Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Protecting your knees

Ive had a few students in class lately talking about knee pain etc. 

 The first thing that comes to my mind when i hear this is muscle imbalance -  when you are moving your knees, you are using most of the muscles in your leg.  If some of these muscles are much stronger than the others, it is very easy to throw out and injure the weakest link.  Therefore, it is important to strengthen all of muscles individually to make sure they are all strong.  If you injure your knee, it puts you out of commission.. you cant go ANYWHERE with out them..  not to the bathroom, not to cook.  Often times the only thing you can do is sit at home and not move an inch just to let it heal a bit.  I learned this sad lesson just a few months ago.

I injured my knee last spring.  It was about the worst thing I could do considering i am a carpet layer and a fitness instructor.  It took at least a couple of months to get over my injury..  I began doing a bunch of leg/knee exercises.  Here is a movie on youtube that i found and liked:

Did you guys notice the short kind of squat he did in this video leaning on a chair?  I stole this from him and was putting a free standing version in my zumba warm ups for awhile.  Make note of all of the form he uses.  
(i should start doing them more).  Another thing that REALLY helped was getting on the exercise bikes at no 
tension...  On an injured knee, this strengthens the muscles closest to your knees, and doesnt put a whole lot of pressure, so you dont injure it further...  I could literally feel a difference afterward.  Cycling is very healthy for your knees.  Also, the exercise machines in the weight room work really well - Leg press, quadricep machine, hamstring curl, adductor and abductor(inner and outer thighs) machine, etc work great... and when you are doing the leg press, try and do some really small reps, just slightly bending your knee.  15-20 reps are more safe.  I dont recommend you do any workouts with free weights unless you have been shown the proper form by a qualified fitness expert.  

What to watch out for when you are doing zumba:  The main thing that I think of is flaring your heals.  This is when you twist your heal out away from your body, so your heal is pointing directly out from the side of your body.. this happens real often when we are on our toes..  Sometimes I get carried away in class..showing off.. and I do it. .  I really shouldnt loose focus, im sorry.  The killer is the salsa back, remind me in class and ill show you what I mean.  Please pay attention to your knees so you can have a amazing injury free year next year.

Id like to encourage all of my students to do some leg strengthening exercises on a weekly basis.   Without your knees you are put out of commission, you cant do anything.. And id hate to miss you in my class!

Your Favorite instructor,

-Dale,  The Utah Zumba Man.

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