Knee Strengthening Exercises For Endurance Athletes : Pro Triathlete James Cotter

The following blog was contributed from professional triathlete, James "Kiwi" Cotter. You can follow his blog at www.kiwicotter.com.

For this post I just wanted to share with you a few routines I do each week to keep my body in check and working. Once you have had an injury, you really learn how important it is to incorporate some strength into your routine. Now, the routine I will show you is what I have developed for me and my past knee issues. They may work for you if you have knee issues, or maybe will give you some new exercises to add into your current routine.

I use this routine 3 times a week and try and do them in the evenings after key sessions.

1. Foundation Training



When you begin Foundation training the poses look easy, like the “founder” pose I’m in above. However, after 10 seconds of holding poses your lower back gets worked. Foundation training really tagets the back and core. If you sit a lot and suffer from lower back pain, this is for you. It retrains your movement patterns and establishing new muscle memory. You learn how to support yourweight using the posterior chain muscles. It has helped me with more upright posture, getting more power on bike and run, and just makes me feel taller.

2. Ankle Weights

I alter between weekly between 2 foundation sessions/1 ankle weight session


I use a 10lb ankle weight and have progresses the holding duration of each position. This hold targets the quads. I haveprogressed from barley being able to hold 20 seconds, to now over a minute. I normally go 5x1min with 20 seconds rest between. You can start from 20 seconds hold and build up duration or reps.



Single leg bridge going after the glutes. I found that my glutes were not all that strong and were causing my knees to flare in a wee bit medially. Once my glutes became stronger they could support every thing and keep my knees stable during initial contact with ground while running. This is my least favorite position of all. I do 3×45 seconds hold on each leg with 15 seconds rest. I need to do more duration and reps with this one.



The classic Jane Fonda leg lifts. I use to just do this drill with my top leg parallel to the bottom leg but have recently added in some variation to this move. I start with the weighted leg in front of the bottom leg, then parallel, then behind the bottom leg. Really gets a solid burn. I either do 25 reps in each position (front, center, back) then switch to the opposite leg.



Working the VMO. I really enjoy doing this pose. I alternate between lifts and just holding.



Last one to work the glut again. I keep a 90 degree angle at the knee and do 20-30 lifts, a 30 second hold with my leg in the air as shown, then back to 30 lifts.

 

James Cotter's Bio:

I started competing in triathlon at 18 years old when I moved from New Zealand to Hawaii. I signed up for my water polo team my last semester in New Zealand to start swimming as my father told me he had signed my up for a half ironman, as that is what they did in Hawaii. I ended up qualifying for Ironman Hawaii in my first race and was the youngest athlete in 2001. I caught the bug and slowly progressed up the rankings.

I had my breakout season in 2010, finishing Top 5 at Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs, 70.3 Lake Stevens and 70.3 Branson and then was unfortunately struck down by injuries. I'm trying to make my come back in 2014 and look forward to chasing the dream again. Follow James this season on twitter or instagram @cotterjp or his blog www.kiwicotter.com.