Knee exercises are one of the most common types of specific workout requested of me as I work with my clients. That particular joint is a fussy one and injuries are common by the time we get to adulthood. Because of that, whether my client is a former college football player or someone finding that the joint is giving problems for an unknown reason, it’s important to know the right moves to strengthen it safely.
Using Knee Exercises to Get Stronger
According to the Mayo Clinic, the right knee exercises to strengthen and support the joint are more important than many of us realize. When those joints are weak, it can be the result of certain healthy issues, a current or past injury, or a string of other reasons. Whatever the cause, it can leave you struggling to do everyday tasks that are important to your job or even your regular daily life.
By doing the right knee exercises on a regular basis, you can bring some comfort and enjoyment back to the movements you want to make easily. Strengthening the muscles around the area will give support to the rest of the joint structure, allowing it to heal or at least taking the pressure off. This will help to improve your range of motion, make movements easier and more comfortable, and simply increase the number of things you’re capable of doing. Over time, it can even help to reduce the pain you feel when you use the joint.
The muscles you’ll want to focus on strengthening with your knee exercises include your quadriceps (quads), hamstrings and even your hip muscles. These are all muscles that surround and support the joint.
My clients are often surprised when I mention the hip muscles, but think about it, if your hips and ankles are stronger, then they don’t need to rely on the knees to take on as much of the strain of movement. When one thing is weaker, something else has to make up for it.
Strengthening Knee Exercises that Target the Right Muscles
The following are the types of knee exercises you’ll want to use to strengthen not only the immediate area around the joint, but other areas of your lower body that will help to ease the pressure directly on the joint.
1 – Straight Leg Raises
This is an exercise done lying on your back with one leg straightened (the other one is bent to make the move comfortable). It helps to strengthen your muscles and boost control you have over them.
2 – Quad Sets
These are knee exercises that are done anywhere from post surgery to athletic enhancement. These are critical moves for strengthening your knees as well as to improve the connection you have between your brain and the quadriceps, which are absolutely integral muscles to supporting the joints in your legs.
3 – Bridges
Bridges are a move that specifically target your hamstrings and glutes (hips and butt) but that are absolutely critical to supporting your knees. They provide all the surrounding support to take added pressure off the joints while strengthening them overall.
Each of these knee exercises can be done at least once per day to help strengthen the joint and support it at the same time. Don’t overdo the number of sets and reps at a single time. It’s better to do a safe number then return to it several hours later and repeat it than to overdo it in one go. You’ll build up over time. Remember that this isn’t a race. It’s what will get you back to racing again!