by Jeannie di Bon, April 9th, 2021
I had no idea it was wrong. But here’s why we should avoid hyperextension of the knee joint.
1) It puts pressure on the knee joint causing wear and tear.
2) When the knees lock, the muscles in the legs no longer have to work to support you. You are hanging off the hip and knee joints.
3) It puts the pelvis into a forward tilt which can cause low back pain as the muscles shorten at the back. Hamstrings will get tighter.
4) The glutes do not switch on in this position giving us weak glutes which can be a contributing factor to walking issues.
5) The abs are pushed forward – again no muscle-tone taking place.
6) Body weight tends to come forward causing scrunching of toes to stop falling over. Not having an even weight distribution through the feet has implications for the rest of the body in terms of pain.
7) The head follows the pelvis forward bringing us into a forward head posture. This can lead to neck pain and headaches.
8) Ankles get tight and squashed, restricting mobility for walking.
Just some of the good reasons not to lock the knees. We know that there should be a low level of muscle activity in standing. When the big bony structures of head, ribs and pelvis are out of alignment, the body is put under much more strain than is necessary.
Bringing these structures into alignment lets the body conserve energy and work less. Gravity is harnessed when our body weight is balanced.
With softened knees you can bring those structures back into alignment. Start with the feet. It is important to get a sense of gravity by drawing the feet heavy into the ground. The knees will naturally soften. It is very difficult to lock out the knees when you are truly in your feet with balance front and back of the foot. Gravity is drawing your weight down. Have a play – it will take practice and will not fix overnight, but it’s definitely worth the investment in time.
You can also work with a band as in the photo to explore ranges of movement without allowing the knees to lock. And if you have access to a Reformer machine, this is a fantastic way to improve knee joint control.
I have a number of videos over on my YouTube channel that look at how to support the knee joint. Take a look over there at Jeannie Di Bon for visual guidance.