Training for your health: 8 exercises to strengthen your joints 

The joints are one of the most critical points in the anatomy of any athlete, whatever their level. Precisely because of the instability of their structure, they are one of the most vulnerable anatomical areas prone to injury or damage during physical activity. Let us not forget that they act as links between the bones and therefore receive high stresses from one, two or more of them at the same time.

There are many factors that predispose to joint injury. But if there is one recurring complaint among amateur athletes, it is that of weak muscles around these joints, depending on the level of activity the athlete is demanding of the joint.

Someone who plays a sport where there is high knee or ankle involvement, for example, must have strong musculature around these joints. This is logical, as the muscles that surround or pass through joints act as restraining bands in these joints, giving them stability and control in their movements.

For this reason, we thought it would be a good idea to recommend some simple exercises that work on the muscles surrounding some of the joints that are most vulnerable to injury among athletes.

All you need is a little perseverance, a little time and you will see that not only will you improve the quality and control of your most critical movements when doing sport, but you will also be less prone to injury

Shoulder joint

This is the most unstable joint in the human body and, for this reason, one of the most frequently injured joints in athletes, especially those who practise repetitive or explosive activities with their arms.

Exercise to strengthen the shoulders 1

/ Dumbbell side lifts

This involves raising the arms laterally in a controlled and slightly bent manner, holding a weight or dumbbell in the hand. Do not lift the weight above shoulder height. You can raise both arms simultaneously or alternately, depending on your level of experience.

Exercise to strengthen the shoulders 2

/ Posterior lifts 

With the trunk slightly inclined forward, leaning on a bench, raise the arms backwards, describing the movement of wings, in a controlled movement and with the arms slightly bent. Do not raise the arms higher than the plane of the back.

Raise your arms at the same time or alternately, depending on your experience

Hip joint

It is one of the most stable joints in humans and connects the trunk to both lower limbs. The musculature that surrounds and runs through it is varied and very powerful in most cases, however, the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and other adductors can significantly strengthen this joint.

Exercise to strengthen the hip 1

/ Hip Thrust

It consists of lifting a weight (usually a bar with discs placed on the front and highest part of the thighs, coinciding with the hips) so that the hips are extended until they are in line with the abdomen and legs

Exercise to strengthen the hip 2

/ Hamstring curl

Lying on your stomach, slowly bend your legs until you try to bring your heels to your glutes, lifting the weight placed on the back of your calves. Perform the extension movement in a controlled manner.

Knee joint

This is the largest joint in our anatomy. It is the most prone to injury in a large number of sports, as it receives all the stresses produced in running, e.g., between the femur and the tibia and fibula. The main muscle that acts as a knee protector is the quadriceps, accompanied by the hamstrings

Exercise to strengthen the knee 1

/ Leg extension on machine

Sitting at the quadriceps extension station, lift the weight placed on the calf area by extending both legs. Perform the lowering movement of the legs at a controlled speed.

Exercise to strengthen the hip 2

/ Rear kick

On a specific gym machine or by simply moving a pulley using a rope or rubber band, perform a controlled speed kick backwards from the leg, with the leg extended. Do not hyperextend the leg with respect to the back.

Ankle joint

A critical joint for many athletes in team sports involving turning and acceleration. It supports almost the entire weight of the body and is surrounded at the back by the patellar tendon, where the calf and soleus muscles and the tibialis and peroneus muscles meet.

Exercise to strengthen the ankle 1

/ Walking on tiptoe in supination

It involves walking on the ground with the forefoot and the outside of the foot.

Exercise to strengthen the ankle 2

/ Walking on tiptoe in pronation

This time you have to walk on your tiptoes, but with your foot resting on the ground with the front and inside part of the foot.

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