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Strengthen Quads and Avoid Runner's Knee With Wall Squats

Here's How to Prevent Runner's Knee

If you're a runner and you want to increase your speed, build your endurance, and have the ability to tackle hills with a breeze, you need to have strong quads. Strengthening your thighs can also prevent injuries such as runner's knee. This common injury, which often happens to new runners, is tied to a combination of weak quads and tight hamstrings and calves. Wall squats (also called wall sits) are the perfect exercise to strengthen your upper legs.

  • Stand with your back against a wall, placing your feet about two feet out in front of you. Feet should be hip-distance apart.
  • Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90 degree angles. Your knee joints should be over your ankle joints, so you may need to inch your feet further from the wall to create proper alignment. Your thighs should remain parallel.
  • Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, and then stand up. Repeat for a total of three reps.
  • To make this move more challenging, alternate between lifting your left heel for a few seconds and then your right. This helps to target your calves.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Ericka McConnell
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mikecortez mikecortez 8 years
I remember this "wall squat" as a punishment for boys when I was still in military training. Our drill officer would order a cadet to squat for several minutes for messing up in the drills and marches. Sometimes, we are made to hold out our arms forward holding a rifle while in the squat position, to increase the difficulty of the punishment. A cadets legs would often end up shaking while being punished. This sure hurts...
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 8 years
yea these are great....they hurt so good :P
telane telane 8 years
Ugh... I remember doing these for what seemed like hours during basketball practice back in high school. I like doing them, because yes, you can feel the burn, but these were like a huge punishment (esp. when coach would make us hold a ball up above our heads and against the wall at the same time!).
brownsuga928 brownsuga928 8 years
Thanks! I am gonna try this at home tonight. I can already feel the pain. LOL ;)
acemonkey acemonkey 8 years
I will have to try this. I've been working my legs lately doing squats and lunges at home. The weird thing is that my lower back hurts after. I'm assuming that my posture might be off. Does anyone have any suggestions to what I might be doing wrong. Maybe doing the wall sits will give my back more support.
kclulu kclulu 8 years
Wall sits are one of my favorite ways to end a good leg workout. I also use a plate weight that I put on top of my legs for added difficulty (I worked up to that though, it is diffucult without weight too). It is a great exercise to do until failure since it is isometric. My legs really shake at the end!
asense0fwonder asense0fwonder 8 years
carbizkate - that's a great idea!
runningesq runningesq 8 years
These are killers! Great workout for the quads ... you definitely 'feel the burn.'
syako syako 8 years
That makes sense. Thanks guys. I will definitely try these.
carbizkate carbizkate 8 years
I love wall sits...I have one of those toothbrushes that runs on a 2-minute timer, so I like to do a wall sit while I am brushing. I hold the position until the toothbrush buzzes that it's been 2 minutes. By the end my legs are really burning!
carbizkate carbizkate 8 years
syako, try them and you will see. They can be intense, because you are really isolating the quads by using them to press your back to the wall and hold yourself up.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
Maybe it's just to maintain proper posture? I know (when I could afford one) my trainer used to always tsk me for leaning forward too much.
syako syako 8 years
Does being against a wall target your quads in some other way than just usual squats? I would think that by leaning, your taking some of the work off from your quads and not getting the full benefit?
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