I just received an email from a firefighter in Canada in regards to a “good” exercise to strengthen the knees. A lot of times knee pain can be associated with poor glute activation and pelvic stability. To work on eliminating this weakness try the marching bridge. This exercise is an effective tool for improving hip and core strength and stability, it is particularly effective in knee injury prevention and rehab. This can be used as a movement prep and/or core exercise. Start with 8 to 10 reps each side with 2 seconds holds per rep. Work your way to longer isometric holds (up to 10 seconds per rep). Give it a try, your low back and knees will thank you.
The Marching Bridge
1. Lay on your back with the knees bent 90 degrees. Find a neutral spine position, perform a full double leg bridge and hold in a table top position.
|Squeeze your glutes and keep abs tight|
2. Draw your belly button inward toward your spine. Now slowly extend one knee, pause at full extension (hold for 3 seconds) and then return to double leg support. Repeat on the other side.
Maintain a “braced” core and avoid collapsing into a pelvic tilt during the hold.
3. Discontinue the exercise (rest or regress it) if form is lost and cannot be corrected.
Try a to perform 5-10 reps (hold each rep for 2-3 seconds) each side. Work up to longer holds and more reps.