12 VMO Exercises To Strengthen Your knee

This blog post covers 12 best VMO Exercises that will help strengthen your knee.

The Vastus Medialis Oblique (or VMO for short) is a muscle which is involved with extension of the knee, knee stability and optimal tracking of the patella (knee cap).


Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) Strengthening Exercises

The following exercises have been arranged in order from least to most difficult.

Note: You may need to focus on the easier exercises before progressing to the more difficult ones.

(Keep in mind: It is not possible to completely isolate the VMO contraction without engaging the other thigh muscles. The main aim with the exercises is to strengthen the knee in general.)

1. VMO Activation

READ THIS: This is the most important VMO exercise that you will NEED to know how to perform.

It is essential that you can ACTIVATE and FEEL the VMO muscle engage.

This contraction will need to be engaged with every exercise mentioned on this blog post.

(In my opinion – failure to effectively engage the VMO with the exercises will result in sub-optimal results.)

VMO exercises

Instructions:

  • Lie down on the floor.
  • Place a foam roller underneath your ankle.
  • Allow your leg to roll outwards so that your foot and knee are pointing slightly outwards.
  • Push your knee downwards as hard as you can comfortably tolerate.
  • Aim to feel a firm contraction in the VMO muscle in the lower/inner thigh region.
  • Place your hand on top of VMO muscle and feel the for the contraction.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

2. Knee Push Down (Sitting)

Vastus Medialis Olbique exercise

Instructions:

  • Sit down on the edge of a chair.
  • Straighten your leg in front of you.
  • Point your knee and foot outwards.
  • Place your heel on floor.
  • Push your knee downwards as hard as you can comfortably tolerate.
  • Aim to feel a firm contraction in the VMO muscle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

3. Straight Leg Raise

VMO activation Straight Leg Raise

Instructions:

  • Lie down on the floor.
  • Push your knee downwards.
  • Keep your knee completely locked straight throughout this exercise.
  • Pivot your leg slightly outwards.
  • Aim to feel a firm contraction in the VMO muscle.
  • Lift your leg slightly.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Progression: Add an ankle weight.

Note: It is important that you keep the leg completely locked straight throughout this exercise. If you can not keep your leg straight, it is likely that you’ll need to persist with the previous 2 exercises first to build more strength.

4. Terminal Knee Extension

terminal knee extension

Instructions:

  • Lie down on the floor.
  • Place a foam roller underneath your knee.
  • Pivot your leg outwards.
  • Push your knee down onto the foam roller.
  • Whilst keeping the downward pressure onto the foam roller, lift your foot off the floor.
  • Aim to feel a firm contraction in the VMO muscle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Progression: Add an ankle weight.

5. Modified Plank

plank vmo exercise

Instructions:

  • Assume the position as shown above
  • Lock your knee straight.
  • Aim to feel a firm contraction in the VMO muscle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Progression: Perform this exercise on one leg only.

6. Squat with Ball Squeeze

vmo squat exercise

Instructions:

  • Stand up right with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place a ball between your knees.
  • Squeeze the ball with your inner knees throughout this exercises.
  • Perform a squat.
  • Aim to feel a firm contraction in the VMO muscle throughout the exercise.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Progression: Hold onto weights.

7. Knee Extension Against Resistance Band

single leg standing knee extension with band resistance

Instructions:

  • Wrap a resistance band around the back of your knee.
  • Anchor the other end of the resistance band in front of you at knee height.
  • Step backwards to create a firm amount of tension onto the band.
  • Hold onto something for balance.
  • Raise your other leg in the air.
  • Straighten your leg against the resistance of the band.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the thigh muscle.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

More Advanced VMO Exercises

It is a good idea to engage the VMO in different knee positions.

8. Forward Lunge

support wall plunge

Instructions:

  • Place your foot onto a step.
  • Have both of your hands supported onto a wall that is in front of you.
  • For the leg on the step, keep the knee in line with your toes throughout this exercise.
  • Lunge forwards.
    • Move your knee forwards as much as you can without allowing for the knees to click.
  • Provide as much support from your hands as required.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Progression:
    • Allow the knee to move more forwards.
    • Gradually reduce the amount of support being provided by your arms.

9. Single Leg Mini Squat

Instructions:

  • Stand up right.
  • Hold onto something for balance.
  • Stand on one leg.
  • Perform a mini squat.
  • Aim to feel a firm contraction in the VMO muscle.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Progression: Hold onto weights.

10. Backwards Walking

Instructions:

  • Walk backwards up a slight incline.
  • Make sure that you can feel the contraction in the VMO.
  • Continue for 60 seconds.
  • Progression: Hold onto weights.

11. Step Up

vmo step up exercise

Instructions:

  • Place your foot onto a step.
  • Shift your body weight onto the foot.
  • Without using momentum, step up onto the step.
  • Straighten your leg completely.
  • Feel the contraction in your thigh muscles.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • (If required – You can hold onto something for balance.)

12. Step Down

step down

Instructions:

  • Stand on top of a step.
  • Hold onto a stationary object for support.
  • For the leg that is on the step, keep the knee in line with your toes throughout this exercise.
  • Slowly reach your other foot down to the floor.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Progression:
    • Perform the exercise slower.
    • Use a higher step.
    • Use less arm support.

Conclusion

The Vastus Medialis Oblique (or VMO short) is an important muscle of the knee which is involved with stability, strength and control.

This blog post contains 12 different VMO Exercises that will help strengthen your knee.

You do not need to do them all. Focus on the exercises that give you the best results.


What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me:

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3. Start doing the exercises!


Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. Seek guidance from a healthcare professional before attempting any exercise. For more informationMedical Disclaimer.

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