I'd like to know what the best type of exercise would be best to strengthen my knee.
I have a Pilates Reformer machine.
I will have knee replacement surgery in June.
Hello Ginny and thank you for your question.
First off, it's great news to hear you are being so proactive in pre-habbing your knee prior to your knee replacement surgery.
I have worked with many people on the Reformer that have had and are having knee replacement surgery.
Having had several knee surgeries myself I can say for certain that using the Pilates Reformer is one of the best ways to strengthen the muscles that support and stabilize the knee joint, as well as improve your flexibility.
Flexibility is becoming more important in these replacement surgeries as it makes the muscles more pliable for the surgeon to work with and your recovery may be less painful as well.
The beauty of the Reformer is that it stretches the tight muscles and strengthens the weaker ones by balancing out opposing muscles on either side of the leg.
Specifically, all of the different footwork positions on the reformer are helpful because they work different muscles of the foot, ankle, lower leg, and upper thigh muscles.
Heels on the bar, feet close together or about hip width apart. When working in this position make sure the knees and toes stay pointed up to the ceiling to keep proper alignment.
I would also suggest working each leg individually in this position as one may be stronger than the other.
Check out this page to find exercises for pain in the knee joint.
Also, with heels on if you lighten the spring tension and focus on pulling the carriage in you will get more work in the hamstrings.
Arches on the bar, feet wrapped to stretch and strengthen the arch of the foot.
Toes on lifting and lowering the heels with the legs extended. Add a trot to this one as well while you are pressed out. Work again on proper knee-hip alignment.
Heels on the bar in turn-out and wide on the bar to work the inner thigh.
Feet turned in with knees squeezing a small ball to stretch the lateral hip and thigh muscles.
Feet in straps is an open chain exercise and not usually recommended for people with unstable knees. Unless you have been doing these and feel comfortable I would not suggest it unless you are supervised.
Check out the link below to find these and more Pilates Reformer Exercises for both the upper and lower body.
Pilates Reformer Workouts shown here on Youtube
Best to you!
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