Arthritis: 4 advanced knee and hip exercises

October 5, 2015

 These advanced exercises will help strengthen the muscles that support your hips and knees even more if you're ready to push yourself in your exercise regimen.

Arthritis: 4 advanced knee and hip exercises

1. Ball squat

You will need a large exercise ball for this squat, which works your thighs in the same way conventional squats do, but forces you to keep yourself steady against an uneven surface.

  • Stand next to a wall with your feet hip-width apart. Put the exercise ball on your lower back between you and the wall, holding the ball in place with your body.
  • Slowly bending your knees, lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor, allowing the ball to roll behind your back as your body drops. Slowly straighten your legs and roll the ball back to the starting position.
  • As in a regular squat, your knees should be aligned with your feet. Don't place your feet in front of your body to lean back harder against the ball. If pain prevents you from bending your knees to 90 degrees, lower yourself to a point that's comfortable and gradually expand your range as you get stronger.
  • If your knee comfort allows, you can give thigh muscles a vigorous isometric workout by holding your body in place for a count of one to three in the lowered position.

2. Side thrust kick

This exercise provides a good workout for the muscles that surround the hip while also expanding the knees' range of motion.

  • Lie on your right side with both legs extended and your head propped on your right hand. Bring your upper (left) leg forward so that your left knee is in front of your hip, with the knee bent to a 90-degree angle.
  • Kick your left foot out at a 45-degree angle from the floor, straightening your leg as you kick. Lower your foot and return your left leg to its straightened starting position. After one set, repeat with the other leg.
  • When pressing your leg upward, imagine you're kicking a spot about three feet in front of you.

3. Partial stationary lunge

The lunge is a time-tested exercise that really builds up the muscles involved with walking, climbing stairs and getting out of a chair.

  • Take a larger-than-normal step forward with your right foot. This is your starting position and you'll keep both feet planted through your repetitions.
  • Keeping your upper body straight, bend your right knee and slide your pelvis forward until your knee is over the toe of your right foot. The heel of your left foot will come off the floor. To further lower your body, bend your left knee.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the same side. After one set, do the same with the other leg.
  • The difficulty of this move can be adjusted by the size of your starting step.

4. Advanced bird dog

This advanced exercise not only works muscles of the hips, but also the back and shoulders.

  • Get down on your hands and knees on the floor, a rug or an exercise mat.
  • Extend your left leg out behind you, raising your foot so that your entire leg is parallel to the floor. At the same time, reach out straight in front of you with your right arm.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg and arm to complete one repetition. Continue alternating legs and arms until you finish a set.
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