Your knees are vital cogs in the machinery of your body, and you rely on them more than you may realize! Despite this, so many of us are guilty of neglecting our knees or inadvertently damaging them while exercising.
Fortunately, there are several simple ways that you can support your knees. Routinely performing the exercises covered in this article will strengthen the muscular support system surrounding your knees, which will reduce the risk of injury and chronic pain.
Don’t Forget To Warm Up
Warming up is essential before any kind of exercise, especially that which involves commonly injured areas like the knees, hips, or shoulders. To get your knees and leg muscles nice and warm, you can either hop on a bicycle/stationary bike for three to five minutes, or simply take a walk around your block at a brisk pace.
Now that you’re nice and warm, you can do any—or all—of these exercises to keep your knees happy and healthy:
One of the best ways to deal with weak or sore knees is to strengthen the surrounding muscles, thereby reducing the pressure on the joint. Your glutes and hamstrings are a great place to start, and these are the muscles that this exercise targets.
- From a standing position, place your feet hip-width apart. Please ensure that your hips, knees, and feet are all facing forward. When exercising delicate areas, improper form does far more harm than good for your body.
- Grasping the kettlebell using both hands, bend your knees into a half squat. Simultaneously, bend forward and swing the kettlebell down between your legs. Make sure you bend from the hips, keeping your back straight and your eyes forward.
- Straighten your knees while thrusting your hips forward again, using the forward momentum to bring the weight back to your chest.
- If at any point your knees hurt, shake out your limbs, double-check your form, and try again. Keep your weight on your heels, your back straight, your feet hip-width apart, and facing forward.
This exercise is great if you’re battling with your knees, as there is no pressure placed on the joint. It targets your quadriceps (thigh muscles), which are part of the muscle group that supports the knee.
- Lie flat on your back (on a yoga mat or another solid but comfortable surface).
- Bend one knee at roughly a 90-degree angle, placing your foot firmly on the ground in front of it.
- Raise the other leg in front of you, keeping it completely straight. Bring it up so that the knee of the straight leg is level with the knee of the bent leg, then slowly lower it back to the ground. A single set consists of ten to fifteen repetitions.
- Always do the same number of repetitions for both legs. Balance is important!
This one also targets your glutes and hamstrings, strengthening your hips and legs. The group of muscles surrounding your pelvis play an integral role in stabilizing your knees, but they’re often neglected during workouts. The weight of the dumbbell should be heavy but comfortable.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes facing forward. Allow for a slight bend in the knee, but not too much. Hold your dumbbells overhand, one in each hand.
- Keeping your back and neck straight, bend forward at the hips while dropping the dumbbells down to just below your knee. Allow your knees to bend a little more and push out your butt while keeping your lower core and legs engaged.
- Give a slight pause when you reach the bottom, then slowly return to the first position. Give your glutes a good squeeze when you reach the top.
- Repeat these three to five times in a single set. If you’re struggling to keep your back straight, use a lighter dumbbell. Form is priority number one with this exercise.
These curls target, as you may have guessed, the hamstrings. This group of muscles and tendons provide plenty of support to the knees and should be kept strong.
- Lie face-down on a mat with your arms at your sides. Use a towel or block to support your forehead if you need to.
- Gradually raise your feet, bending at the knees, to bring them up to your butt. Try to get them as close as possible. Hold here for a few seconds, then release back to the ground.
- Once your body gets used to this exercise, try adding ankle weights to make it more challenging.
- Do ten to fifteen repetitions for a single set.
This exercise is a fantastic hip and butt activator and avoids putting pressure on your knees. Strengthening your glutes, hips, and thighs with low-impact exercises will support your knees and keep the joints healthy.
- Lie face-up on a mat. Keep your arms down at your sides and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle so that your feet rest flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
- Push down into your heels, activating your core and squeezing your glutes, lifting your hips off the ground until your torso and thighs are in a straight line.
- Give a brief pause, squeezing your glutes, then allow yourself to sink back to the ground.
- Do this for five to ten repetitions in a single set.
This one is a little more challenging, as it involves a lengthier hold. It is, however, great for your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. As it’s more taxing, you can always use it as part of a split workout program to give your body more time to recover in between.
- Stand with your back to a solid wall, roughly two feet away from it. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Lean your back against the wall and gradually bend your knees as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Keep your back and hips flat against the wall as you descend.
- Don’t bend your knees to the point where your hips are lower than them. Keep a gentle slope in your thighs and raise up a bit if your knees hurt at all.
- Hold this position for ten seconds, performing three repetitions for a single set.
Your knees do a lot for you every day. Give them the attention they need, and they’ll become more stable and strong—perfect for carrying you wherever you want to go!