Flexible, strong muscles are the best way to keep your knees healthy and prevent future injury, so even if you have some knee pain, developing an exercise routine that will strengthen the surrounding muscles can help you in more ways than one. Strengthening the muscles surrounding your knee helps to alleviate some of the stress and strain placed on the knee when performing everyday activities. Stretching can also help you build more flexibility, which can reduce tightness that is sometimes caused by strengthening the muscles through exercise.
Below are some great knee strengthening exercises to get you started.
Single Leg Dip
To perform the single leg dip, use two stable chairs to help you balance. Place one chair on each side of you and lift your right leg slightly off the ground in front of you. Stabilize yourself with your weight on the other leg, and slowly lower yourself a few inches. Hold this position for five seconds. Repeat the exercise on your other leg. Make sure that the knee of your supporting leg does not move past your toes.
Straight Leg Lift
Lay down on your back with one leg bent and the other stretched out in front of you. As you begin to lift your straight leg off the floor, tighten your thigh muscles and hold for five seconds. Slowly return your leg to the floor, then switch legs and repeat. Remember to stay relaxed during this exercise and keep your lower back on the floor.
Knee Stabilization Series
Use one chair for balance when performing this exercise. As you begin, hold onto the back of the chair for balance facing it. Using the other leg for support and balance, slightly lift one leg in the air. Move your foot in a half circle around your body until your raised foot is behind your flat foot. Slowly move it back and then return it to the floor. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Holding a chair for support, lift one leg off the ground and bring your heel towards your buttocks until your leg is parallel with the floor. Hold this position for five seconds, then switch legs and repeat. Remember to keep your legs close together while performing this exercise.
Using a platform that is about six inches off the ground, stand beside it with your feet together. Slowly place one foot on the platform and allow your other foot to loosely hang on the other side. Hold this position for five seconds. Switch to the other leg, and repeat the exercise.
Two of the best stretches to help with flexibility in the knee are the quadriceps stretch and the hamstring stretch. Using a chair for support, lift one foot and grab it with your hand to perform the quadriceps stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides and perform the stretch on your other leg. For the hamstring stretch, sit with your legs straight out and your hands on the floor. Sit up tall and then slide your hands slowly towards your ankle. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Some Tips for Beginning these Exercises
- 1. Start Slow
- 2. Be Aware of Any Pain
- 3. Avoid Overexertion
- 4. Remember to Warm Up for 5-10 Minutes Before any Exercise Routine
Be sure to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. If you would like to know more about ways to improve your overall strength and flexibility, contact our office to schedule an appointment to work with one of our Personal Trainers at Liberty Physical Therapy.