How to Strengthen Your Knees

6 min read

As you age, your joints become more stiff and less flexible. If you’ve ever been sitting for a long time and then stand up to start walking, you’ve probably noticed that your knees may need a moment to loosen up before you can walk normally. The knees are the largest joints in the body and are incredibly complex. There are also several muscles and ligaments around your knees that make it possible to walk, go upstairs and move from side to side. 

Because of this, there are a lot of ways they can be injured or damaged over time, whether it’s from everyday activity, strenuous exercise, or an accident. It’s worth the energy to keep your knees strong to maintain a great range of motion to keep up with your daily activities and avoid pain and invasive interventions. Keep reading to find out more about how to strengthen your knees. 

Benefits of Having Strong Knees

Strong knees are less likely to sustain injury and have pain. If you keep your knees strong and healthy, you can do more activities, like walking, hiking, running, and biking. When your knees start to get weak, getting around and doing physical activity can be difficult, which diminishes your quality of life. 

Exercises to Improve Knee Strength

One of the best ways to keep your knees strong is to exercise them regularly. By keeping the muscles strong that support the joint, you’re able to help avoid injury. If you’re already hurting, it’s a good idea to talk to your chiropractor or physical therapist about what’s best for your knees, but in most cases, you’ll be encouraged to keep moving. Staying still will make your knees get stiffer and stiffer over time.

A few types of exercise that are good for strengthening your knees are low-impact or no-impact activities such as:

  • Swimming
  • Walking - be sure you wear supportive walking shoes
  • Bicycling

You can also work on strengthening the muscles in your legs with exercises such as:

Standing hamstring curls

Standing hamstring curls use your hamstring and gluteal muscles to exercise and strengthen the knees. To do this exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your feet about 1 or 2 inches apart. 
  2. Hold onto a chair, countertop, or another sturdy object for balance.
  3. Bend one leg at the knee, lifting your foot off the ground and up to your glute area until your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Keep the knee on your standing leg slightly bent to avoid over-extending the leg. 
  5. Hold your bent leg up for 5 seconds before slowly bringing it back down to the floor to meet your other leg. 
  6. Repeat on the opposite side. 

Tip: Avoid pointing or flexing the toes on the bent leg. Keep your foot in a relaxed, neutral position. 

Seated leg raises

Seated leg raises help to strengthen the quadricep muscles and improve the mobility and flexibility of the knees. To properly do this exercise:

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair with your knees bent and feet dangling above the ground. 
  2. Hold onto the sides of the chair for stability and slowly extend one leg until it is almost parallel to the floor. Try to keep your leg straight without locking the knee. 
  3. Hold this position for a short pause, then return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side. 

Wall Squats

Wall squats target the quadriceps and gluteal muscles and help to strengthen the knees. To properly do this exercise:

  1. Stand with your back, shoulders, head, and hips flat against a wall. 
  2. Step both feet away from the wall by about two feet while keeping your upper body against the wall. Your feet should be no more than hip-width apart.
  3. Slowly slide your back down the wall until you are almost in a sitting position.
  4. Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly slide back up.

Tip: Make sure that you do not squat too low since this can strain the knees. You always want your knees to be positioned behind the toes. 

Side-lying Leg Raise

Side-lying leg raises help to improve hip mobility, which takes some pressure off the knee joints to maintain strength. Follow the steps below:

  1. Start by lying on the floor on your left side. 
  2. Bend the left knee so that your left foot is behind your body.
  3. Slowly raise your right leg until it makes a 45-degree angle with the rest of your body, and keep it as straight as you can.
  4. Pause in this position and slowly lower your leg back to the starting position. 
  5. Do not lower the straight leg past the point of being parallel with the floor. 
  6. Repeat 8 to 10 times on each side. You can also add light ankle weights if desired. 

Leg lifts

Leg lifts work the quadricep and abdominal muscles. Having strong quadricep muscles helps to support healthy knees. To do this exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Lie flat on your back.
  2. Keep one leg straight and bend the other slightly while keeping both feet on the ground.
  3. Pull your abdominal muscles inward. Imagine your belly button being pulled down to the floor. 
  4. Make sure there is no space between your lower back and the floor.
  5. Slowly lift your straight leg off the floor without bending your knee. Keep your foot flexed and stop when your foot is about 10 to 12 inches off the floor. 
  6. Do not lift your leg any higher than the bent knee of your opposite leg. 
  7. Slowly lower the leg back down to the floor. Repeat two times, then switch legs.

Other Tips to Keep Knees Strong

Exercising is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your knees, but plenty of other steps can also be taken. Some additional steps you can take to strengthen your knees include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts extra pressure and stress on the knee joints, leading to injury and pain. Take steps to maintain a healthy weight, such as eating healthy and exercising.
  • Stretch often. Stretching helps to improve the flexibility and mobility of the knees by loosening tight muscles. Keeping the muscles of the knees loosened and relaxed helps to reduce pain as well.
  • Visit your chiropractor. Many people think of the chiropractor as a place for spinal adjustments and back pain. However, chiropractors can help with knee issues as well. Talk with your chiropractor about any tips they have for managing knee pain and helping keep your knees healthy.

Chiropractic Care for Healthy Knees

If you’re already experiencing knee pain, it’s time to schedule a consultation with the chiropractor. At our office in The Woodlands, Texas, we will discuss the cause of the pain, your past medical history and how long you’ve been feeling the pain. This will help them create a personalized treatment plan that can include knee traction, cold laser therapy and other treatment methods that will help relieve pain whether it’s in the muscles, ligaments, or knee joint.

If you’re not experiencing knee pain it’s a good idea to start preventive care with a chiropractor to help keep your knees strong. 

Request a consultation to discuss what may be causing the pain, or to prevent it from starting. One of our chiropractors will spend time with you to create a plan that meets your needs.



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