The Best Exercises To Strengthen And Stabilize Your Knees
If you are living with knee pain you may be thinking, Exercise is the last thing I feel like doing. However, most people with osteoarthritis of the knees can benefit from regular exercise. Having strong, flexible muscles is one of the best ways to keep knees healthy and prevent further injury. Its just a matter of learning the right exercises and performing them correctly.
Note: Prior to starting a new exercise routine always check with your Doctor or Physical Therapist to see if these exercises are appropriate for you.
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 1,291,026 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.
Exercise And Knee Pain
If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving your flexibility and range of motion.
Exercising a knee thats injured or arthritic may seem counterintuitive, but in fact, exercise is better for your knee than keeping it still. Not moving your knee can cause it to stiffen, and this may worsen the pain and make it harder to go about your daily activities.
Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. Having stronger muscles can reduce the impact and stress on your knee, and help your knee joint move more easily.
Before you start an exercise program for knee pain, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to make sure the exercises are safe for you. Depending on your situation, they may recommend some modifications.
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The Best Workout Moves To Build Strong Knees
The knee is brilliantly designed yet vulnerable. Its a hinge joint protected by cartilage and activated with muscles, tendons, and ligamentsall of which let you do things like lift hundreds of pounds, sprint hard and stop on a dime, and brace in a squat as you ski. Like all great architecture, it can deteriorate over time. But there are ways to fortify it. You need to create mobility in the muscle tissues above and below the joint, says Adam Rosante, a certified strength and nutrition coach in New York City. Strength in your glutes, hamstrings, and quads provides stability, while mobility relieves tension on the knee itself.
Knee pain can be the result of muscle imbalance, bad exercise form, and poor movement patterns, so Rosante created a workout that addresses all three. Even if your knees are in great shape, you can benefit from bolstering them, especially if youre active. Do this circuit twice a week with a warmup that focuses on ankle mobility. Jog or jump rope for a few minutes, then roll out calves and stretch the tibialis anterior for six to eight minutes total. For the weighted moves, start with body weight, then build to a 12- to 16-kg kettlebell. Complete all sets of a move before going on to the next, resting up to one minute between sets. A decade from now, your still-healthy knees will thank you.
Exercising To Strengthen Your Knees
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Lateral Single Leg Squat Hop
This last squat is the first time we start to move laterally . This places enormous strain on the stabilizers of the entire body, especially the ankle and the hips that have to absorb the landing and provide instant stability, mobility, strength and then power to jump back off the ground. Again this action is used all the time in sports and is what the athlete will use to change direction explosively. Really a combination of balance, strength, power and agility. Read our article to see more on this. A weakness in this exercise is a red flag for future injury, usually the knee, but also reduced performance. Poor timing and deceleration skills make the athlete appear slow, and vice versa if they have exceptional braking skills an athlete who is average to slow running in a straight line now is lightning fast in close contests requiring multiple change of directions for evading or chasing. All the previous exercises have culminated in developing this one, that now demands highly advanced movements, strength, posture, stability, mobility and coordination to execute perfectly.
Watch the video to see how it is performed and also how it relates to a sport like basketball.
Why Learn To Squat In The First Place
Learning to squat is actually a primitive skill you learn as a toddler, and it is where your body first finds the skill to be able to stand. Along with the lunge it is also a key essential to our ability to function in life. Without this ability we would have great difficulty in performing even the simplest everyday tasks and be reverted back to a toddler and forced to crawl! A person with limited ability to squat struggles to get out of a chair, finds getting off the floor almost impossible and will find stairs even harder. As this movement is faulty the person has no choice but to find new ways to move to pick objects up off the floor and complete many day to day tasks with compensation. Due to our sedentary lifestyle we develop tight joints, poor posture and dysfunctional movement patterns that limit our ability to squat, leading to inevitable problems at the back and the knee. In the gym environment it is great to see people using the squat, however, understanding of technique or variety of squat to use based on what your body needs is the key to getting the most out of the exercise. For if you choose the wrong version you could potentially exacerbate problems or dysfunctions speeding up the process of ending up in pain, or worse create a new problem altogether!
So where do you start?
For all clients, sports, rehab and general fitness we always follow a process called the of working in order of mobility, stability, strength and last power.
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The Smartest Moves For Knee Stability
Dr. Coleman shares exercise advice with his patients regularly, and not unlike a personalized overall treatment plan, he considers your medical history, current health, age, and other factors when he shares this knowledge.
Your knees are the largest joints in your body, and the muscles around your knee should be well-balanced and strong so too much pressure isnt put on them. Your knee ligaments, cartilage, and the meniscus all bear the brunt of it. Since your knee is a joint that moves in just one direction, building stability is critical.
For maintaining knee stability, Dr. Coleman recommends a series of easy-to-do exercises that you can perform anywhere, anytime. Theyre good for establishing and maintaining knee stability or for building it up again if youve had knee surgery.
Why Should I Strengthen My Knees
Having good knee strength and control is really important:
- For knee stability & control
- To ensure correct biomechanics in the feet, knee, hips and back
- To reduce the risk of injury
- To allow full, pain-free movement
- To ensure full function
There are so many different knee strengthening exercises out there, it can be hard to know where to start. You will find a whole range of exercises here that will work all of the different muscle groups. Pick and choose three or four exercises that feel right for you – they should be challenging but not painful.
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Changing Your Lifestyle To Strengthen Your Knees
Weak Knees Or Something Else
Knees are something most of us dont really think about until we start to have issues with them.
Since the knee joint is one of the large joints of the lower body alongside the hip joint and the ankle joint, it has to handle enormous amounts of stress and forces.
Our legs are a marvel of nature when you think about what they are capable of. The positions they can reach, the force they can produce and the endurance they can sustain when trekking long distances.
All that comes with a price. Since the muscles around the knee and hip joints are the strongest muscles in the human body, the joints have to handle huge amounts of stress.
Just like a mechanical joint, there is also a need for lubrication, otherwise, friction will lead to reduced performance and wear. And just like the mechanical joint in a machine, rust and debris can build up, causing the joint to malfunction.
These are simple metaphors of several ailments of the knee that can cause pain, lack of mobility, and severely reduced performance.
These include injuries like ruptured ligaments and torn cartilage and medical conditions like arthritis, gout, and even infections. There are many things that can go wrong within the joint, some more serious than others.
The common thing with many of these ailments is that they might not respond well to strengthening the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint. This is why its very important to get a proper diagnosis before trying to treat knee pain on your own.
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Questions Your Doctor May Ask
Your doctor will want to know as much as possible about whatâs going on with your knee. Be ready to answer questions such as:
Your answers will give your doctor clues about the cause of your pain. For instance, a popping or snapping sound may mean that you tore a ligament. If your pain is worse when you rest and your knee is stiff when you wake up, you could have a type of arthritis.
Your doctor will also ask about:
- Problems with any other joints
- Any knee injuries or surgeries youâve had
- Other health issues that might be causing the pain
A hip problem, for example, can cause you to walk awkwardly, which throws off alignment of your knees, causing pain. Also, pain from your hip can make your knee hurt.
Let your doctor know what youâve already tried to treat your knee pain, such as medicines, braces, and physical therapy.
How To Build Knee Strength
Building knee strength through various knee exercises is tolerable and safe for most people. Your doctor may even recommend some exercises to alleviate discomfort from arthritis of the knee. If you follow along with these strengthening exercises for your knees, you will be sure to be relieved.
With exercise comes stronger muscles that relieve some of the stress on the joints. These at-home knee exercises shouldn’t cause any pain. Some mild discomfort may occur when stretching, but if at any point you feel pain, exit the position carefully.
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How To Build Leg Muscle With Bad Knees: Top 7 Exercises
The muscles in your lower body should be some of the strongest ones you have since they’re tasked with supporting your entire frame every day. However, if you have one or two damaged knee joints, or general knee pain that you don’t want to exacerbate, how are you supposed to perform leg exercises to gain better strength? Never fear: it can be done, and we have the details on how to build leg muscle with bad knees right here.
Sitting Down And Standing Up
Why it works: This exercise can be done anywhere, where you have a bench or chair. This exercise is one I love because its something we do every day from sitting up from a work desk or even a couch, this exercise works a combination of muscle groups like your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes when youre sitting down, and even your core comes in to play to stabilize your body.
How to do it: Using a bench or chair, slowly come down to sitting position with your arms to your side and raising up as you sit for stability. Then, slowly stand up, squeezing your glutes when you reach the top. While coming down, its very important to focus on sitting downslowly because it allows you to focus more on the muscles being worked. You can also increase your risk of injury by speeding to the bottom of the movement. Modify the movement by finding a slightly higher bench or chair so that you don’t have to go down as low. Perform 3 sets of 15 reps of this exercise.
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Strengthen Your Knees With This 5
Think you don’t have time for a workout? Join Stephanie Mansour for a five-part series of quick strength workouts and start feeling better, five minutes at a time. This is Part V.
If you suffer from knee pain like one-quarter of adults in the United States, according to research, you may feel weak, debilitated and even worse off from being more sedentary since the pandemic. Perhaps you feel pain in your knee joints when you stand up or walk, or maybe it’s something like patellofemoral pain pain in the front of the knee and kneecap.
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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