The Best VMO Exercises
The VMO, which is short for “Vastus Medialis Oblique.” This is the most important quad muscle and arguably the most responsible muscle for knee stability. The VMO’s main function is to control knee extension while stabilizing the patellar in a linear track. Additionally, the VMO is responsible for the prevention of patellofemoral joint pain(PFS). This is experience through anterior knee pain by contact of the back of the knee cap with the femur(thigh) bone
Most often this knee muscle is referred to as the VMO. You may also hear it being referred to as the “tear drop” muscle as it is shaped exactly like a tear drop. The VMO is located above the knee on the front inner part of your quad. If you’re going through knee therapy after surgery, one of your main priorities will be to regain strength of your VMO due to muscle atrophy from knee surgery.
Now that you understand the importance of your VMO, let’s take a look at the best VMO exercises:
1. SITTING ISOMETRIC CONTRACTIONS (Toes facing slightly out)
-Sit down on a flat surface with your legs straight in front of you.
-Place a towel underneath the back of your knee.
-Flex your quad muscle with your toes pointing forward.
-Hold the contraction for 10 seconds. Place your fingers on your VMO to ensure that your quad muscle is tight and firing.
-Do about 10 reps of 10 seconds. Increase the length of the contraction as your VMO becomes stronger.
2. SEATED ISOMETRIC VMO AND ADDUCTION CONTRACTIONS
-Sit on a chair, preferably one high enough to let your feet hang.
-Place a swiss ball between your thighs.
-Tighten your VMO’s by squeezing the medicine ball as you tighten your quad muscles.
-Hold the contraction for 10 seconds. Place your fingers on your VMO’s to ensure that your quad muscles is are contracting. Increase the hold as your VMO’s become stronger.
3. FOAM ROLLER LEG EXTENSIONS
-Sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you
-Place the foam roller beneath your knees
-Extend your knee by flexing your quad muscle (do one knee at a time).
-Hold the contraction for 10 seconds for each repetition. Do 10 sets of 10 with 10 second holds. Increase your holds as your VMO becomes stronger.
4. PLIE KNEE SQUATS
-Stand with your legs shoulder with apart with your toes pointing out as far as possible.
-Squat 1/4 of the way down.
-Come up slowly focusing on isolating your VMO’s to bring you back to standing position.
-Do 3 sets of 10 and increase as you knees get stronger.
5. BALL SQUATS
-Place a swiss ball between a wall and your lower back.
-Slowly squat down to a seated position so that your thighs are parallel with the ground.
-Slowly squat back up ( Never, never lock your knees).
-Do 3 sets of 10.
6. SPLIT SQUATS (STATIONARY LUNGE)
-Start with your legs shoulder width apart and take one large step forward. Have your hands at your side or on your hips.
-Focus on placing your body-weight at the front of quad muscle along with your heel holding most of your weight.
-Squat down focusing on contracting your VMO while lowering and raising your body with an upright position. Stand next to a wall or railing to keep your balance if it is an issue (Lower down to the point your back knee touches the ground and raise to the point just before locking your knee).
-Do 3 sets of 10. Increase the number of reps and use dumbbells as your knees become stronger.
7. SINGLE 1/4 LEG SQUATS
If you’re in the early stages of knee therapy (1-3months), I’d recommend not to do this unless you’re confident in the strength of your knees.
-Stand with your legs shoulder width apart.
-Raise one leg in front of you while slowly squatting with your heel holding your body weight. You should squat a little lower than parallel with the ground.
-Slowly squat back up focusing on contracting your VMO through the entire motion.
-Stand in front of a step or a chair.
-Step up with one leg and raise yourself in an upright position while contracting your VMO with your knee just a little bit passed your foot.
-Slowly step down ensuring that your VMO is contracted through the entire motion.
-Repeat the process alternating your knees.
-Do 3 sets of 10(each leg).
-Stand on top of a step or stair.
-Slowly step down with your knee coming just a bit over your foot with your body weight on your heel while contracting your VMO.
-Slowly return to your starting position ensuring your VMO is contracted through the entire motion.
-Do 3 sets of 10(each knee).
–Single Leg Step Down
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