Vastus medialis exercises are a great way to improve knee stability và function, reduce knee pain and reduce the risk of cartilage injuries.
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Most people who suffer from long term knee pain have a weak vastus medialis muscle.
This alters the way the knee moves, how the forces are directed through the knee & places excess strain on the inner knee.
The great news is that vastus medialis strengthening exercises can easily be done at home or in the thể hình without the need for specialist equipment.
Where Is The Vastus Medialis Muscle?
The vastus medialis muscle is the inner most of the four quadriceps muscles found on the front of the thigh.
The main bulk of vastus medialis is found just above the knee cap on the inner (medial) side of the knee.
If you clench your thigh muscles, vastus medialis forms a bulge on the inner thigh, often referred to as the tear drop muscle.
This part of the muscle is known as vastus medialis oblique, aka VMO or vastus medialis obliquus, as the muscle fibres here pass obliquely into the kneecap.
Vastus Medialis Function
The vastus medialis muscle as a whole works with the other quadriceps muscles to lớn straighten the knee and thus extend the leg.
Vastus medialis is particularly important in the final stages of knee extension where it helps with the locking mechanism of the knee joint.
The vastus medialis oblique (VMO) portion on the muscle has an extra function of helping lớn control how the kneecap moves and provides stability.
The shape of the knee means that naturally the kneecap would glide slightly over khổng lồ the outer side of the knee when bending the leg. This would place excessive friction through the cartilage lining the back of the kneecap as well as increasing the risk of patella dislocation.
However, the positioning & direction of the VMO muscle fibres help to counteract this by drawing the kneecap inwards, or medially. This ensures that as the knee bends & straightens, the kneecap glides smoothly up and down the groove on the thigh bone so there is no friction on the back of the kneecap.
The main problems that develop in the vastus medialis oblique muscle are:Weakness: which can affect both instantaneous strength and endurance meaning the muscle tires faster than it shouldMis-firing: there may be a delay in the activation of the VMO or it may switch off completely
People with a weak vastus medialis oblique muscle are more prone to:Knee Instability
Most people suffering from anterior knee pain will benefit from doing vastus medialis exercises.
How To vì chưng Vastus Medialis Exercises
Vastus medialis và vastus medialis oblique are part of the same muscle so you don’t need to vày different exercises for each part. But, you do want khổng lồ make sure that VMO is activating properly.
Clenching a squashy ball between your knees as you vị vastus medialis exercises really helps to make sure the VMO is switching on. A foam ball is best but if you don’t have one, use a soccer ball, just make sure has a bit of give in it by letting some of the air out.
We’ll start by looking at how lớn activate vastus medialis oblique and then look at a whole range of vastus medialis exercises.
1. VMO Activation
Sit upright in a chair, with your knees bent, ball between your knees & your feet flat on the floor. Place your thumbs on the soft, squashy area on the inner side of the knee, just above your kneecaps và press down firmlyClench your glutes và gently squeeze the ball, making sure the movement comes from your knee rather than the inner thighYou should feel a tightening or swelling underneath your thumbs which shows you that you are activating vastus medialis & the VMO. That’s the area we want to lớn make sure is working with all the exercisesIf you can"t feel it, trying clenching your buttocks, clenching your knees and squashing the backs of your thighs down into the chair
Test both sides together, particularly if you have knee pain or swelling, as you may well notice a difference between sides.
2. Ball Clench Extensions
Lie on your back with a rolled up towel underneath your knees và place the ball between your kneesClench your buttocks và gently squeeze the ball, then lift one heel off the ground until the knee is straightKeep clenching the ball & hold for 3 seconds then slowly lower the foot back downRepeat 10 times, gradually increasing the number of reps as you get stronger, aiming to get up to 25
3. Twisted Leg Raise
Lie on your back with one leg stretched out straight and the other knee bent. This takes the tension off the lower back as you work the straight legTurn your foot outwards about 20o into external rotation then lift the foot up until your thighs are parallelHold for 3 seconds và slowly lower down, keeping the foot turned outwardsKeeping the leg turned outwards in this vastus medialis exercise again helps lớn activate the VMO
4. Ball Bridges
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip distance apart và the ball between your kneesClench your glutes, gently squash the ball và lift your bottom up as high as you can without arching your backHold for 3 seconds and slowly lower downKeep squashing the ball và clenching your glutes throughout
5. Ball Wall Squats
Stand with back against a wall, squashy ball between your knees, heels about 6" away from the wall, toes pointing forwardsClench your glutes & gently squash the ball to lớn activate vastus medialis oblique, then slowly slide down the wall, bending your kneesSlide down as far as you feel in control, hold for 3 seconds and slowly push yourself back upKeep your glutes and the ball clenched throughout
6. Vastus Medialis Stretch
Stand holding a chair or the wall for balanceBring your heel up behind you, grasp your ankle & pull your heel towards your buttock, until you feel a stretch, without bending forwardsThis will stretch all 4 of the quads muscles but you can bias the stretch towards the vastus medialis muscle by moving your foot across your body toàn thân towards the other buttockIncrease the stretch by pushing your hips forwards as you vày the exercise
Hold for 30 seconds và repeat 3 times. Don’t tỷ lệ thoát on & off the stretch, it’s much more effective to lớn hold the stretch. For more vị trí cao nhất tips on stretching, visit the knee stretches section
Advanced Vastus Medialis Exercises
Once you can bởi vì 30 reps of each of these vastus medialis exercises with good control và are feeling confident that you are activating your VMO, you can progress onto more advanced exercises such as lunges, step ups & step downs without needing the ball.
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