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Snap, Crackle, Pop! My Knees Are Complaining!

I want to share an exercise that I have been doing for my knees. My friend, client and trainer Jamie Scott showed me this, after I complained about my knees to him!  For the past 6-8 months, these particular joints have become alarmingly LOUD and CRACKLE-Y -going up and down stairs and especially while working out!  I have expressed to friends that I prefer to work out in the studio, rather than at home, mostly because the music is good and at a high enough volume that I don’t have to hear my decrepit knees splitting and cracking!  🙂

This exercise works the front of the thigh, and also the glutes and hamstrings.  Jamie explained to me that by strengthening the front of the thigh and other supporting muscles, this technique helps relieve extra stress that is put on the knees.

Bulgarian Split Squats (sometimes called “One-Leg Dipping Lunges”)

Click for closer view

Face away from a normal height bench and extend one leg straight behind you to rest on a bench, with your front standing leg straight.

You can check your distance by ensuring that you keep a relatively vertical shin throughout the movement.

For balance, keep your arms crossed in front of you, or out to your sides.  (You can also try putting your hands on your head.)  With your weight mostly on your front leg, lunge down and come back up, making sure the front knee stays behind the toe.  Lower the body down by bending the knee of the lead/working leg until the knee of the back leg is almost on the ground. Pause at the bottom and drive off the lead/working leg.  At the top squeeze your quad for a complete peak contraction.  Focus on balance and good form. Repeat for four sets of 10 reps.

I have been doing these for the past few weeks.  The main issue is basically keeping your balance by focusing and tightening/controlling your core.  I have found two videos showing this exercise.  You can see that people vary in their distance away from the bench.  I have found that it helps me to try a squat and gradually move further away from the bench until I’m able to maintain balance!  As an option, you can hold a light weight in each hand  Try it and let me know what you think!

  • Sally's Kid Sister January 4, 2011, 9:38 am

    For added challenge, put that back leg on an Exercise Ball. 🙂

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