If you find yourself in rehabilitation for a knee injury, then your physiotherapist will probably recommend a range of different exercises to help you strengthen the joint and prevent further injury. To this end, one of the most important areas you will probably be attempting to stretch and train will be the VMO – or the ‘Vastus Medialis Obliquus’ which is one of the four muscle bellies that make up the quadriceps.
Here we will look at some VMO exercises you can use to help you recover from knee discomfort and to potentially prevent an injury. However it’s important to note that you should only use these exercises if they do not cause further pain and discomfort, and that you should first consult with a physiotherapist before beginning any such course of stretches or exercises – if you get this wrong you can end up exacerbating the issue.
Static Inner Quadriceps Contraction
Here you are going to place a towel underneath your knee while you are sitting down with one leg outstretched in front of you. You are then going to press down on the towel by pushing your leg down as hard as possible for a couple of seconds. Repeat around ten times and stop if there is any pain.
Quadriceps Over Fulcrum
Here you are going to once again use a towel, this time rolled up into a tube and under one knee while you lie flat on your back. Now the idea is to straighten the knee as much as possible very slowly until your leg is point out straight. Lower and repeat.
Leg extensions are the resistance machine in the gym where you sit down and then extend your leg out in front of you to push a pad connected to a series of weights via a cable. If you are recovering from a knee injury then you can perform this movement using a very light weight, or you can do it while sitting in a chair at home with a resistance band over your shin and around the back of the chair leg. Again take it gentle and build up as necessary.
Squats are another general leg exercise that we all know. Again though if you are recovering from an injury you don’t want to perform squats with 150kg like you might normally – instead just practicing squatting gently with your own bodyweight, or while rolling a Swiss ball behind you against a wall.
You can also use the leg press machine in the gym to work the same muscles (to a lesser extent) as the squats. Here you are going to put your feet flat on a pad in front of you and then push it away from you to lift some weights attached to a cable. Again the key is to lift very gentle amounts compared to what you may be used to.