How to Activate your VMO

When the swelling in your knee is bad -- whether it's because you injured your knee or just underwent knee surgery -- your vastus medialis oblique (VMO) muscle tends to fall asleep. This causes a whole host of complications, including pain, swelling and limited mobility. But if you can wake your VMO up soon after the incident or surgery, you can bring the swelling down, which will reduce your pain and help restore your full range of motion. 

Here's how to do it. 


1. Place a foam roller or pillow under your leg.

Pro tip: Rotate your leg out and flex your foot up. This'll make it easier to activate your VMO.

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2. Tap the muscle

This may seem silly, but it serves an important purpose. Touching the skin and muscle sends signals to the muscle to wake up. 


3. Fire the VMO

Try to contract and relax the VMO without firing any of the other heads of the quadricep, like so. 

4. Repeat!

While the knee recovers, it's liable to fall asleep again. So be sure to do this at least a few times each day until your knee is fully better.