Knee Exercises

   

Knee exercises will help if you have arthritis in your knees or other knee pain.  Knee strengthening exercises involve strengthening the muscles of the legs and hips, which help by giving the knees more support.  For best results, do these knee strengthening exercises daily.  You can start with a low number of reps and increase them as your muscles get stronger.

These exercises should not cause pain.  You should feel tension as you perform some of them, such as the quadriceps contractions and the hamstrings contractions, but if an exercise hurts, don’t do it.  Check with your doctor instead to find out what knee exercises are best for you to do.

 

You may want to warm up before doing these knee exercises by walking briskly, riding a stationary bicycle, or doing some other warm-up activity.  These are pretty tame exercises, but warming up before beginning your knee strengthening exercises will help prevent injury. 

Quadriceps (Front of Thigh) Strengthening Exercises

Quadriceps Contractions

  1. Sit in a chair, legs extended, heels on the floor.  Your knees should be straight.

  2. Tighten your thigh muscles and hold for a count of 10.

  3. Repeat these exercises 10 times.

Knee Dips

  1. Stand with your knees slightly bent and your toes pointing straight ahead.

  2. Your kneecaps should also be pointing straight ahead.

  3. Lift your left leg up and balance on your right leg leg.

  4. Slowly raise yourself up and down just a few inches.  Keep your right knee slightly flexed.

  5. Keep your knees pointed forward and stand straight; do not lean to either side.

  6. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

  7. Switch legs and repeat.

Leg Lifts

  1. Lie on your back.

  2. Bend your right knee at 90-degree angle, keeping your foot flat on floor.

  3. Keeping your left leg straight, slowly lift it to the height of the right knee.

  4. Hold for a count of 5.

  5. Repeat these knee exercises 10 times.

  6. Switch sides and repeat.

Hamstring (Back of Thigh) Strengthening Exercises

Hamstring Curls

  1. Lie on your stomach.

  2. Place your right foot onto the back of your left heel. 

  3. Slowly pull your left foot toward your buttocks, while resisting with your right leg. 

  4. Count to 10.

  5. Repeat these knee strengthening exercises 10 times.

Hamstring Contractions

  1. Sit in a chair, feet on the floor.  Don’t move your heels but pull back on them.  You will feel tightness in your hamstrings.

  2. Hold for a count of 10.

  3. Repeat these knee exercises 10 times.

Walking backwards also helps to develop your hamstring muscles. 

Hip Strengthening Exercises

Hip Abductors (Inner Thigh)

  1. Sit in a chair and put your fists between your knees.

  2. Squeeze knees together.

  3. Hold for a count of 10.

  4. Repeat these knee strengthening exercises 10 times.

Hip Abductors (Outer Thigh)

  1. Lie on the floor on your left side, shoulders and hips in a straight line.

  2. Bend left leg 90 degrees.

  3. Slowly raise your right leg about 18 inches.

  4. Hold for a count of 3, then lower leg slowly.

  5. Repeat exercise 10 times.

  6. Then switch legs and repeat 10 times with other leg.

Standing Knee Raises

  1. Hold onto the back of a chair for support.

  2. Bend your knee and lift your foot up off the floor.

  3. Do not lift your knee above your waist.

  4. Repeat exercise 10 times.

  5. Then switch legs and repeat 10 times with other leg.

Improving your balance will also help stabilize your knees.  Hold on to the back of a chair for support and balance yourself on one leg.  Stand on one leg for 60 seconds, then switch legs.  As your balance improves, use just one finger on the back of the chair for support. 

 

 

 
   
More than knee exercises on our benefits to exercise page

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