The Q Angle and Pilates, part two

q-angleOn Friday, we discussed the Q Angle and how it affects womens fitness. The Q Angle can be the culprit of many knee injuries for active women. However, infusing a regime of conditioning exercises that target to strengthen the muscles around the knee can reduce the chance of injury. Pilates offers an array of such exercises that are not only low impact, but increase knee muscular strength and stability. We have incoporated a list of these preventative exercises below. Before we go into the list, there are a couple of things we would like to note!

1) You’re not going to change your bones, but you can strengthen the muscles around the knee and in the upper thigh to reinforce proper biomechanics.

2) Pilates is an excellent form of cross-training, but to really prepare your knee for the stresses placed on it with your favorite sport, exercises that do involve gravity, plyometrics and controlled instability will be absolutely necessary. There is a great article on ACL injury prevention exercises at

3) If you know your knees are vulnerable, then running may never be for you. But there is always the elliptical, the stair master, spinning, and our favorite, rebounding. Even though rebounding does involve more weight going through the joint, it is more gentle than running because the mat absorbs over 87% of the shock. Our clients and instructors who are not able to run because of knee pain can typically rebound without any pain at all.

4) With all exercises, standing or supine, make sure that your knee is tracking over the center of your foot… between the 2nd & 3rd toe. For more information, click here.

5) It is also wise to check if your femur (thigh bone) in rotating internally or externally as you bend or straighten your knees.

Some exercises that specifically target the musculature around the knee which may enhance overall knee stability. All of these exercises are either featured in one of our podcasts, our Pilates on the Go! DVD, or one of our specialty leg workouts at This list is certainly not all inclusive; it’s simply some of the exercises that popped into mind first.


Shoulder Bridge

One Leg Kick

Single Leg Stretch

Short Plank 3

Side Leg Lift Series

Standing Balance Exercises



Bend & Stretch

Standing Squats with ball against wall (reduce range if necessary)

Stretch Band

Footwork with Band

Side Lying Series

Side Lying Bend & Stretch

Kick Back



Bend & Stretch

Knee Stretches (not for knees in their vulnerable state)


Foot Press on Long Box

Standing Leg Press

Forward Step Up (harder)

Forward Step Down (even harder)


Bend & Stretch

Supine Bend & Stretch

Side Lying Side Kick Series


As we mentioned in our previous blog about the Q angle & Pilates, your Q angle will not decrease regardless of how diligent you are with your exercises. However, as an increased Q angle increases the chance of injury, these exercises, done with proper biomechanics and alignment will strengthen the muscle around the knee, creating a much more stable joint. For a visual of the Q Angle, click here. To better understand the Q Angle and how it can affect your fitness regime, click here to read on with Elizabeth Quinn’s article.


April 27, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, Postings.

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