One of the biggest complaints I hear among martial artists centers around aches, pains, and injuries in their knees.
I’m not a medical practitioner, and I can’t give advice on treating pain or injury. And if you do experience either of those, I definitely recommend booking an appointment with your healthcare provider.
But what I can do is teach you a routine that will keep your knees as mobile, flexible, and strong as possible. Better mobility equals better knee health, and this routine will help with both.
Improving your mobility is a great way to keep your knees healthy and strong for high impact activities such as martial arts, and can help prevent future pain and injury.
Follow this 4-step corrective exercise process as seen in the above video, which will help correct any muscle imbalances that might be present in your knees:
- Step 1 – Inhibit the overactive muscles. We’re going to use a foam roller on the piriformis muscle for 30-60 seconds on each side.
- Step 2 – Stretch the overactive muscles. In this case, we’re going to target the piriformis muscle again, and perform a static stretch for 30 seconds. I’m using a balance ball in the above video. If you don’t have a balance ball, that’s totally fine. Just grab behind the thigh of your lower leg, and gently pull your leg towards you.
- Step 3 – Strengthen the underactive muscles. For this one we’ll do a quadruped opposite arm-leg raise. We’ll do 10-15 repetitions on each side of the body.
- Step 4 – Perform an integrative exercise targeting both overactive and underactive muscles. For this last one we’ll place a medicine ball or other ball between our knees, squeeze our legs together to hold the ball in place, and perform 10-15 squats slowly and under control.
This mini workout will take you about 5 minutes, and you can do it anytime, anywhere. Feel free to use it as a warm-up for your karate training!
Do these exercises regularly, and you should see improvement in your knee mobility for karate, so you can spend more time doing what you love: kicking people for fun. 😉
Please note: tightness and/or weakness in other muscles not mentioned above can also contribute to poor mobility in your knees. The ones mentioned are common culprits and a good starting point.