Great Exercises To Strengthen Your Knees
Check out these 5 great exercises to strengthen your knees so you can enjoy your day-to-day activities with less pain, popping and stopping.
One of the best ways to develop stronger knees and ward off future injuries is to build strong, fluid and solid muscles around the knees and in your legs and core.
Strength and flexibility go hand-in-hand: a fluid muscle is a happy muscle. Knee exercises and stretches that promote both power and flexibility are of the greatest benefit. Knee strengthening exercises develop the muscles around the knee, but they can also cause the muscles to get tight, if not stretched properly. A tight muscle will constrict the knee joint and be more prone to injury. Stretching after knee strengthening exercise will alleviate muscle soreness and keep the muscles long and elastic.
Before embarking on any kind of training regimen, consulting with a certified physical therapist is a small investment that can pay huge dividends down the road. The expert advice of a trained professional, with no referral needed, can save you time, allow you to work more efficiently and guide you toward the best exercises for your own unique situation.
Exercises For Knee Arthritis
If you have knee arthritis, you might be worried that exercises will make the condition worse. After all, knee arthritis usually is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Doesnt that mean more wear and tear from exercise will make the condition worse? The answer is, it depends on the exercise. Many knee exercises for arthritis can actually help decrease symptoms and improve joint health by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joint.
/75 Exercises You Must Perform To Strengthen Your Knees
Whether you are a kid or a grown-up, having strong knees are important at every stage of life. Our knees carry our entire body weight while standing, running and performing other activities. A weak knee increases the risk of fall and injury. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the knees will support your knees and reduce stress on the joints. It will also help the joints to absorb shock and restore range of motion. Working on your knee muscles isn’t a tedious task. You just have to perform a few simple exercises to make your joints and muscles around it stronger.
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Getting Up From A Chair Without Help
- Sit on a chair with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, legs slightly apart.
- Cross your arms in front of your chest and slightly lean your upper body forward.
- Now slowly stand up and sit back down without using your arms.
- Repeat for a minute, then take a quick break and try to keep doing the exercise for a bit longer.
Over time, you can do more and more repeats. The lower the chair, the harder the exercise. Its best to place the chair against a wall to make sure that it stays in place.
Standing up and sitting down
Based On The Cause Of Your Pain
The best type of movement for you depends on the source of your pain. For example, if your knee pain is caused by inflammation, like with osteoarthritis, water aerobics and yoga are especially good choices, Woods says. Being in the water reduces the impact on the knee joint, she says. Yoga provides stretching and bodyweight strength exercises, which can benefit the knees and overall well-being. Check out more tips for exercising with arthritis.
If your pain is the result of an acute injury, Woods recommends strength training and balance exercises to assist with strengthening the knees after rehab. Access to a gym and the use of the weight machines are helpful, she says. However, bodyweight squats and straight leg raises are good options that can be done at home. Talk to your doctor about your recovery plan and how you can exercise safely.
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Changing Your Lifestyle To Strengthen Your Knees
Best Knee Strengthening Exercises For Seniors
If you are looking for the best knee strengthening exercises for seniors, I hope the exercises in this post will prove beneficial for you.
You might have noticed that your knees dont feel as strong and secure as they used to in your youth. You might even be suffering from acute or chronic knee pain when walking or doing activities.
The good news is that you can do a lot to improve the strength of the muscles and ligaments around your knee joint.
The bad news is that any kind of knee pain can be a symptom of something else than simple muscle weakness, so you definitely need to get a diagnosis before starting a knee strengthening routine is you have any kind of significant knee pain.
Otherwise, you run the risk of making things worse, increasing inflammation and pain in your knees. So always consult a medical professional as the first step to improve your knee health.
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How Can I Make My Knees Stronger Exercise
Workouts for bad knees generally focus on several goals:
- To make the joint more flexible
- To stabilize the joint
- To strengthen knee ligaments, muscles, and tendons that control joint movement
- To decrease inflammation and pain
- To reduce the risk of future injuries and falls
If youve got weak knees, here are four knee strengthening exercises you can do starting today to keep your knees healthy.
1. Straight leg lifts
Most people with weak knees also have weak quadriceps . Straight leg lifts help tone those quads, and the exercise is simple to do. Lying flat on your back, bend one knee and put that foot flat on the floor. Keep the other leg straight. Raise the straight leg to the height of the bent knee and hold it for a few seconds. Then gently lower and repeat 10 times on each side. Aim for three sets.
2. Backwards leg lifts
These lifts are similar to the lifts just described, but this time, you lie on your tummy and both legs are straight. To do this exercise, contract the muscles in your butt and one leg and raise that leg toward the ceiling. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your leg to the floor. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
3. Calf raises
For this, you need a chair or other surface to hold onto and support yourself. Slowly raise your feet up onto your toes so your heels are off the floor. Raise as high as you can, hold for a few seconds, then lower yourself back to the starting position. Once again, aim for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
What Causes Weak Knees
The quads and, most importantly, the vastus medialis obliques , are the muscles that run along the front and side of the leg and attach to the knee.
These are super important for keeping the knee straight and absorbing shock from running and other weight-bearing activities. A weakness here will lead to an unstable knee and increased pressure on the knee joint a big ouch factor!
When it comes to exercises to strengthen knees, working the quads and VMO are key.
While you might be shaking your head and thinking, What does my butt have to do with my knees? the importance of the glute-knee connection may surprise you.
You see, the glute muscles are key players in hip adduction and abduction . Since they create this movement, theyre also able to resist it when necessary. Say, for example, when youre jogging the last thing you want is your hips and knees rotating the wrong way at the wrong time.
This is exactly what happens when you have weak glutes. And most of us have weak glutes because we sit so much and dont activate our glutes properly.
As a result, our knees are not supported by the glute muscles during exercise, which can lead to improper foot landing and rotations. In turn, you get a ton of shock and pressure on your knee joints instead of your glute muscles, where it could be absorbed efficiently.
Lesson: give your booty the attention it deserves!
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Do Endurance Sports Help Too
Most studies looked at training programs to strengthen muscles. But theres also some that endurance exercises such as brisk walking can help. The same is true of tai chi. Endurance sports like cycling also strengthen muscles to some degree.
To improve endurance, its best to choose low-impact sports with smooth motion sequences that move the joints but don’t stress them like walking, cycling, swimming, and aqua aerobics. Sports where the joints have to absorb a lot of weight and impact, like jogging, tennis, or soccer, are usually not recommended.
You can also combine different types of exercise. Its then probably best to do the different exercises on different days: for example, do strength and mobility exercises two days a week, and walk or cycle for 30 minutes on two other days of the week.
How Do I Start Exercising
Your doctor or physical therapist will tell you which exercises are right for you.
Start slowly. Building muscle strength takes time. As you get stronger, gradually increase the number of exercise repetitions or add weight to an exercise.
Do not ignore pain. You should not feel serious pain during an exercise. You might feel discomfort because you are challenging your muscles, but not pain. If an exercise hurts, stop the exercise.
Do not overdo it. You should not feel serious pain after exercise. It is typical to feel stiff or a bit sore the day after you exercise. If you feel so sore that it is difficult to move, then you have overdone your exercise. Rest is the best thing for your sore muscles.
Ask questions. Talk to your doctor or therapist if you have any pain or are unsure of how many exercises to do, or how often to do them.
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What Else Can I Do
If you’re overweight, losing weight can take some strain off your joints. In studies, losing more than 5% of the starting weight improved mobility and relieved joint pain. Losing weight and keeping it off requires motivation and weeks or months of patience. But various programs can help.
It is also recommended that you wear well-fitting shoes with shock-absorbing soles. Shoes should support the arch of your foot and leave enough space for your toes. Tight shoes and high heels aren’t suitable. Theres no proof that special pain relief shoes have any benefits.
W Sit And Hurdler Stretch
W sitting is normally seen in children, but has also been adopted by athletes to stretch hip rotators and quadriceps, Ebner says. The hurdler stretch is a similar stretch focusing on one leg at a time. Both stretches are bad because of the large amounts of torque applied to the knee, hip, and ankle.
Fix it: Find stretches for all fitness levels on the SilverSneakers GO app . Like a stretch? You can save it to your favorites.
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Best Exercises For Stronger Knees
For stronger knees now and in the future, consider these exercises (recommended by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel.
Football season is here, and that means soon, the sports news will be full of stories of athletes with blown knees. Its true, football puts a lot of stress and strain on the knees, mostly from running and pivoting. But you dont need to be a pro athlete to have pain and stiffness in your knees. In fact, even sedentary people can wind up with knee pain. Like a lot of joint pain, sometimes all it takes is getting older to trigger discomfort when you bend or straighten your knees.
How Can I Strengthen Cartilage
Cartilage is the part of the knee that protects the joints from rubbing against each other. It is the flexible structure that cushions your joints.
Just like the other parts of your knee, it can become damaged in several ways, one of the most common being the meniscus tear.
This is the largest piece of cartilage and is attached to the ligaments. You can also wear away the cartilage in your knee which is one of the issues associated with osteoarthritis.
You can not directly strengthen the knee, however, there are some exercises that have been proven to help to improve your range of motion and strength.
In some cases, surgery may be needed but this should be seen as the last resort.
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Know When To See Your Doctor
While many conditions that cause knee pain can be helped by exercise, in some instances it may not be appropriate, says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. You should stop exercising and see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
What Can You Do For The Pain
Your plan will depend on your specific injury. Mild to moderate issues will often get better on their own. To speed the healing, you can:
- Rest your knee. Take a few days off from intense activity.
- Ice it to curb pain and swelling. Do it for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. Keep doing it for 2 to 3 days or until the pain is gone.
- Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to wrap the joint. It will keep down swelling or add support.
- Elevate your knee with a pillow under your heel when you’re sitting or lying down to cut down on swelling.
- Take anti-inflammatorymedications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help with pain and swelling. Follow the instructions on the label. These drugs can have side effects, so you should only use them now and then unless your doctor says otherwise.
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them. You may want to do physical therapy, too.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you still have pain after 2 weeks of home treatment, if the knee becomes warm, or if you have fever along with a painful, swollen knee.
Some people with knee pain need more help. For instance, if you have bursitis, your doctor may need to draw out extra fluid from the bursa in your knee. If you have arthritis, you may need an occasional corticosteroid shot to settle down inflammation. And if you have a torn ligament or certain knee injuries, you may need surgery.
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Conditioning Your Knees With Cardio
Tip: You need 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise each week to maintain good health. You can break up the minutes however you like, but 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week is a great option.
How To Strengthen Your Knees
This article was co-authored by Monica Morris. Monica Morris is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With over 15 years of fitness training experience, Monica started her own physical training practice and gained her ACE Certification in 2017. Her workouts emphasize proper warm-ups, cool-downs, and stretching techniques.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 12 testimonials and 97% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,295,117 times.
Its important to keep your knees strong and healthy so that your mobility doesnt deteriorate as you grow older. We often take the health of our knees for granted, not noticing theres a problem until everyday activities like lifting boxes or walking downhill become painful. Take the following measures to strengthen your knees and ensure youll stay active for as long as possible.
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Knee Strengthening Exercises That Prevent Injury
According to the results of a 2011 Gallup poll, more than 25 percent of Americans deal with chronic knee or leg pain. Common causes of pain include previous injury, muscle imbalance, overuse, underuse or limited mobility. Individual cases vary, but strengthening exercises can often alleviate or even cure knee pain.
General knee strengthening exercises build surrounding muscles like quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus and calves to improve joint stability and support. See a physician for recommendations on knee exercises specific to your condition, and if you find that a particular exercise hurts, stop and try another. Aim for three sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise.
Squats strengthen your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. If your knees are unstable, stand in front of a chair while you do squats so that you can sit if you lose your balance.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. While keeping your back straight, sit back and down as far as you can comfortably go without letting your knees extend past your toes. Pause briefly and stand back up. Start with quarter or half squats and build up to full squats as you grow stronger.
2. Sit to Stand
This functional exercise is just what it sounds like: sit down slowly in a chair, then slowly rise to a standing position again.
Forward lunges is also a great addition to these existing knee strengthening exercises. This exercise will strengthen your thighs and hips and also improve balance.