10 Knee-Strengthening Exercises

by Gina Kelly

10 Knee-Strengthening Exercises

We use our knees to walk, run, jump, sit, stand, and climb. As a result, they are one of the easiest body parts to injure, so it’s important to keep your knee joints healthy. Luckily, there are several knee-strengthening exercises to curb pain and prevent injury. Remember to check with your doctor before performing these exercises.


Bodyweight squat

Stand up straight with your legs hip-width apart. Shift your weight to your heels. Bend at your knees as if you’re sitting in a chair while shifting your torso forward to maintain balance. Lower yourself down only until your heels slightly lift off the floor. Using your thigh muscles, lift yourself back to the starting position. Perform this exercise five to eight times.


Standing quadriceps stretch

You should feel this stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold onto a wall or chair for extra support.

Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Bend your left knee. With your left hand, grasp your left ankle and pull your heel toward your buttock. Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat two or three times. Perform this exercise on your right side.


Glute bridge

Lie on your back with your legs hip-width apart, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Keep your abdominal muscles strong. As you exhale, use your glutes to slowly lift your hips a few inches off the ground. Do not overarch your back. Inhale as you lower your hips down to the ground. Repeat this exercise eight times.


Supine hamstring stretch

Lie with your back flat against the floor with both knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Bring your right knee to your chest. Extend your right leg straight toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch behind your knee. With both hands, grab either your leg or thigh depending on your comfort level. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat two to three times. Perform this stretch on your left leg.


Stability ball hamstring curl

This exercise requires a good deal of balance, so make sure you keep your abdominals tight to maintain stability. You will need a stability or exercise ball.

Lie on the ground with your back and hips flat against the floor. Your legs should be extended straight out with your lower legs and ankles resting on the stability ball. Lift your hips and back off the floor while keeping your legs extended. Once your lower body is lifted off the ground, bend your knees and roll the ball toward your hips until your feet are flat on the ball. Move slowly back to the start position. Repeat this exercise five times.


Calf raises

You will need a chair to maintain balance.

Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Hold onto the back of a chair for support. Lift your left foot off the floor. Raise your right heel so you’re standing on your tiptoes. Lower your heel back down. Repeat two sets of 10. Perform exercise on your left leg.


Supine IT band stretch

It’s best to wear sneakers while performing this exercise.

Lie on your back with your entire body flat against the floor and your arms alongside your body. Lift your left foot and place your heel on your right toes so your feet are in one vertical line. While keeping your shoulders and neck flat on the floor, twist your hips, legs, and feet to the right. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat two to four times. Perform the exercise on the other side.


Leg extensions

Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the ground. Make sure you keep your back straight and abdominal muscles contracted. Raise your right leg until your leg is in a straight line from thigh to foot. Hold this position for five seconds. Return your leg to the starting position. Perform three sets of 10. Repeat on your left leg.


Straight-leg raises to the front

Lie on the floor with your back flat and legs extended straight. Bend your left knee so your left foot is flat on the ground. Lift your right leg to a height that feels comfortable to you. Hold for six seconds then lower your leg down. Repeat eight to 12 times. Perform this exercise on the left leg.


Straight-leg raises to the outside

Lie on your left side on the floor. You can support your head by bending your left elbow and holding your head with your left hand. Your legs should be stacked. Lift your right leg about 30 cm off the ground. Hold the lifted leg for six seconds then return to the starting position. Repeat eight to 12 times then perform the exercise on the other side.

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