Copenhagen Exercise - Thrive Now Physiotherapy

Copenhagen Exercise

The Copenhagen Exercise

How it can be helpful to runners?

Knee pain is a common problem for runners. This knee pain maybe caused by several different reasons. Including, weak muscles or muscle imbalances. Recently there has been lots of talk and focus on the hip abductors (eg. the glutes and tensor fasciae latae) and their roll in preventing injury and improving performance. While the hip adductors have been largely ignored.

The hip adductors are responsible not only for bringing the leg towards the midline of the body but also when strong and working correctly help with hip extension and rotational power. When the hip adductors are weak it can cause pain in the low back, hip and even the knee as well as increasing the chance of injury.

Strong muscles that are well balanced are the key to performing well and preventing injury. When it comes to running the position of the hip and knee can particularly be important in preventing injury and improving performance. If the adductors and abductors of the hip are not balanced or are weak this can lead to injury.

An exercise that can help keep your adductors strong, improve performance and prevent injury is the Copenhagen exercise.

Copenhagen Exercise - FullThe Copenhagen Exercise

For this exercise you will need a chair or bench.

  • Start by laying on your side with the bench or chair near your feet.
  • Place the top leg at the ankle on to the bench.
  • Keeping the hips and core tall and tight, prop yourself up on your elbow of the lower arm.
  • Engaging your glutes lift yourself off the floor. This will look like a side plank with your upper leg on the bench.
  • Bring your lower leg up to the bottom of the chair or bench. Adducting and squeezing the bottom leg close to the bench.
  • From here you can either keep your lower leg stationary or slowly move it up and down.

While doing the Copenhagen exercise make sure you keep your shoulders down and back.

Keep core engaged and make sure you keep breathing.

If a full Copenhagen is too much that’s okay, there is a variation for every level.  You can start with a shorter leaver. To do this bring the bench or chair farther up on the leg to just below the knee. If it is still too hard move up to above the knee.

Copenhagen exercise modified 1

Copenhagen Modified #1

Copenhagen exercise modified 1

Copenhagen Modified #2

Written By:

Katie Anderson | Thrive Now Physio

Katie Anderson

Registered Kinesiologist

Clinical Exercise Physiologist


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