Patellar tendon pain (tendinopathy) is one of the most common injuries suffered by people who work out in the gym. Patellar tendinopathy can be characterized as pain just below the kneecap that manifests during jumping and landing.
Eccentric exercises are often prescribed as rehabilitation due to the effects of tendon remodelling. Typically, the Single-Leg Decline Squat is the first exercise prescribed for patients with patellar tendinopathy. However, in my experience, not all eccentric knee exercises are created equal; and due to the high stress it places on the knee, the SLDS seems to cause more pain, especially when eccentric exercises have not been used previously. This is very problematic for competitive athletes who compete every week or endure high training loads in advance of upcoming competitions.
Cue the Drop Lunge Knee Eccentric
Based on my experience, this exercise is less stressful on the patellar tendon, and its impact component makes it more applicable to athletes who play sports that involve some sort of lower-body impact (e.g., running, weightlifting).
Three sets of 10 reps per leg is a good place to start. Use an aerobic step to start with or something of similar height. Gradually work your way to a higher step. Do this every day either before and/or after your training. If you experience any pain while performing the exercise, that is fine and very normal. If the pain is too severe, warm your knee up first before doing this exercise.
Rio, E., Kidgell, D., Purdam, C., Gaida, J., Lorimer Moseley, G., Pearce, A., Cook, J., “Isometric exercise induces analgesia and reduces inhibition in patellar tendinopathy.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2015. 49: p. 1277-1283.