Hey Angels and Alphas,
Regardless of your age, what type of training you do, or whether you’re female or male, fitness experts agree that almost everyone will deal with knee pain at some point in their life.
Stretching, however, offers one of the possible solutions to avoid it or alleviate it when it happens. Experts say this is because light stretching can help reduce muscle guarding and tension as a result of pain and further help restore joint mobility.
And while I’m not here to say stretching will absolutely resolve your knee pain or tackle the root issue causing it, it can definitely offer the short-term relief you need to make movement and exercise possible… and more enjoyable.
Let’s just take a moment to say stretching is most beneficial if your knees are stiff or immobile. To help ease that stiffness and improve mobility, it’s important to target the muscles and joints that are around the knees. This means focusing on your hips, your quadriceps, your hamstrings and your calves.
When these areas become more flexible and mobile, your knees will be better equipped to rotate, straighten, and bend safely and more effectively.
Below, we’re going to explore some of the best stretches that check all the necessary boxes for reducing knee pain. You can do them daily or incorporate them into your post-workout routine so you can reap all their alleviating and mobility-improving benefits.
Let’s jump right in.
#1 THE HALF-KNEELING QUAD STRETCH
If your hip flexor and quadricep muscles are constricted in the front of your thighs, this may lead to limited knee flexion and compression of the knee cap. This, over time, will almost always lead to knee pain. This stretch is here to ease the pain and stiffness by essentially lengthening your tight hip flexor and quad muscles.
How to do it: Start off in a half-kneeling position with your right knee on the ground, and your left knee bent 90 degrees in front of your body. Then, you might want to place a cushion under your bottom knee.
From there, reach back and grip your right foot with your right hand. Then gently pull your foot up until you feel a stretch in your right quadriceps. You can then intensify the stretch by squeezing your left glute to press your hip forward. Just make sure to hold for at least 30 seconds before releasing and then switch sides.
#2 THE SEATED IT BAND STRETCH
Have you heard of the iliotibial (IT) band? It’s a thick piece of fascia that basically extends from the outside of your hips to the sides of your knees. It can easily become tight and inflamed when it’s overused.
How to do it: The seated IT band stretch starts off with you on the ground with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and cross it over your left, placing your right foot flat on the floor. Keeping your legs in place, proceed to rotate your torso to look to your right until you feel a gentle stretch.
To assist you in this stretch, you can hook your left elbow on the outside of your left knee and place your right palm on the floor, preferably behind you. Hold for at least 30 seconds before you release and repeat once or twice on that same side before you try it on the other side.
#3 THE SUPINE HAMSTRING STRETCH
If your hamstrings are tight, your knee mobility will be limited, further stressing your joints. The supine hamstring stretch is here to help by increasing flexibility and helping relieve tightness and pain.
How to do it: Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Use a lopped towel, belt or strap around your left thigh and grip the ends with both of your hands.
Without lifting your shoulders or your head off the floor, proceed to slowly pull on the towel so you can raise your left leg toward your chest. Straighten your left leg as much as possible. Lift your right until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstring and then hold that stretch for 10–20 seconds before releasing.