Weak in the Knees

Exercises to strengthen your leg’s knobs.

Get a little bit older or put on some extra pounds and you’ll realize that knee problems can become a daily struggle. Simple everyday movements like walking or bending can become difficult and even painful for those with weak knees. Strong knees, on the other hand, while often overlooked, make a big difference in what activities you can perform.

Prevent knee problems through weight loss, weight maintenance, and by strengthening your knee joint with the exercises listed below. And those who suffer from weak or painful knees shouldn’t shy away from these exercises. You may not believe it, but under the direction of your doctor or physical therapist, appropriate exercises can be an effective way to treat knee injury.

When the muscles surrounding the knee are strengthened through exercise, pressure and pain on the knee are relieved. Also, joints like your knee don’t have to work as hard when you have strong muscles to do the work. For optimal function of the knees, you need strong hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.
Now…to the exercises!

Squatting

Build the muscles around your knee joint with squats. This simple exercise can be done anytime, anywhere, with or without weights. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Place your arms straight in front of you, parallel to the floor and palms facedown. Keep your back straight and begin to bend your knees as if to sit in a chair. The whole time, your knees should remain above your feet so you can still see your toes. Raise back up to standing. Repeat.

Lunging

Another great exercise for strong knees is the walking lunge. Holding free weights will increase its intensity. Take a step forward with your left leg and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Your left knee and left hip should make a 90-degree angle. Stand back up straight and then take a step with your right leg and lower your body toward the ground. Keep walking forward, lunging as you go.

Extending

This exercise can be done sitting in a chair or by using the leg extension machine at the gym. It strengthens your quadriceps muscles, the large muscle on the front of your thigh. Sitting in a chair, keep one foot on the floor and lift the other up until your leg is straight in front of you. Lower it back down and then lift the other leg.

To use the leg extension machine, adjust the settings to fit your body size and add resistance if desired. Sitting on the machine, lift one leg or both until they’re straight out in front of you. Hold this position for a few seconds then bend your legs back to the starting position. Repeat.

Curling

Another knee-strengthening exercise that can be done at home or with a machine at the gym is the leg curl. It’s a great exercise to work your hamstring, the muscle on the back of your thigh. To do this exercise at home, stand and hold onto the back of a chair. Lift your left heel up toward your bottom then back to the floor. Then lift your right heel. Repeat. You can also do this movement while lying on your stomach. Lift one heel at a time, or both at the same time.

To use the leg curl machine at the gym, lie face down and place your knees in the pivot point of the machine. Adjust the ankle pad to rest above your ankles. Add resistance if desired. Perform double or single leg curls by curling your leg(s) toward your bottom and then straightening.