Terminal Knee Extensions

Terminal knee extensions are a big part of traditional rehab programs, especially post-op. While they have their benefits, there is one thing about these types of exercises that I don’t like:

They reinforce a movement that I spend most of my time trying to help clients unlearn!

They encourage the knee to snap back early, which is something that I try to stop from happening with my players and clients. I explain my reasoning behind this in much more detail in the video above, and show you (what I think) is a much better way to perform this exercise.

I have no problem with knee extension, but in gait I want to to be the last thing to occur. More often than not, I see this movement happen too early with my clients, which leads to more work being done at the knee than the hip.

I prefer my clients to do more work at the hip, and to achieve hip extension before first before full knee extension. I find that this is a big problem with most lower limb injuries – the inability to co-contract the gastroc and hamstrings with the quad.

I’ve written about the importance of this co-contraction in a previous blog post.

Watch the video above and let me know what you think about terminal knee extension after watching!


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About The Author

Dave O'Sullivan

Dave O’Sullivan, Chartered Physiotherapist with a master’s in Strength and Conditioning, worked as a sports physio for the Wallabies Rugby Union team (2023 World Cup), England Rugby Union (2019 World Cup) and England Rugby League (2017 World Cup). He built a leading clinic in Huddersfield, UK, and developed a unique step-by-step approach with his own sporting and non sporting patients.

Dave now teaches his methods globally and has helped over 1,000 physiotherapists and other health professionals, giving them confidence and clarity to help patients who have failed traditional approaches.