Forget about isolating the VMO
A lot of athletes and lifters are interested in getting that VMO to fire, especially those with patello-femoral (PF) pain. This anterior knee pain, in many cases, is due to soft-tissue imbalances between the stronger tighter lateral knee structures and the weaker inhibited medial knee structures (the VMO). This muscle imbalance leads to a lateral (outside) pulling of the patella into the femoral condyle, resulting in knee pain.The obvious solution here would be to isolate and then strengthen the VMO, but it just doesnt seem to be that easy. In fact, there doesnt appear to be any true VMO isolation exercises. Sure, terminal knee extensions (TKEs) hit the VMO, but its not isolated.In an article discussing muscular control of the patella, Malone et al. (2) flat out state, The concept of VMO isolation through specific exercise should no longer be part of our lexicon.It should be noted that each and every knee is different, requiring a specific and individualevaluation and treatment program. Im not trying to rehab people here, rather help them prevent the need for rehab. However, I just dont see the need for direct VMO isolation exercises in that treatment program, as their use hasnt been justified in research at this point in time.