The knee is the largest joint in the body that we use everyday to run, walk, jog, jump and climb. Because we rely heavily on our knees, they can be very prone to injury, especially as we age. Keep reading to learn different knee strengthening exercises to help keep your knees strong to avoid injury.
The Many Benefits of Knee Strengthening Exercises
Knee strengthening exercises do not affect the knee joint directly—instead, they target the muscles surrounding the knee which help to support the knee joint. Strong muscles in the legs can help provide support for the knees. This support may alleviate pressure and strain on joints, enabling a person with joint pain to be more active in their everyday life.
The following exercises can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. If at any point you experience pain during an exercise, stop what you are doing and consult a doctor.
Remember that is is always best to warm up before trying out a new knee exercise. Try out something that is easy on the knees, like going for a walk, cycling, or using an elliptical machine to warm up!
1. Single leg lifts
1. Lie down with your back on the floor using a yoga mat, folded blanket, or exercise mat.
2. Keep the left leg straight and bend the right leg slightly at the knee, bringing the foot closer to the body.
3. Pull the abdominal muscles inward by imagining the belly button pulling down toward the floor. Doing this should bring the lower back down against the floor and help provide extra support during the exercise. Place a hand beneath the lower back to make sure that there is no space between the small of the back and the floor. If there is space for the hand, gently push the lower back down on top of the hand.
4. Slowly lift the left leg without bending the knee. Keep the toes pointed toward the ceiling and stop when the leg is about 12 inches off the floor. It should not be higher than the bent knee on the right leg.
5. Hold the left leg up for 5 seconds.
6. Slowly lower the leg back down to the floor. Do not put it down too quickly or let it drop.
7. Repeat two more times with the same leg.
8. Switch sides and repeat.
2. Standing hamstring curls
1. Stand straight with the knees only 1–2 inches apart. Hold on to a stable chair, the countertop, or another object for balance.
2. Slowly bend one knee behind the body, lifting the heel off the floor while keeping the thighs aligned. Continue to lift the heel in a smooth motion until the knee bend reaches a 90-degree angle. Keep the straight leg slightly bent to avoid locking it.
3. Hold the bent leg up for 5 seconds and then slowly lower it to the floor.
4. Repeat two more times with the same leg.
5. Switch sides and repeat.
3. Step exercises
1. Use a large, sturdy stool or exercise platform no taller than 6 inches.
2. Step up onto the stool with the right foot and allow the left foot to follow behind. The left foot should not be on the stool but should hang behind it.
3. Keep the body weight on the right foot and hold for up to 5 seconds.
4. Slowly lower the left foot down and then follow it with the right foot.
5. Switch legs, stepping up with the left foot first.
5. Wall squats
1.Stand with the head, shoulders, back, and hips flat against a wall.
2. Step both feet out about 24 inches away from the wall, while keeping the back and shoulders against it. Keep the feet no more than hip width apart.
3. Slide the back down the wall slowly until the body is just above a normal sitting position.
4. Hold for 5 seconds and then slide back up.
5. Post exercise stretching
1. Hold on to the back of a chair or put one hand on a wall for balance.
2. Lift one foot behind the body and grab the ankle with the hand.
3. Keep the back straight and the knees close together.
4. Pull the heel close to the buttocks without forcing it or causing pain.
5. Hold for up to 30 seconds and then slowly lower the leg.
6. Switch sides and repeat.
How do you keep your knees strong? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in our Facebook community!
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