About one-third of Americans report knee pain at some point in their life. Between 15-20% of men are affected by this problem while in women the numbers are slightly higher at 20% or more.

Here at Bright Side, your problem is our problem. So we have found some easy stretches and exercises good for your knees. All of the following exercises have been well researched and vetted but in any case consult with your doctor before doing these exercises if you have a history of knee or leg pain or surgery. Our advice is to start it slowly and build up over time.

Warm-Up

We don’t want you to hurt your knees and one of the most common reasons behind knee pain is improper technique. You can warm up by riding a stationary bike for 5 minutes. After you’re done with the bike, do some exercises to pump up your body like wall push-ups and stretching to lower your risk of injury.

1. Straight leg raises

Steps:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor.
  2. Place your feet flat on the floor then bend one of your knees while keeping the other leg straight.
  3. Raise the straight leg up to the height of the bent knee.
  4. Repeat this 10 times and do 3 sets on both legs.
  5. Does that sound easy? Try doing it without bending the knee and increasing the angle of your leg as shown in the picture. Make sure to do it slowly for better results.
  6. Doctors advise doing this exercise after knee surgery to strengthen the knees.

2. Hip raises

Steps:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor.
  2. Bend both of your knees while keeping both of your arms parallel to your body.
  3. Raise your hips while keeping your feet on the floor and make sure your hands stay in position.
  4. Hold the position for a few seconds, repeat it 10 times, and do 3 sets.
  5. This exercise is not only good for your hamstrings but also for your glutes and hips. These help you to restore knee motion and prevent further injuries.

3. Lunges

Steps:

  1. Stand straight.
  2. Step your right leg forward while keeping your left leg in the same position. Bend your right knee and keep your upper body straight. Make sure both of your hands are parallel to your body.
  3. Hold the position.
  4. Stand up to get back on the initial position and repeat with the left leg.
  5. Repeat this 10 times and do 3 sets on both legs if you’re a beginner.
  6. If you want more of a challenge, hold some light weights in both hands while doing it. But if you’re a beginner then we advise doing it without the weight. With more practice you can increase the weight day by day.
  7. This exercise helps the hip and thigh muscles. During the forward lunge the gluteus maximus works the ACL (a connection in our knees between the thigh and foot) and this exercise helps to strengthen it.

4. Wall squats

Steps:

  1. Stand with your back against a wall.
  2. Slowly bend your knees while keeping your back and pelvis against the wall.
  3. Only bend as much as your body can handle without any excess pressure on your knees.
  4. Hold it for 5-10 seconds and repeat it as many times your body can handle.
  5. The abductors (outer thigh) and adductors (inner thigh) are one of the most important groups of muscles for knee rehabilitation.

5. Calf raises

Steps:

  1. Stand straight.
  2. Slowly raise your heels as high as you can and then lower.
  3. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
  4. You can raise the intensity by doing it on a higher surface like stairs or by doing it on one leg at a time.
  5. Strengthening the hamstring and quadricep muscles that support your knees reduces the stress on the knee joint.

6. Step ups

Steps:

  1. You will need a platform for this or you can use stairs.
  2. Place one of your feet on the platform or stair.
  3. Keep your body straight while bending your knee and keep the opposite foot on the floor.
  4. It’s like stepping on a stair while keeping your pelvis straight. And also you’ll have to step it again and again.
  5. Repeat 10-20 times.
  6. We know this might be easy because everyone is accustomed to climbing stairs. And in this case, you can increase the number of reps to increase the intensity.
  7. The step ups help you to strengthen your quadriceps and hip muscles. The movement of this exercise matches up with your essential knee movements on the daily basis, so this exercise basically helps you with your daily activities.

7. Side lunges

Steps:

  1. Stand straight.
  2. Open your legs and keep them apart with a comfortable gap between them.
  3. Bend your left knee and try to squat down as much as it doesn’t affect your knees while keeping your other foot flat on the ground and maintaining the distance between your legs.
  4. Hold the position for a moment and use the same muscle groups to switch sides.
  5. Repeat it on both the legs and keep doing it as long as you feel your muscles are tight.
  6. Lunges in multiple directions can help your knees. This is why we’ve suggested more than one type of lunge exercise in this article.

Precautions:

  1. Please consult your doctor or physiotherapist if you’ve been recently had surgery.
  2. Do not do swing your body or knee to lift heavier weights or do more reps, this will only make it worse.
  3. A tightened muscle is the primary cause of injuries so make sure you feel loose by the end of your workout, if not, do some stretching at the end.
  4. The probable causes of a knee pain are being overweight or improper technique during activities.

Wasn’t that a great set of strengthening exercises? If you have weak knees try these out and don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments. Make sure you share this with people with knee problems.

Illustrated by Natalia Tylosova for Bright Side