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Ballet dancer needs stronger quads

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:15 pm
by ballerina92107

I've been using ExRx for several years, but I'm new to posting.

I need some strengthening advice. I'm a 57 YO hobby ballerina who's been doing ballet for 35 years now. It's my grand passion, so I've no desire or plan to give it up.

Enter osteoarthritis of the knees. As my knees have deteriorated, my abilities have followed suit. No more jumping in class and no grand plies in any position other than second.

So of course now that my knees are jacked up, my quads are getting weak because most (if not all) actions that strengthen the quads involve the knees and it hurts to bend them.

Can you please suggest exercises/machines/techniques I can use to strengthen my quads that won't stress and/or tax my knees?


Re: Ballet dancer needs stronger quads

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:55 pm
by stuward
The problem with questions like this is that we can't see what's wrong with your knees. There are exercises that will increase the stability of your knees but, depending on what's wrong, could just as easily cause more damage. A better idea is talk to your doctor or a physiotherapist and find out how best to address your situation.

An example of what I mean is this study: ... _depth.pdf" onclick=";return false;
The greatest risk for injury during deep squatting would theoretically be to the menisci and articular cartilage
Deep squats may also increase susceptibility to patellofemoral degeneration

On the other hand,
ACL and PCL forces have been shown to diminish at higher degrees of knee flexion.
there is some evidence that those who perform deep squats have increased stability of the knee joint

Re: Ballet dancer needs stronger quads

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:56 pm
by ballerina92107
What's wrong with my knees is osteoarthritis. There's nothing wrong with my ACL or my knee cap; it's just what happens to knees when they get old. That's the only thing "wrong" with my knees. :frown:

I've looked at Human Kinetics book Strength Exercises for Over 50, but what I see are the same exercises I've been doing all along at the gym.

Re: Ballet dancer needs stronger quads

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:04 am
by alombard91
Hi there,

I hope I'm not too late to post a reply. Maybe you should something like eccentric chair squats. By this I mean start with just your bodyweight and really really slowly lower yourself down onto a chair and stand back up. The emphasis here HAS to be on the slow lowering of yourself. you can progress this by adding a back pack and some weight and eventually try to remove the chair and get a full squat. This is just an example but you need to strengthen your quads through eccentric contraction.

I find that doing single-leg leg press with slow eccentrics are very good as this takes away the worry of body control. If you can do these with confidence in your range of motion then this is a good exercise to work on.

Hope this helps.