The Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) is a quadriceps muscle that plays a key roll in creating proper function of the knee joint. The VMO provides stability to the knee cap during movement via it’s attachment to the medial edge of the knee cap. As a result of most sports and activities the lateral part of the quadriceps (Vastus Lateralis) becomes stronger and more developed than the VMO. This medial to lateral imbalance can pull the knee cap off it’s normal track of movement, causing an unequal distribution of force across the knee joint. Chronic off tracking of the knee cap can lead to the development of pain and eventually even injury. Here are a two ways to effectively train the VMO and greatly increase your chances of having trouble free knees for years to come.
1. Squat lower:
It takes going beyond 90 degrees of knee flexion in the squat to properly develop the VMO. Squat as low as you can before your lower back begins to round (loss of curvature). If you cannot squat lower than 90 degrees (thighs parallel to the floor) before your back looses it’s natural curve then I highly suggest you see a strength training professional to help you become able to do so. The health of your knees depend on it.
2. Petersen Step-up:
This exercise is excellent for developing the VMO. Knee alignment is critical when doing this exercise so make sure to keep the knee cap in line with the foot, both as you step up and as you step back down.
*Use a platform between 4-6 inches high.
*Start with one foot on the platform and one foot on the ground. The foot on the ground should be lined up so that it’s heel is just in front of the foot on the platform.
*Now straighten the leg on the platform bringing your entire weight over that foot.
*Step back down controlled and repeat.