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Pilates Exercises for Knock Knees

by
author image Aubrey Bailey
Aubrey Bailey has been writing health-related articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in ADVANCE for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University at Buffalo, as well as a post-professional Doctor of Physical Therapy from Utica College. Dr. Bailey is also a certified hand therapist.
Pilates Exercises for Knock Knees
Knock knees can also cause pigeon toes. Photo Credit liveslow/iStock/Getty Images

Knock knees occur when your knees are pointed inward or even touching each other. This condition is often caused by weak muscles that move your hips out to the side and rotate your legs away from your body. Pilates mat exercises can strengthen these muscles and improve the position of your knees. Throughout these exercises, tighten your abdominal muscles as if you are pulling your belly button back toward your spine.

Read more: Top 10 Pilates Exercises

To  make side leg lifts easier, start with the top leg bent.
To make side leg lifts easier, start with the top leg bent. Photo Credit vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images

Side Leg Lifts

Side leg lifts activate your gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and tensor fasciae latae muscles. These muscles help pull your knees apart. Side leg lifts can be progressed by adding an ankle weight to your top leg.

Step 1

Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Keep your toes pointed forward throughout this exercise.

Step 2

Lift your top leg up toward the ceiling -- do not allow your hips to rotate forward or backward during this movement. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, then slowly lower back down.

Step 3

Repeat five to 10 repetitions with perfect form. Repeat on the opposite side.

Clamshells are named for the leg position used in this exercise.
Clamshells are named for the leg position used in this exercise. Photo Credit Vico Images/Alin Dragulin/FogStock/Getty Images

Clamshells

Clamshell exercises use the same starting position as side leg lifts, with the exception of bending your knees.

Step 1

Lie on your side with your knees bent and legs stacked on top of each other.

Step 2

Keeping your feet together, slowly lift your top knee up toward the ceiling as far as possible. This movement simulates the opening of the clamshell.

Step 3

Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then slowly lower back down. Repeat five to 10 times with perfect form.

Progress this exercise by increasing the size of your leg circles.
Progress this exercise by increasing the size of your leg circles. Photo Credit STUDIOGRANDOUEST/iStock/Getty Images

Backward Leg Circles

Backward leg circles target a group of six muscles that help prevent knock knees by rotating your thighs out to the side. The main muscle worked in this group is the piriformis.

Step 1

Lie on your side. Keep your bottom leg straight and pressed toward the mat throughout this exercise. Slowly make circles as large as possible with your top leg. Start the circle by moving your leg up and backward.

Step 2

Make 10 circles with your top leg. Be sure to keep your trunk and upper body still throughout the movement. If you can't, start with smaller circles.

Step 3

Perform five to 10 repetitions with perfect form on each side.

Make bridges more challenging by propping your legs on an exercise ball.
Make bridges more challenging by propping your legs on an exercise ball. Photo Credit AndreaObzerova/iStock/Getty Images

Banded Bridges

Bridges are a popular hip strengthening Pilates exercise. Add an elastic exercise band around your thighs to better target muscles that correct knock knees.

Step 1

Loop an exercise band securely around your thighs, just above your knees. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.

Step 2

Press your knees apart against the resistance of the band. Maintain this pressure throughout the exercise.

Step 3

Squeeze your buttocks, press down through your heels and lift your hips up toward the ceiling as far as possible. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds, then slowly lower back down. Perform five to 10 repetitions with perfect form.

Read more: Muscles Being Used in a Bridging Exercise

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