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Forward Lean Drill for Knee Pain w/ Running

Hey, it’s Jennifer. Today I want to talk about knee pain when you’re running. Which includes the pain that just hangs out the front of your knee and a drill you can do to alter your running gait mechanics to help with that.

When you’re running, a lot of people are what we call “backseat runners” which means you’re kind of leaning back or you’re really upright with your chest versus leaning forward a little bit. When you’re really upright with your torso while running your quads and your knees have to manage a lot of the forces as you’re running versus your hips. If you lean forward a little bit, then you make your hips do more of the work and take a little bit off your knees which that can help with knee pain when you’re running.

One drill that we use here at Peak Endurance to work on that is the forward lean drill at the wall. You’ll stand about two feet away from the wall. Start on two feet, eyes open. You’re going to lean forward towards the wall until you get to a spot where you feel like if you went any further, you would just fall into the wall. Hold that for a couple seconds and then let yourself fall into the wall. Come back up and repeat. You’ll want to do 10 reps of that.

Then try the same thing on one leg by getting into sort of a running stance. Lean forward as far as you can without falling, hold for a couple of seconds, really feel where that is and what that feels like with your body, and then come back. Do 10 more on each leg.

Next repeat the whole thing with your eyes closed. You’re making your brain and your body figure out where that is in space without the help of your eyes. Then you can try to replicate that when you’re running. It’s a great drill to do before you go on your run while it’s fresh in your mind for what that feels like to get that forward lean and then try thinking about it when you’re running.

Click “Learn More” below to read more about investigating this concept out on the trails (spoiler: it still works)!

Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.