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Fitness Friday: Strengthen Your Knees Equally

Every week my colleague @RonKaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he discusses imbalances in body strength and specifically how that can affect your knees. And check out the five exercises to prevent knee injuries. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest

Here's Ron: As I've frequently mentioned in this blog, the asymmetrical nature of the golf swing can eventually lead to muscular imbalances, and that can eventually lead to injury. One body part where golfers will likely suffer at least one injury in their lifetimes as a result of muscular imbalances is the knee. It could be nothing more than mild arthritis. Or it could be as serious as a torn medial collateral ligament.
 
Regardless of the severity, the best way to prevent knee injuries is to train unilaterally--that means one leg at a time. It's unlikely your two legs will have the exact same strength, no matter how hard you train, but the idea is to get them to be as close as possible in terms of strength and endurance capabilities. Ideally, your weaker side should be able to do 90 percent of the work of your stronger side.
 
A quick way to regain muscle balance is to always perform an exercise with the weaker side first, and do as many repetitions as you can. Then do that exact number with the stronger side. So in the case of protecting your knees, if you were going to do some backward lunges and you can do only 10 on your left side, do no more than 10 on your right side.
 
In the October issue of Golf Digest, Dr. Vernon Cooley, the surgeon who operated on Tiger Woods' left knee in 2008, identifies five injuries that can occur at this joint. PGA Tour trainer Dave Herman (@superflexbands) also offers four unilateral exercises that will help keep your knees healthy. Click here to read the article:
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