Exercises to Strengthen Your Knees

Do you struggle with daily knee aches and pains? Did you know that a simple exercise routine can alleviate some of that pain? 

Many people deal with knee pain as a result of years of wear and tear on their joints. It may seem like less activity is better for aching knees, however, simple exercises and walking can help manage these symptoms by strengthening muscles and lubricating joints. 

Why Exercise When I Ache?

Exercise improves blood flow, which helps lubricate the joints and alleviates stiffness. Strength training also ensures the muscles around your knees are strong and can adequately support the weight-bearing stress that your knees regularly endure. This includes the strength in your hips, which support and stabilize your knees. Weakness in the hips and legs will place more strain on your knees with weight-bearing activities, so it is important to perform exercises focusing on these areas. 

Simple Exercises for Your Knees

There are many options for exercises to help strengthen your knees, so we have compiled three simple but effective exercises to get you started. We recommend you build these into your routine at least three times per week to see the benefits of a consistent exercise regimen. 

1. Straight Leg Raise

Lie on your back with one leg straight and the other leg bent with the foot planted on the floor. Tighten the thigh muscle of the straight leg, locking the knee. Keeping the knee locked, lift the straight leg in the air approximately 45 degrees from the floor. Do not let your knee bend. Pause briefly at the top, then slowly lower the leg back to the floor. 


2. Clamshell

Lie on your side with your knees bent and slightly curled up toward your chest. Keeping your feet together and your hips stacked, lift your top knee up towards the ceiling. Ensure that your top hip does not roll backward as you lift your knee. Pause briefly at the top, then slowly lower the knee back to the starting position.


3. Sit to Stand

Begin by sitting on the edge of a chair. Spread your feet hip-width apart and keep your knees in line with your feet. Hinge forward at your hips, keeping your posture tall, and push up to a standing position. Stand all the way up, straightening your knees and standing tall. Return to sitting. 

We recommend aiming to complete 2 to 3 sets of each of these exercises, with each set including 10 to 15 repetitions. The goal with any strength training regimen is to feel that you have been challenged by the exercises while still maintaining control and proper technique. That said, the appropriate exercise volume will depend on your current level of fitness. You can determine where within these recommended ranges is appropriate for you, and you can continue to progress as you get stronger. 

Walking Also Improves Knee Strength

In addition to these strengthening exercises, walking is a great low-impact form of exercise to further support your knee strength that most people can do anytime. Just take a walk wherever you like! By combining walking and these three knee-strengthening exercises, you will be well on your way to stronger knees!