscles and supplying fewer nutrients to your knees. Thus, you are losing flexibility and strength in those parts of your body.
Which Is the Best Asana for Knee Strength?
There is no single best yoga pose that will make your knees made of steel. But we have included some of the practical and safe asanas to work toward knee health below. Make sure you warm up your joints before the practice. Start with shorter holds and increase the loads gradually as your legs’ and knees’ strength grows.
Half Moon Posture (Supported)
You can start doing this one near the wall for support. Also, use a block. This pose maintains balance and helps increase strength in your leg and stabilize the knee.
Utkatasana or Chair Pose
This posture works towards adding strength to your quads and giving more flexibility to ankles, which improves your leg position, including the knee alignment.
Make sure you don’t push your knee’s line to the front. Also, you can engage legs more with pressing knees to each other.
Check: When you look down, you can see your toes.
Trikonasana or Triangle Pose
Use it to stretch and strengthen the inner thigh muscles.
Avoid: Hyperextension in the knee.
Warrior can be done in 3 variations that work towards a different area of the leg. When you stand with your legs wide apart, heels on one line – you maintain balance and knee strength.
Your knee aims in the same direction as your toes to give it a safe bend. In addition, calves and ankles stretch while quadriceps and knees are strengthening. With this asana, you become more mindful about how your legs stand and which muscles are engaged in that position.
Avoid: Doing this one when you’ve got inflammation in the knee.
Adds strength to your knees via static load on the knee and quads. Allows training proper knee alignment.
Ensure your neck feels comfortable in this position.
Use a block under your lower back if your quads are too weak or start shaking while you are in the pose.
Yoga to Strengthen Knees FAQs
How Can I Make My Knees More Flexible?
According to the research of Barry Beedle published at the National Library of Medicine, warming up before your practice adds more flexibility to your joints. That’s why we’d recommend using the below sequence, which includes knee stretches as a drill for your knees or as a pre-workout routine:
How Can I Avoid Weak Knees?
To prevent your knees from being weak watch the position of your knees and keep them aligned properly. That will also help you prevent injuries.
Can Yoga Damage Knees?
Any physical activity can cause knee injury if done incorrectly. As for yoga, around 42% of yogis reported they received knee injuries during the yoga practice.
So, if you practice at home or you’re a beginner, avoid jumping into complex asanas without proper warm-up and preparation of your joints. And when you attend a yoga class, follow the instructor’s cues and not force your body into the pose.
Which Yoga Poses to Avoid with Bad Knees?
The riskiest positions for knees are those that put extra load on the knee. Thus, try to avoid or be cautious about doing the Lotus pose, Butterfly pose, Balasana, Frog pose, and Pigeon pose.