This video is to talk to you about, and demonstrate knee strengthening exercises for pain, particularly that you may experience after running or lifting. That or anything where there’s anything with any kind of impact that causes intense pressure down on your knee.
Just a word of caution before we start: If you feel any kind of deep pain or any kind of noise like knee popping or grinding with pain in your joint it may be a serious injury or condition. If you have any deep pain, swelling or redness, please see a physician before starting any kind of exercise to deal with it.
This article and video are for mild surface injuries or pain from minor strain or overuse. This is important and applies especially to people who are very physically active.
We’re going to talk about several exercises that will not put serious impact on the knee, but will serve to build the muscles around the kneecap.
In the video I’m wearing an ACE Knee Brace with side supports. This supports the knee joint while leaving the leg fully mobile for exercise or work.
NOTE: In this or any other article or video, you do not have to use what I’m using as far as equipment, weight type or weight amount. Use what works for you, what you can afford and what you can use most effectively to get results without injury.
The first of the knee strengthening exercises is lunges.
This exercise affects the front of the thigh and knee. These can be done with or without weights.
You can do lunges with no weight and it is a great exercise for leg development and strength. You’re putting pressure on your knee when you do them, but not at the level you do when doing squats or deadlifts. You’re putting your knee in a position where it can be strengthened without putting too much stress on it.
Doing lunges you’re just stepping out and back up in one continuous motion. Your body should be turned toward the knee that is out and positioned directly over it.
You should not be leaning significantly back or forward, but keeping your upper body erect as possible as you to step out. Leaning too far forward or back can cause injury to your back or legs.
Doing a set of lunges with weights can be done with a barbell across your shoulders or dumbbells in each hand. Dumbbells allow the greatest level of versatility as well as safety.
With dumbbells, simply pick the weights up with palms in toward the body, arms hanging down naturally to the side. They will stay in that position throughout the exercise.
If you are starting out dealing with a knee injury or weakness, it is suggested that you start out with very little or no weight. You can build the weight up as you get stronger and more mobile in your knees. Start with 8-10 repetitions with light weight, building both reps and weight as you proceed.
A good measurement is developed by first increasing repetitions before weight. Once you reach 15 repetitions it is generally time to raise the weight and lower the repetitions back down somewhat.
Leg extensions for knee strength are particularly helpful if you have pain after running.
Leg extensions are one of the most focused exercises available for isolating the muscles in the lower thigh and knee. They are particularly helpful for runners who take extended impact on their knees from pounding the pavement.
Often this results in the knee popping with pain. Using leg extensions to develop the muscles in and around the knee helps protect and cushion the knee for the natural impact of running.
Leg extensions can be done with no weight by simply sitting down on a bench or chair, feet flat on the floor.
One lower leg should be lifted straight out and lowered back to the floor in one continuous movement. Again, start with 8-10 reps working up as your progress in strength.
These, like any exercise can be done with no weight or they can be started with some ankle weights. Those can be purchased at modest weights from 1-10 pounds. They are well suited to leg extensions with no other equipment.
Finally, for leg extensions, the ultimate muscle and strength builder is a leg extension machine. This is either a stand alone device in a gym or an attachment to a home workout bench. It allows you to sit in an upright position with your legs over the edge. A pad will be placed right in your ankle joint in the front. The device you will lift with your lower leg will have weight that can be added by some means, and increased as needed.
On these machines you will perform the leg extension as described above. These devices provide the most weight and lifting opportunity for serious leg strength and development.
Don’t forget leg curls to prevent hamstring injury and pain.
Most people working their legs regularly work the front of them strenuously. The downside is often lack of hamstring (rear leg muscle) exercise to keep up with the development of the front of the legs. This often results in strenuous work on the legs being fine for the front and resulting in injury in the hamstrings.
Regularly work the hamstrings with leg curls to strengthen them so they will work as support muscles for the front of the leg. Working them keeps them from injury under strenuous work.
These knee strengthening exercises will result in good leg strength under any conditions. They will increase muscle and endurance.
That said, because this is specifically about strengthening the knees that may be injured or weakened. Because of that, heavy, knee straining exercises like squats and deadlifts are not included.
Those are specifically strength and power exercises that should be avoided if your knee is injured or otherwise damaged.