If you're not sure what knee valgus is, please refer to the photo below. Even if you were not born with knee valgus - chances are that you can greatly benefit from these corrective exercises if you workout without a trainer (or if you have a bad trainer...)
There are many exercises such as squats, deadlifts, etc. that I see many of my clients let there knees fall together. This could be because of muscle imbalance or overall lower body weakness; Which means that it can be corrected!! Great News!
Before you start correctives, start by taking a look at the exercises you are doing currently. Check the mirror and make sure that your toes are pointed straight forward or slightly outward and that your knees stay over your toes.
Using a hip circle (small loop resistance band) will help keep the right muscles (abductors) activated and strengthen them during your normal squat routine; but they can also be used for the following corrective exercises:
1. Goblet Squat with Hip Abduction:
Holding a squat will help train good mechanics for lifting, jumping, and keeping your major muscle groups active while targeting the muscles groups that strengthen the outer hips/ thighs. With toes pointed slightly outward hold a squat and move one leg away from the other 10 times; repeat with the other leg before returning to a standing position. (No additional weight or resistance band required- just recommended).
2. Banded Clam Shells:
Lie on your side. Keeping your ankles together, pull your knees apart without turning your hips; repeat on the other side for 10 reps. (resistance band recommended just above the knee).
3. Seated Hip Flexion + Lateral Rotation:
Keep your back posture upright, while activating the quads and abductors. Start with legs straight and toes pointed up. Lift one leg up off the floor, rotate the toes out as you set it back down, then return to start position.
4. Malasana (or Garland Pose):
This yoga pose teaches ankle dorsiflexion and stretches your back. Ankle mobility can be a direct cause of knee valgus so neglecting this awesome stretch would be a mistake. If you are unable to keep a flat back and keep your heels down on the floor you can elevate your heels by putting a board or barbell plates underneath them, keeping your toes on the floor.
If you or someone you know struggles with knee valgus or imbalance, please share this with them! It is critical to fix these types of imbalances, especially in youth athletes to reduce risk of injury and form proper mechanics while they learn new skills.