A new study has found that women with weaker thigh muscles are at greater risk of developing knee osteoarthritis than those with stronger thigh muscles.
According to this Fox News article, women with weaker quads were 47% more likely to develop knee arthritis, whilst women with weaker hamstrings were 41% more likely to develop knee arthritis, based on the MRI data of 186 adults with knee osteoarthritis and 186 without the condition.
Of course obesity also plays a part, but even after taking this into consideration, women with weaker quad muscles were 33% more likely to develop knee arthritis, whilst women with weaker hamstrings were 28% were likely to suffer from this condition.
Interestingly, there was no link between weak thigh muscles and knee osteoarthritis found in men, but the results of this study would suggest that women should definitely consider doing some leg workouts in the gym if they want to help reduce the chance of developing knee problems in the future.
To help strengthen the knee extensors at the front of the legs, ie the quadriceps, there are a range of different exercises that can be performed in the gym.
The squat is arguably the number one exercise for building stronger quads, and has the added benefit of working many other muscle groups at the same time, such as your glutes, for example.
However the leg press machine will also strengthen your quads as well, as will walking lunges with a barbell or a set of dumbbells.
Finally, you can also do leg extensions if you really want to isolate the quads because this is another exercise that is extremely effective.
If you want to strengthen your hamstrings, then you should definitely do prone leg curls because this exercise is one of the most effective for isolating the knee flexor muscles on the back of the legs.
However any variation of the deadlift (standard, Romanian, one legged, etc) will also strengthen your hamstrings in addition to strengthening your back.
The point is that with the results of this latest study suggesting that women can reduce their chances of developing knee osteoarthritis by strengthening their quads and hamstrings, it is well worth doing some of these exercises.
You don’t necessarily need to train them two or three times a week. Once a week should be more than sufficient to increase the overall strength in your upper legs and reduce the chances of suffering from this painful condition later on in life.