Try the Poliquin Step-Ups Exercise for knee pain
Poliquin Step-Up muscles worked: Vastus Medialis Oblique…
The Poliquin Step-Up is our top exercise to include in your training to strengthen your VMO muscle. If you’ve ever suffered from knee pain in the past, chances are you could do with strengthening your VMO; the tear-drop shaped muscle above the knee on the inside of your quad. This is the muscle that works to extend the knee and protects it upon contact with the ground.
Knee pain is generally caused by an imbalance in the quadricep muscles: in most cases with the vastus lateralis, on the outside of the quad, being too strong and the VMO being too weak. This imbalance leads to the patella, or kneecap, tracking getting pulled out of line which results in pain.
How to build vastus medialis
If you are suffering from knee pain, our primary recommendation is to do some soft tissue work, such as foam rolling, to relieve tightness in the quadriceps muscles. Following this you should follow a structurally balanced training program which focuses on strengthening and building your vastus medialis oblique muscle and evening out muscular imbalances: ensuring you regain pain-free function of your knee.
The Poliquin Step-Up isolates and directly targets the VMO muscle, making it our number one exercise to build the vastus medialis.
To perform the Poliquin Step-Up
– Start with one foot on a step with your heel elevated as high as possible, we recommend standing on a bumper plate on some kind of low step;
– Keeping your hips square and core tight, lower the heel of the other foot down in line with the toe of the elevated foot;
– From the bottom position, drive through the toes and ball of the elevated foot to return to the start position;
– Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, and then repeat with the opposite foot.
Since this lower body exercise has a very short range of movement we recommend doing 15-20 reps each side, to get an adequate time under tension for the VMO muscle.
Initially we would always recommend performing this step-up as a body weight exercise, but once you can comfortably perform 20 reps with good form and control, you could hold a dumbbell in each hand to add extra resistance.
Alternative to Poliquin Step-Ups
When the Poliquin Step-up exercise is feeling comfortable, you should progress onto the Peterson Step-Up, which is more advanced progression of the movement.
An additional exercise you may wish to include in your training, to further assist the strengthening of the VMO, is the Bulgarian Split Squat. This is another excellent exercise for targeting the VMO muscle but that also trains the rest of the quads, the hamstrings, glutes and core, and helps to even out imbalances in the legs. The advantage of Bulgarian Split Squat exercise is that it can be loaded very heavily, either with a Barbell or Dumbbells, which is great for overall strength gains.
Give the Poliquin Step-Up a try!
We can’t stress enough how effective the Poliquin Step-Up exercise is to fix knee pain but, alongside that, a strong VMO will also ensure far greater strength potential and greatly reduces the risk of injuries in the future; making this an important exercise for everyone to include in their training!