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6 Knee-Strengthening Exercises To Save Your Joints And Avoid Injury, As Recommended By Trainers

6 Knee-Strengthening Exercises To Save Your Joints And Avoid Injury, As Recommended By Trainers

When it comes to strengthening your body, major muscle groups such as the hamstrings, quads, chest, or core might come to mind first. But if you're rarely incorporating exercises into your exercise regimen that target strengthening your knees, you could be missing out on both comfort and convenience.

The knee is quite possibly one of the most complex joints in the human body, as Woodward Thompson, an NASM-certified instructor at Blink Fitness, points out. It has an amazing intricacy, including the structure of ligaments to it performing so many functions, such as supporting your body as you stand up.

From a fitness perspective, knee strengthening offers major benefits. Marnie Kunz, a NASM-certified trainer and USATF- and RRCA-certified run coach, suggests that the knee's capability is underrated.

Strong knees enable you to function much better in everyday activities, as well as to excel at fitness activities and sporting events, says the knee specialist, who notes that they also keep your form during physical exercises, thereby decreasing your risk of injury.

Do your knees ache during workouts?

While your knee is not a muscle, you can strengthen surrounding muscles to decrease the effect on joints. The nearby muscles include quadriceps, hamstrings, and adductors (internal thigh muscles).

The stronger the quad, hamstrings, and adductor are, the more powerful your range of movement will be during a physical exercise, and with better range of movement comes better results. Thompson says that.

First, if your fitness level requires you to participate in exercises such as a lunge or squat and you feel unstable, that is a very good indication that your knee muscles are weak. You can carry out another test by simply walking or running in place. If your gait while running or walking feels unstable, that also is a strong indictor that your surrounding knee muscles could use some strength. Kunz says that.

Kunz and Thompson introduce some of their most effective exercises for strengthening the knee, why they're useful, and exactly how to perform them. Include the walkthrough below for a knee-strengthening workout, or work the exercises into your typical workout scheme frequently.

Half Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-Up is a movement pattern that is often seen in fitness and strength training programs. It is a very versatile exercise that can be used to train multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The half Turkish get-up is a variation of the traditional Turkish get-up that is less challenging and can be used as an introduction to the full movement pattern.


Strengthening the knee entails strengthening the three main muscles that surround its joint hamstrings, quads, and adductors. With this compound move, your knee is covered for all three.

How to:

Lie with right foot bent and arm straight on the floor at a 45-degree angle from body, left leg bent, so foot is flat on the floor and left arm extended up toward the ceiling (elbow locked out), with chest facing wall and eyes on a kettlebell. Press into right arm, and eventually sit up twisting onto right forearm. Raise both arms and left leg into air, keeping right knee straight, while pressing through right palm and left foot. Return to start position in a slow manner, completing 3 sets of 10 reps.

Isometric Squat

The isometric squat is a simple, yet challenging exercise that can be done virtually anywhere. It works the entire body and can be modified to fit any fitness level. This exercise is great for toning the legs, glutes, and core.

Why: With a squat, you straighten again targeting particular muscles of your knee combined with its main three protective muscles. But Kunz points to the isometric variation of the squat, which doesn't apply pressure on knee joints, but targets other muscles.

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, gaze neutral. Push hips back as you bend your knees. Stop when thighs are almost parallel to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, keeping tension through the glutes and hamstrings. Release. Rest for 30 seconds in standing position, then repeat 2 more times.

Dumbbell Good Morning

Do you want to get a strong and defined back? The Dumbbell Good Morning is a great exercise to achieve this. It works the muscles of your back, core and legs.

The Dumbbell Good Morning can be done with either one or two weights. If you are using two weights, hold them in front of your thighs with your palms facing each other.

If you are using one weight, hold it with both hands in front of your chest with your palms facing each other.
Now, slowly bend at the waist until your torso is parallel to the floor. Keep your back flat and don't let your knees bend. Hold for a second and then slowly raise yourself back to the starting position.

Why? The ideal mornings for strengthening hamstrings, back, and core are a nice choice for strengthening these parts of your spine. It also places minimal strain on the knees.

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart while holding a pair of dumbbells above your shoulders, palms facing inward. You are now in starting position. Keeping your torso upright, slowly bend at the hips until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Pause, then slowly return to starting position. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.

Alternating Lunge with Bicep Curl

Alternating Lunge with Bicep Curl is one of the most effective exercises to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The lunge movement works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, while the bicep curl targets the biceps. This combination is a great way to achieve a total-body workout in a short amount of time.


Thompson s also recommends this quad-hamstring-adductor burner. Concentrate your focus on strengthening around your kneecap [while you do this], she emphasizes. In addition to improving your strength, this exercise will strengthen your coordination, stability, and agility.

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart; hold a dumbbell in each hand. Step forward with right foot as your left leg sinks into half-squat. Right knee should be just above right foot. At the bottom of movement, bend elbows to curl dumbbells to shoulder height. Pause, then lower your dumbbells to your thighs. Press through right foot to step back into starting position.

Side Leg Lift

Sidelift is a weightlifting exercise that targets the muscles on the outside of your thigh. It is a great exercise to add to your routine if you are looking to tone your thighs and glutes. To do sidelift, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a weight in your left hand. Keeping your core engaged, lift your left leg out to the side as high as you can. Hold for two seconds before lowering it back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times before switching legs.


Leg lifts develop your glutes, hip abductors, and outer thighs, which will assist you in stabilizing your lower body and lowering your chances of knee injury.

How to:

Lie with your right side facing the ground, toes extended and heel turned sideways. Set your left arm on the ground in front of your chest, keeping the right arm straight, and lift the left knee toward the ceiling. Lift the left leg as far as is comfortable, then lower it back down. Repeat 3 times with the right leg. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Isometric Quad Raise

The isometric quad raise is a simple exercise that can be done with little to no equipment. This exercise is great for targeting the quadriceps muscles and can be done by people of all fitness levels. The isometric quad raise can be performed in a number of ways, making it versatile and customizable to each individual’s needs.


Another high-impact, low-motion isometric exercise, these four-cable quad raises are one of Kimberly's favorites for strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee joint. This exercise strengthens the quad muscle, which runs from your pelvic bone to the top of your leg, she says. Tight, overworked, weak quads are a common cause of knee pain.

How to:

Grab a small object like a towel and place it under the ideal quad muscle just above your knee. Lie down on your back with legs straight, feet neutral, and hands to the sides. Lift your right foot as you press the right quad, using the towel or object for support. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

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