Knee Strengthening Exercises – Knees are the most important joints of your body that carry your whole weight. You will be surprised to know that while walking up stairs, knees bear pressure that is four times the body weight. These are often susceptible to wear and tear with time even if you are not physically active or a sportsperson.
Unfortunately, many people neglect their knees due to which they start experiencing knee pain in later parts of their lives. In fact, knee pain is said to be the second most common pain after back pain experienced by individuals.
Hence, it is vital to keep these joints healthy and flexible. These Knee Strengthening Exercises will help you to not only strengthen your knees but also relieve pain if you have already started experiencing it.
IMPORTANT TIP: Although the following knee strengthening exercises seem easy, you still need to warm up your body. So, spend some time for a quick brisk walk, ride a stationary bike for about 5 minutes, or any other light exercise you find comfortable.
Easy Knee Strengthening Exercises
1. Marching in Place
It is an ideal knee strengthening exercise to begin your knee strengthening routine. Start with a standing position with feet under your shoulders. Raise your one leg up until your thighs are parallel to the ground and put them down gently.
Repeat this with the other leg bringing yourself into a nice marching unison. Do at least ten repetitions for one set and aim for 2-3 on in the beginning.
2. Straight Leg Raises
Sit with a straight back. You can sit against a wall to have extra support. Keep your left leg bent with the foot placed in parallel to the ground, Now slowly raise your right leg above 10-12 inches or at a height slightly stressful from the ground.
Hold the position for a while and bring it down. Repeat it for 10-12 times. Now switch the legs and repeat the same procedure.
3. Hamstring Curls
Hamstring is the muscle behind your thighs. It gives support and flexibility to your knees along with quadricep muscles located in front of thighs. You can do hamstring curls while standing with a support of waist high table or back of a chair.
Stand straight and bend your knee to lift the legs backward. Hold a chair or table in front of you for support. Do 10-12 repetitions on each leg.
4. Calf Raise
The calf muscle is situated in your lower legs in the back side just above the ankles. Strong calf muscles give extra support and a cushioning effect to knees from below. Stand with shoulder width apart and raise your heels to lift your body over toes.
Bring back the heels to ground and repeat for 8-10 times. To increase the difficulty level, you can do this exercise on stairs. Stand on stairs with your heels hanging in the air and lift them like above to raise your body on toes.
5. Side Leg Raise/Abductor Raise
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Put your right leg beneath the left one in a bent position. Raise your left leg keeping it straight in a line and hold it for few seconds. Bring it down slowly and repeat it for 5-7 times. Now switch sides and repeat it for the other leg.
Moderate Knee Strengthening Exercises
6. Glute Bridges
Glutes are the muscles running along the backside of your thighs. Lie down on your back and place your foot on the ground making an angle of about 90 degrees with knees. With feet firmly on the ground, lift your bottom in the air such that your shoulders, knees, and hips come in a straight line.
Now, while holding this position, extend your one leg with knees of both legs aligned together. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds initially and then slowly lower the legs and body. Now, repeat with the other leg and do 5-7 repetitions per side in the beginning.
Precaution: Avoid this exercise if you have back pain.
7. Quadricep Stretch
The movement of this exercise is quite similar to hamstring curls where you lift your heels backward towards buttocks. However, in this case, the target muscle is the front thigh muscles where you should feel the stretch if you do this exercise correctly.
Stand in front of a table or chair back for support. Raise your heels backward towards buttocks. Now, hold the ankles with your hand and pull them closer to the body.Keep it in this stretched position for 10-12 seconds and switch legs.
8. Hamstring Stretch
Sit with both legs together in front of you. Place your hands on either side of legs and move your body forward while sliding your hands forwards. Lean your upper body towards your knees while keeping your back straight and firmly on the floor.
You should feel the stretch behind your thighs and knees. Hold the stretch for 8-10 seconds. Repeat it on other leg and go for 8-10 repetitions on each.
9. Single-Leg Dip
Stand in between two chairs for support. Hold the chairs from either side and lower your body on one leg by slightly bending the knee. Extend your other leg in front of you as you move down. Do not over exert yourself by going too down and hold your position where you feel a minor stretch. Do 5-7 reps on each leg for two-three repetitions.
10. Prone Straight Leg Raises
Lay down on your stomach in a straight position. While keeping your back tight and holding hamstrings, lift one leg in the air. When you start feeling the stretch at the back of your thighs, hold on to that position without going any further. Now, gently bring down the leg and repeat it with the other one. Do 8-10 repetitions per leg.
Advanced Knee Strengthening Exercises
You will need a step-up bar or a stool of height less than 6 inches for this exercise. Step up the bar by placing your one feet on the stool and raise yourself to bring your other feet together with first foot on the seat.
Now, lower your first foot back to the ground followed by the other foot. Repeat this until you start getting out of breath. Increase your repetitions and number of sets with time.
12. Wall Squats
Stand with your back and buttocks against a wall. Keep your feet about 2ft. away from the wall. Now slide down your back along the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold on for few seconds and gently get back up. Remember to keep your back straight and core engaged during this exercise. Aim for 7-8 repetitions in the beginning for 2-3 sets.
13. Single-Leg Squat
This is an advanced version of single-leg dip mentioned above. You need to perform this exercise without any support. Stand straight with legs hip-width apart. Now lower your body by bending knees of one leg while extending the other leg in front of you.
Imagine sitting on a chair and try to replicate that motion during this exercise. Gently come back to original position without giving any jerk to the knee. Keep looking forwards and maintain a straight back throughout the movement.
14. Backward Stepping Lunge
Stand with shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and shoulders relaxed as you move your one leg backward while lowering the body. Your forward thighs should be parallel to the ground. Ensure that you knees do not go beyond toes. Hold the position for some time and come back to original state. Repeat with the other leg.
15. Forward Stepping Lunge
This is similar to the above but in this case you have to step forward. Move your one leg in front of you while lowering the body and bending the knees of another leg. Go forward until your knees are at right angle to toes, Remember to have relaxed shoulders and upright back all the time.
Which of the above knee strengthening exercises are your favorite? Tell us in the comments section below.
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