Knee Strengthening Exercises to Try at Home
The largest joint in the body is the knee, joining the upper leg and lower and allowing us to walk, sit, stand and run. However, with more mobility comes more risk of injury.
Over time, as your knees absorb impact and strain, they suffer from overuse and naturally weaken. Mechanical problems, such as loose fragments of cartilage and muscle imbalance, and injuries like torn ligaments and sprains also result in weakened knees.
To keep yourself spry as you age, it’s best to start knee-strengthening exercises as soon as possible. Luckily, most of them are easy and doable at home. Below, we share the best exercises to strengthen your knees, whether you're a powerlifter, cross-country runner or simply an active individual.
Standing Hamstring Curls
The hamstrings are muscles that run along the back of your thigh. Strong hamstrings can withstand the impact of normal leg exertions and help stabilize your knees. This is why this part of your thigh needs to be exercised.
Standing hamstring curls are easy to do. Simply stand straight with the knees about two inches apart and slowly bend the leg at the knee behind your body. Imagine walking but with your leg lifting and curling high toward your buttocks instead of stepping forward.
Keep your leg bent for up to five seconds while keeping your thighs aligned, then slowly lower it to the floor. Repeat the process using your other leg and do it for about two minutes at a time.
Step exercises are mainly for cardio, but they're also a great strength training option. Apart from helping you lose weight, which reduces the strain on your knees, step exercises tone your quadriceps and hamstrings, helping them support your knees.
You can use any sturdy stool no taller than six inches or the bottom step of stairs if you have any at home. Step onto the platform with one foot, allowing the other foot to hang behind without touching the stool or step.
Lean your weight on the foot that’s on the platform for about five seconds, then step back down, hanging foot first. Repeat the process using your other leg.
You can take this exercise to the next level by doing a knee raise. The process is the same, but instead of letting one foot hang, you bring that leg’s knee up as high as you can while the other foot is planted on the raised platform.
The single-leg dip or single-leg squat tones the legs, strengthens the core muscles, and increases flexibility. But it's also ideal for strengthening the knees, ankle, and hip joints.
To do this, grab two high-backed, stable chairs and place them on either side of your body with the back of the chairs next to your arms. Place your hands on the backs for balance, then lift one leg about 12 inches from the ground.
Slowly bend down a few inches and hold the position for five seconds before slowly straightening back up. Repeat the process using the other leg and alternate between the two.
Exercise in Style
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