Knee pain is one of the most common ailments that people seek treatment for. Knee pain can flare up during activities and exercises like squatting or running, and unfortunately some everyday activities like walking or using stairs. Without building strength to support the knee joint, untreated pain can lead to even more problems later on.
Here are 5 exercises you can do to strengthen your knees:
1. Sit to Stand - this is a less impactful version of a squat that is easy to build upon as you get stronger.
1. Start with a chair behind you.
2. Slowly bend your knees until you feel your butt touching the chair, and sit.
3. Slowly extend the knees back up to standing.
This is one rep.
The higher the chair, the easier the exercise. Try not to use your arms to swing with any momentum, just using the strength of your legs to perform the exercise.
Perform for 10 reps 3 times.
2. Knee Extension - This is a good exercise to do right after your Sit to Stand.
1. Sit in a chair with your knees bent at 90 degrees. This is your starting position.
2. Starting with your right leg, gently extend your right leg so it goes from a 90 degree angle to being out straight.
3. Gently lower back down.
Repeat this exercise 10 times on each leg, 3 rounds.
3. Knee Flexion - Flexion of the knee is just the opposite of the previous exercise. Before, you kicked forward; now, you’re going to kick back.
1. Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hands can either be on your hips, out in front of you, or gently holding onto a chair in front of you for assisted balance.
2. Starting with with right leg, bend the knee back, as if you were trying to send your heels to reach your sits bones.
3. Gently lower back down without shifting your weight.
This is 1 rep. Repeat this exercise 10 times on each leg, 3 rounds.
4. Wall Squats - This is a great exercise to try once you feel stable with the Sit to Stands. Don’t feel intimidated by the fact that this is a squat - it is assisted and should feel good!
1. Place a stability ball between your low back and a wall. If you don’t have a stability ball, you can just use the wall. Your feet should be slightly wider than hip width apart and your hands at your sides.
2. Bend your knees and walk your feet out so that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle.
3. Keeping your back straight and your knees in line with your feet, gently extend the knees, rolling the ball up the wall.
4. Lower back down, bringing the knees to 90 degrees again.
Repeat for 10 repetitions, 3 rounds.
5. Hip Bridge - This is a great exercise to strengthen the knees, hips, glutes, and core. This exercise can gradually be made more difficult by adding resistance bands and/or weight.
1. Lay on your back with your knees bent, your heels in line with your sits bones. Place your arms on the ground next to you, palms on the ground.
2. Engage the core and press your heels into the ground, raising the hips off the floor. Your pelvis should be neutral (no arching or tucking), and your body should look like a straight line from knees to nose.
3. Hold for a moment at the top, and lower back down.
Repeat for 10 repetitions, 3 times through.
If you want the added bonus of the resistance bands, place the band around the thighs, just above the knees. Eventually you can add weight by holding a dumbbell at your hips.