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Yoga for Knock Knees

by
author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Yoga for Knock Knees
You can correct knock knees by strengthening the gluteus medius muscle. Photo Credit theverest/iStock/Getty Images

With so much emphasis on proper posture in yoga class, you might get self-conscious if you notice a flaw or two in your own posture. A very common postural problem, especially in women, is known as "knock knees," which is when your knees naturally slant in toward each other. This manifests itself in different yoga poses if it's not taken care of, but you can easily correct it and strengthen the proper muscles with a few yoga poses.

Quadriceps Angle

Your quadriceps angle is the angle where your thigh meets your knee. The greater the quadriceps angle, or Q angle, the more knock-kneed you are. Women tend to have higher Q angles because their hips are usually wider and femurs shorter than a man's. Men also have more muscle tension in their legs and hips than women usually do, which can prevent them from falling into a knock-kneed posture.

Read More: Gluteus Medius Hip Exercises

When someone has knock knees their legs aren't only moving in toward each other, they are also rotating. The femurs rotate inward, which can put added pressure on ligaments in the knee. The most well-known ligament in the knee that gets injured often is the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. There is a high incidence of injury to this ligament in women because they are more likely to be knock-kneed.

Gluteus Medius

To correct a knock-kneed posture, you have to learn how to use a very important muscle called the gluteus medius. This is one of the smaller glute muscles, not to be confused with the massive gluteus maximus. It starts on the outside of your hip bones and runs down the side of your hips to the top of your femur.

When your gluteus medius contracts, it not only pulls your femurs out to the sides but rotates them out. Basically, the gluteus medius is made to pull your legs out of a knock-kneed posture, which is why it's the main muscle you want to target to fix this problem. While there aren't many yoga poses that specifically focus on muscles as small as the gluteus medius, there are a few poses that allow you to focus on your gluteus medius if you tweak them slightly.

Read More: Exercises to Correct Knock Knees

Tree Pose

Stand tall with your feet next to each other. Raise your right foot up the inside of your left leg and plant it flat on your upper inner left thigh, toes pointing toward the ground. Stand tall with your hands in prayer position or arms reaching straight overhead. To add a focus on the gluteus medius, make sure that your hips don't lean to the left at all throughout the pose. This requires intense balance, concentration and gluteus medius strength.

Make sure your hips stay centered to target the gluteus medius in tree pose.
Make sure your hips stay centered to target the gluteus medius in tree pose. Photo Credit dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images

Half Moon Pose

Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. Get into a lunge position with your right leg forwards and left leg straight behind you. Your right foot should be pointed straight forwards. Lean forwards and pick your left leg up off of the ground to plant your right hand down on the ground in front of your right foot.

You can also put your hand on a yoga block. When your hand is on the ground, straighten out your right knee and open your hips up to the left. Your left leg should be straight behind you, parallel to the floor. Rotate your left leg so that the toes of your left foot are pointing straight to the left. Now, raise your left leg up slightly and lower it slightly to work your gluteus medius.

The leg in the air is taxing the gluteus medius in half moon pose.
The leg in the air is taxing the gluteus medius in half moon pose. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Crescent Lunge

Get into a lunge position with your left leg forward and right leg back. Lower down into the lunge by bending the left knee and keeping the right straight. Raise your arms up straight and lean back slightly as you drop lower into the lunge. Turn your right foot so the top of your foot is flat on the mat and put your right knee down as well.

Make sure that the leg in front, in this case the left leg, isn't collapsing in toward the middle of your body. That would be a sign of gluteus medius weakness. If it is, you need to focus on pressing the knee out to the side throughout the movement, activating your gluteus medius.

Don't let your front leg lean inward during crescent lunge.
Don't let your front leg lean inward during crescent lunge. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images
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