For many, the start of the year represents a time when people set goals of increasing their activity levels. For some that could mean walking more, starting a new activity, or kicking off that gym routine you have been waiting to try. Often these are undertaken with a high level of enthusiasm as you kick off the new year.
I applaud those who are looking to make physical activity changes in 2022. It doesn’t need to be complicated or elaborate. Something as simple as increasing your daily step count will have a positive effect on your overall health. For myself, January represents the start of my offseason training as a Professional Beach Volleyball Player. And with that can come aches and pains, which at times can make maintaining a consistent routine challenging.
Motivation comes and goes. I don’t believe that lack of motivation is what causes people to abandon their aspirations of increased physical activity. I believe it’s a result of lack of consistency. Maybe it’s a busy work schedule or maybe the cold weather that makes you want to just stay inside. In my experience, the inability for someone undertaking a new routine to be consistent is…… injury.
For myself, that comes in the form of knee pain. Knee pain can be frustrating, not only because of the discomfort while performing physical activity, but also the effects it has on other parts of your life.
In my experience as a licensed Physical Therapist and Professional Athlete focusing on rehabilitative exercises that place the demand on strength and stability of the knee can drastically improve discomfort in this area.
In order to comfortably begin these exercises however, sometimes we need some additional support. Bauerfeind's GenuTrain was designed as an active knee brace that produces its most beneficial effect primarily during movement. It stabilizes the joints, relieves pain, and activates the muscles. In this way, it promotes faster regeneration and contributes to safe mobilization.
My go-to exercises with that focus in mind are the Single Leg Dumbbell RDL and the Dumbbell Step Down.
Single Leg Dumbbell RDL
Stand on one leg with the knee slightly bent and the other slightly behind the support leg. Hold a single dumbbell in the hand opposite the support leg (contralateral). Hinge at the hip to lean forward while bringing the back leg up, maintaining a straight line along the trunk and lifted leg. Keep the hips square as you hinge, i.e. prevent any rotation or tilting, and maintain the same slight bend in the support knee. Reverse the motion and stand again for the next rep, ideally without allowing the free foot to touch the floor. The movement can also be regressed and performed unloaded.
Dumbbell Step Down
Stand with a leg on a platform approximately 12 inches tall. Hold a single dumbbell in the hand opposite the support leg (contralateral). Lean forward so that your shoulders are in line with your midfoot as you slowly lower the hell of the unsupported leg towards the ground. Lightly tap the ground before returning to the start position. The movement can also regress and be performed unloaded.
Whatever your activity of choice is, consider adding the Single Leg Dumbbell RDL and the Dumbbell Step Down to your routine so you can remain injury free and consistent in the pursuit of those 2022 Goals.