Fitness Tips

Knee-Strengthening Exercises

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If you’ve had knee injuries or knee surgeries, check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. And always warm up before exercising. These 10 exercises will help reduce knee pain by building stronger legs. Try three sets of 10 repetitions for each leg. No gym equipment needed!
  • Hamstring Curls: Stand in front of a chair for balance and bend the right knee. Bring your foot up behind you, like you’re trying to kick your butt, and then slowly lower it. You can add intensity with a resistance band or ankle weights. Repeat with the opposite leg.
  • Inner Thigh Squeeze: Sit straight in a chair with a ball (volleyball sized) or rolled up towel between your knees. Squeeze and release.
  • Knee Lifts: Stand next to a wall or chair and loop a resistance band around your ankles. Lift one knee as high as you can, while keeping your back straight, and then lower.
  • Lunge Stretch: Stand with your right foot forward and your left foot back as though you have just taken a huge stride forward. With your feet in that position, bend your knees and press your hips straightforward until you feel a stretch in your left thigh and hip flexor. Hold for 30 seconds, reverse your legs and repeat the stretch.
  • Push Step: Stand with your left side next to a stair and place the left foot on the step. Push into the step to lift up a few inches and lower back down. Repeat this push step quickly for 30-60 seconds and then reverse your direction and the leg.
  • Seated Hamstring Stretch: Sit on a step and stretch one leg out while keeping the other foot on the floor. Bend forward, keeping your torso upright, until you feel the stretch in the back of the leg that is on the step. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat for three sets.
  • Side Leg Lifts: Stand next to a chair or wall for support with a resistance band around your ankles. With your foot flexed, extend the outside leg straight out to the side. Try not to tilt toward the wall or chair and keep your hips perpendicular to the wall. Face the other direction and repeat with the opposite leg. Ankle weights will work for resistance if you don’t have an exercise band.
  • Standing Calf Stretch: Like the lunge stretch, stand as though you’ve taken a huge step forward. Bend the front knee only, and lean forward until your back calf feels the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, switch directions and repeat for the other calf.
  • Straight Leg Raise: Sit on the floor with your back straight. Bend one knee and wrap your arms around it. Extend the opposite leg straight out with your foot flexed, and lift. Your leg might not go very high, but that’s OK. Make sure you use your core to keep your back straight. Reverse your legs and repeat.
  • Wall Sit: Stand against a wall and slide down as low as you can while sliding your feet out. The goal is to reach a seated position, without a chair. Make sure your knees stay behind your toes and don’t go any lower than a 90 degree angle. Hold for as long as you can, rest, and then repeat three times.