Knee strengthening exercises are important to build surrounding muscles like quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves to improve knee joint stability and support.
See a physician for recommendations on knee exercises specific to your condition, and if you find that a particular exercise hurts, stop and try another.
Squats strengthen your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. If your knees are unstable, stand in front of a chair while you do squats so that you can sit if you lose your balance.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. While keeping your back straight, sit back and down as far as you can comfortably go without letting your knees extend past your toes. Pause briefly and stand back up. Start with quarter or half squats and build up to full squats as you grow stronger.
2. Sit to Stand
This functional exercise is just what it sounds like: sit down slowly in a chair, then slowly rise to a standing position again.
Using a higher chair or swinging your arms will make the exercise easier. To make it harder, use a low chair, keep your arms by your sides, hold weights in your hands or rise and sit using just one leg.
Forward lunges are also a great addition to these existing knee strengthening exercises. This exercise will strengthen your thighs and hips and also improve balance.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and take a big step forward. Slowly lower your hips, bending both knees but making sure that the front knee does not go over the toes. Pause, then push up off the front heel to return to start before repeating with the other leg.
4. Straight Leg Lifts
Leg lifts strengthen your hamstrings, the muscles in the back of your thighs. As you get stronger, you can do them with ankle weights or loop a resistance band around your ankles.
Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Engage the muscles in your right thigh and slowly lift your right foot until the leg is extended straight out in front of you. Pause briefly, then slowly lower the leg. After your set, repeat the exercise on the left side.
5. Side Leg Lifts
Side leg lifts strengthen the quadriceps and inner thighs. To prepare for the exercise, lie on one side with your legs stacked on top of each other.
Flex your top foot and slowly raise the top leg, keeping it straight and strong. Raise the leg to about shoulder height, then pause briefly and slowly lower back down. After your set is complete, switch sides.
Avoid arching your lower back; instead keep your ribs relaxed and a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for several seconds, then lower down slowly. To make the exercise more difficult, lift one leg into the air to create a single-leg bridge.
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