TKE Exercise with Heels Down: Gym Shorts (How To)

New to the TKE exercise with heels down or terminal knee extension or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

TKE Exercise Correct Form

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps

  • Set Up
    • Band sits in knee crease
    • Leg looped into band
    • Wear long pants or use a towel to prvent band pulling on skin
    • Move bank so band is tight
  • End position
    • Knee bent
    • Opposite leg straight
    • Heel stays on ground
    • Hold
  • Start position
    • Knee fully extended
    • Leg straight
  • Movement
    • Slow & controlled movement
    • Keep weight on your stationary leg

What Is the TKE Exercise & Why Do It?

Most people perform this exercise for prehab or rehab purposes, stressing the final portion of the knee extension range of motion (hence the name terminal knee extension).

The quadriceps muscles contribute to knee extension. These include the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris.

Though these muscles extend the knee, these muscles will not be heavily stressed from this exercise. Rather, the terminal knee extension is typically performed during the warm up to pump blood into the knee and surrounding tissue. Alternatively, licensed physical therapists prescribe this as part of a rehabilitation program.

This version, as opposed to the variation where the heel comes up off the ground, prevents plantarflexion of the ankle, removing the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) from the movement.

Programming the Terminal Knee Extension

Lifters of any advancement perform this as needed, typically if knee pain is common during squats or other exercises.

Perform these at the beginning of the workout. You may conduct these after an easy general warm up, such as a brisk walk around the block.

Execute for 2-5 sets of 15 to 20 reps. Because this is meant to strengthen the muscles around the joint and pump blood into the knee and surrounding tissue, this is performed for higher reps.

Click HERE to read about knee pain while squatting and watch HERE to bust the myth that squats are bad for your knees.

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