Mini squats are early knee rehabilitation exercises to improve muscle strength, stimulate the VMO and achieve some range of motion of the knee.
Stand, facing forwards with hands on a firm surface, and the feet a little apart. Slowly begin a squat, pushing out the buttocks as if about to sit.
Continue the squat until the knees are at 45 degrees, hold 10 seconds and straighten up again. Repeat several times.
The quads and VMO
The quadriceps or lap muscles are important stabilisers of the knee, straightening the knee when they contract. Part of the quads is the VMO, which is particularly sensitive to knee injury, becoming inhibited and weak. Mini squats can help to strengthen the VMO.
Activation of the VMO and VL during dynamic mini-squat exercises with and without isometric hip adduction.. Earl JE, Schmitz RJ, Arnold BL. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2001 Dec;11(6):381-6.