Five of the best knee strengthening exercises to reduce pain, increase strength, and improve mobility. Knee strengthening workouts are a great way to improve the health and functionality of your knees. Whether you’re recovering from a knee injury, looking to improve athletic performance, or want to reduce future risk of injury, these knee strengthening exercises at home are an excellent addition to your fitness routine.
Build stronger, more resilient knees with these knee strengthening exercises.
This knee strengthening workout is designed to both strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint (including the quadriceps muscles, glute muscles, calf muscles and hamstring muscles) as well as increase flexibility and mobility around the knee and ankle joints.
Whether you’re recovering from an injury, are a runner who suffers from knee pain, or just want to proactively protect your knees, these five exercises are beneficial to add to your fitness routine.
I started adding these exercises to my training routine following a torn meniscus injury and meniscus surgery. I worked with a physical therapist in person and also followed the “Knees Over Toes” exercise program (Athletic Truths Group) and found both extremely helpful.
The best way to strengthen the knees is a combination of building muscle around the knee joint and increasing joint mobility. This is commonly done through extension exercises (kicking the leg out) and flexion exercises (bending the knee).
Step downs, glute bridges, calf raises and tibialis raises are some of the best knee exercises. These exercises strengthen the leg muscles, thigh muscles, calf muscles, and hip muscles surrounding the ankle and knee joints.
Walking is a low impact exercise that strengthens the muscles surrounding the knees without excessive impact. Walking backwards is even more beneficial for strengthening the knees and can help relieve pain surrounding the knees.
Strengthening the muscles around your knees can help reduce the risk of injuries such as sprains, strains and tears.
The five best exercises to build strong knees at home. These exercises combine bodyweight strength knee exercises with functional knee stretches to prevent injury and reduce knee pain.
No Equipment Needed (Bodyweight Only). Option to add a chair/countertop to hold on to for balance support.
Follow along with the guided Knee Rehab Workout video on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren.
Your Workout Looks Like This:
Purpose: Walking backwards strengthens the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscle, or the teardrop shaped muscle on the inside of your quad (front of thigh). This fast-twitch muscle helps move the knee joint and stabilizes the kneecap.
Purpose: Tib raises strengthen the tibialis anterior muscle, or muscle along the front of the shin (lower leg). This is the primary shock absorber of the knee, and strengthening this muscle can help protect both the knees and ankles.
Purpose: This variation of a standard calf raise both strengthens the calf muscles (muscles along the back of your lower legs) and improves ankle mobility. Increasing the flexion (pushing knees over toes) is a functional training movement. This exercise supports your knees, ankles and achilles through acceleration/deceleration movements and shock absorption from impact.
Modification: If the knees over toes position isn’t comfortable, perform standard calf raises.
Purpose: Step downs increase knee range of motion and strengthen the VMO (vastus medialis oblique) muscle. The VMO is the first of your quad muscles to contract when the knee is under load – which means that strengthening it is beneficial for protecting knees from impact.
Purpose: Glute bridges strengthen the muscles that are important for knee stability, and can be performed without putting excessive stress on the knee joint. Glute bridges strengthen behind the knees, which is important for preventing knee injury.
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