Care Tools: Fitness Center
Knee Extension

General Overview:

This exercise is intended to work on strengthening and control of the quadriceps muscles on the anterior (front) aspect of the leg being worked as well as working on re-establishing active Range of Motion (ROM) for knee extension. It will focus specifically on developing Quad strength and control throughout the full Range of Motion.

Why do this Exercise?

To increase strength within the quadriceps and increase active ROM for knee extension. As a general conditioning exercise to target quad strengthening and to prevent injury.

Detailed Description

Table. Ankle Weights/Gym bag (when applicable)
Seated with a straight back on the edge of a hard surfaced table, high enough to allow your legs to hang off without touching the floor, with arms at your side to offer support. You should be seated back enough so that the back of your knees touch up against the edge of the table. Keep your ankle at a 90° angle with your toes pointed straight ahead of you. Your leg should be in a straight line with your hip and your ankle.
Concentrate on contracting/tightening your quadriceps muscle extending your lower leg and foot up and towards the ceiling. This motion should be performed in a slow, smooth and controlled motion. Keep your ankle at a 90° with your toes pointed up towards the ceiling. You want to extend your lower leg as much as possible, in a pain free ROM, to form as straight a line as possible with your upper leg. Once extended, concentrate on holding the contraction for 5 seconds and then slowly relax the muscle allowing your lower leg to return back to the starting position. Relax the muscle and rest for 5-10 seconds and then repeat 10 times. As strength and control increase you can increase from 1 set of 10 reps up to 3 sets of 10 reps. This exercise should be repeated 1-2 times per day.

Additional Information:

This exercise should only be performed within a pain free range of motion. You may find it more comfortable to place a folded towel underneath your knee between you and the edge of the table. Do not continue this exercise if there is pain, swelling or a significant increase in skin temperature (skin becomes hot/warm to the touch). The recommended repetitions are here to serve as guideline. Keep in mind that each person is different and you must modify your activity according to the feedback your body provides. If you feel your muscles getting fatigued (a good thing) and you begin losing control (leg begins twitching) stop and return to the exercise at another time. Do not perform this exercise on a soft surface (i.e. bed) because it will not achieve the desired results. Do not use quick jerky movements with this exercise; it is intended to be performed in a slow and controlled motion. In order to increase the difficulty of this exercise ankle weights or a gym bag may be attached around your foot and ankle while performing the motions. Note that when adding or increasing weight it should be done in small increments and modifications may be made in terms of the number of repetitions of sets performed.
Learn More
About Recovery
This exercise is recommended for early/intermediate stage rehabilitation of an injured or post-surgical knee.
This exercise can also be included into a general fitness program to develop quad strength and prevent injury.


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