Active Recovery

The Trifecta of Mobility Drills You Need To Snuff Out Knee Pain

Kells McPhillips

Photo: Getty Images / Cavan Images

For many runners, cyclists, and other athletes, knee pain keeps coming back to steal the joy that comes with being active. When you’re struggling with achy knees, going all-in on recovery is your best bet for nurturing yourself back to health. To do that, the folks at Bespoke Treatments, a physical therapy center in Seattle and New York City, say you need to focus on mobility exercises.

Unlike flexibility, which refers to the muscle’s ability to stretch, mobility is the joint’s capacity to meet its full range of motion. Knee pain has strong associations with poor knee mobility, so physical therapists tout exercises (like the ones below) as a key strategy for making sure that all-important joint doesn’t wind up feeling rickety and painful. The moves will also help improve blood flow and circulation—so consider that a bonus.

3 mobility exercises for knees that are feeling achy


1. Low lunge to half splits

Step your right leg forward into a lunge position and gently place your left knee onto the ground. Rock your weight back so that your hips come over your left heel and your right leg straightens as much as possible (so as much as feels good). Come back into your low lunge and repeat for as long as feels good, on both sides.

2. Scorpion

Still in your lunge position, bend your left knee and bring your left hand behind you to grab it. Make sure you come onto the soft spot of your left knee (not your kneecap). Place your right hand on your right knee to keep your balance. Hold and breathe here. Don’t forget to stretch the opposite side, too.

3. Modified child’s pose

Come to a kneeling position with your shoulders directly above your wrists and your hips directly above your knees. Extend your left foot out to the side so that the sole of your foot is firmly planted on the floor. Beginning rocking forward and backward within your range of motion. Switch sides.

Now your ready for full-body mobility and this drill takes only 10 minutes:

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