10 Knee-Strengthening Exercises to Add to Your Exercise Routine

Plus, why steady knees topic.

10 KneeStrengthening Exercises to Add to Your Exercise Routine

Katie Thompson

Doing knee-strengthening workout routines is doubtlessly no longer your quantity 1 priority whenever you discuss over with the gym or opinion your at-dwelling exercise routine. That it is likely you’ll have confidence that knee workout routines simplest topic whenever you happen to’re an avid marathoner or an elite athlete who’s constantly pummeling the joint. But that’s actually no longer correct: Taking the time to beef up this fundamental situation can trudge an ideal distance toward boosting general circulate capabilities and cutting back ruin possibility—for somebody.

Your knees play a pivotal characteristic in loads of day-to-day activities, whether or no longer that’s mountain climbing and descending the stairs, working to capture the bus, and even excellent walking your canine across the neighborhood. As you kill these actions, the knees (along with the toes and ankles) absorb loads of pressure, Kellen Scantlebury, DPT, CSCS, founder of Fit Club NY, tells SELF. Which means that, “or no longer it is actually fundamental that the knee and the muscles that encompass the knee are working optimally,” says Scantlebury.

For that motive, it’s a official opinion for all of us to enact knee-strengthening workout routines, whether or no longer we hold we would like them or no longer, Kate Bochnewetch, DPT, CSCS, founder of The Working DPT in Buffalo, Original York, tells SELF.

With that in tips, we tapped Bochnewetch and Scantlebury for 10 awesome knee-strengthening workout routines it is likely you’ll enact at dwelling. The consultants additionally shared intel on the splendid ways to beef up your knees and why steady knees topic in the first situation. Beneath, all you might want to learn about this spacious-fundamental joint.

What are the advantages of strengthening the muscles across the knees?

The knee recurrently follows the actions of the foot and hips, that draw points in either situation above or under the knee joint can lead to issues in the knee itself, Scantlebury explains. By strengthening all of the fundamental muscles across the knee, it is likely you’ll beef up knee stability and alignment, one draw or the other holding it from ruin, she says.

Muscle groups that provide toughen to the knee comprise the quadriceps, a community of four muscles on the front thigh that abet straighten out the knee and additionally abet in hip flexion; as smartly because the hamstrings, or the muscles on the support of your legs that contract on the identical time because the quads to give stability to your knee. Additionally, the glute muscles play a key characteristic in conserving the hips and knees aligned and controlling the knee in aspect-to-aspect actions, and your tibialis anterior (muscle on the front portion of your lower leg) and calf muscles in the support of the leg “abet toughen the knee from under the joint,” says Scantlebury. Lastly, your adductors (interior thigh muscles) are fundamental as smartly, since “these which have instability of their kneecap on the complete have weakness in the adductors or medial muscles in the thigh,” according to Scantlebury.

The general muscles talked about above have to be steady adequate to successfully stabilize the knee and buy it catch when it moves—and that’s where knee-strengthening workout routines are available.

Knee energy is necessary for general knee smartly being. And as we talked about, it’s fundamental for barely mighty everybody. But knee-strengthening workout routines for runners and other athletes whose sports comprise high-affect moves are extra serious, says Bochnewetch. Due to the these of us are asking a itsy-bitsy bit extra from their knees (and our bodies usually), it’s extra fundamental to make determined their joints are steady adequate for the initiatives at hand.

What are the splendid knee-strengthening workout routines?

Essentially the most effective knee-strengthening workout routines goal the supporting muscles of the knee, along side the quads, hamstrings and glutes, plus the muscles of the interior thighs, calves, and front of the leg. It’s especially key to hit all of the muscles of the glutes, along side the gluteus medius, a smaller butt muscle that helps your legs transfer out to the aspect (a circulate known as abduction). “It’s a extremely fundamental muscle by draw of knee smartly being because that’s the muscle that stops your knee from caving in whenever you’re doing single-leg activities,” says Bochnewetch. Yes, that draw working, walking, and stair mountain climbing.

Sadly, the glute medius tends to be barely light in the final inhabitants, says Bochnewetch, which is why you ought to positively incorporate moves that particularly goal this muscle when designing a knee-strengthening routine.

Any other tip, especially whenever you happen to’re strapped for time? Design conclude compound workout routines, love squats and lunges, which hit loads of utterly different muscle groups straight away in want to isolation moves (love donkey kicks) that highlight on excellent one muscle community. The motive: Compound workout routines present extra “bang to your buck,” says Bochnewetch, so that it is likely you’ll incorporate extra knee-energy work into your routine with out adding a total bunch past current time.

When doing knee-strengthening workout routines, make determined to exercise the theorem that of innovative overload, which is whenever you gradually and constantly develop the intensity of your routine by either adding extra weight, rising reps or weights, or cutting back your rest time. This ensures you will proceed to declare yourself and beef up your energy, says Bochnewetch.

To boot to to doing workout routines that abet beef up the knee, it’s additionally fundamental to enact moves that develop the soundness of the joint, says Scantlebury. You might perhaps well enact this by performing knee-strengthening workout routines on varied surfaces—love foam pads and BOSU balls—that throw your balance off a chunk, or adding some extra coordination challenges, love turning your head aspect to aspect while conserving a single-leg deadlift, or doing a bicep curl while conserving a lunge. (Undoubtedly, make determined you have the light version of the exercise down first sooner than you add in extras!)

Any other excellent opinion: Incorporating isometric workout routines into your routine. These are workout routines where you gather into a situation where a muscle or muscle community is engaged, and buy (hold: a static lunge, or glute bridge purchase). Centered isometric moves can beef up the tendons that join to the muscles that administration the knee, and thus minimize your possibility of points brought on by light tendons, love knee pains or tendonitis, says Scantlebury.

That stated, whenever you happen to’re buying for knee pains workout routines, it’s a official opinion to chat to a bodily therapist for individualized medical advice to your explicit declare. Obvious workout routines is also contraindicated for sure sorts of knee pains and overuse injuries, so it’s constantly a official opinion to assemble a personalized prognosis and bodily treatment treatment opinion whenever you happen to suspect you have an ruin. (Uncommon about knee stretches? Investigate cross-test these educated-counseled stretches for knee pains.)

How recurrently ought to you enact knee-strengthening workout routines?

You don’t want to suit in knee-strengthening workout routines each day in repeat to ogle outcomes. Genuinely, Bochnewetch suggests doing knee-strengthening workout routines excellent twice per week. Pencil them in alongside your current leg workout routines, or as a separate standalone routine, she says.

As a general rule of thumb, enact every exercise for 8 to 12 reps and a pair of to some sets. While you happen to’re the usage of weights, desire a weight that can enable you kill repetitions at an intensity that feels between a 6 and 8 on a agonize scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is the most demanding), Bochnewetch advises. If it’s an isometric exercise, purchase for 5 to 10 seconds, and repeat for 5 to 10 reps, says Scantlebury.

10 Knee-Strengthening Exercises

To assemble started with knee-energy work, Bochnewetch and Scantlebury suggest attempting the workout routines under. You might perhaps well take hold of two to three so that you just can add to your lower-physique routine and switch it up over the weeks to race by draw of the checklist. Or, enact 5 or six of them straight away for a total quad- and glute-focused lower-physique exercise. (While you happen to’re a beginner, take hold of excellent three to four moves for the stout exercise.)

On the opposite hand you to desire to incorporate these workout routines into your routine, make determined to enact a warm-up first so that you just don’t leap in with chilly muscles. It doesn’t have to be clarify; a straight forward 5- to 10-minute stroll will enact the trick. Or do this bodyweight routine.

Tools fundamental: A pair of dumbbells and a resistance band. If these workout routines are new to you, follow bodyweight-simplest first and work your draw up to adding resistance while you’re overjoyed with make.

  • Katie Thompson

    Single-Leg Deadlift

    • Stand along with your toes collectively, conserving a dumbbell in every hand in front of your thighs. That is the initiating situation.
    • Shift your weight to your left leg; while conserving a cramped bend to your left knee, hinge on the hips and lean forward, bringing your torso parallel to the floor as your true leg extends straight in the support of you and the weights lower toward the floor.
    • Preserve your support flat and core engaged. At the bottom of the circulate, your torso and true leg wants to be virtually parallel to the floor, with the burden about a inches off the floor. (If your hamstrings are tight, you is doubtlessly no longer ready to desire your leg as high.)
    • Keeping your core tight, push by draw of your left heel to rise up straight and pull the burden support up to the initiating situation. Bring your true leg support all of the style down to meet your left, but strive to withhold the bulk of weight to your left foot.
    • Stop there and squeeze your glutes. That’s 1 procure.
    • Attain 8–12 reps on the identical aspect, then switch aspects and repeat.

    This exercise is one amongst Scantlebury’s favorites for strengthening the muscles across the knee. It recruits all of the glute muscles, along side the oft-uncared for gluteus medius, which helps stop the knee from caving inward. Furthermore, the single-leg component provides an “inherent stability declare” for the foot, ankle, and knee joints, says Scantlebury. Beginners can enact this exercise the usage of bodyweight simplest.

    And whenever you happen to would like abet with balance, it is likely you’ll stand next to a wall and touch it evenly along with your fingertips. As you gather extra overjoyed and steady, it is likely you’ll transfer away and enact it unassisted.

  • Katie Thompson


    • Stand in front of a sturdy box or step, palms at your aspects and toes hip-width apart.
    • Step onto your box along with your left foot, then apply along with your true foot. As you step, focal point on the usage of the foot on the box to desire yourself up, somewhat than pushing off the floor along with your trailing foot. Stop for a moment when each and each toes are on top of the box, hip-width apart. 
    • With administration, return your left foot to the floor, then step your true foot to the floor to return to your initiating situation. That is 1 procure.
    • Proceed to repeat on the identical aspect for 8–12 reps, then switch aspects and enact but every other 8–12 reps.

    This compound circulate helps beef up each and each the quads and glutes, two fundamental muscle groups that toughen the knee.

  • Split Squat

    • Earn into a staggered stance with toes hip-width apart and one foot positioned loads of toes in front of the opposite, with a dumbbell in every hand.
    • Brace your core and bend each and each knees to lower your physique into a lunge (or spoil up squat) till your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Be determined to withhold your core tight, backbone straight (your torso might perhaps want to lean a chunk forward to assemble that, and that’s honest), and shoulders support (no longer hunched up or rounded forward).
    • Push by draw of the heel of your front foot as you straighten that knee and return to standing. That is 1 procure.
    • Attain 8–12 reps on the identical aspect, then switch legs and repeat.

    This single-leg squat variation, which can be a stationary lunge, is mountainous for strengthening your quads and glutes, says Bochnewetch. It additionally recruits your hip muscles for stabilization. Beginners can enact this exercise with bodyweight simplest.

  • Katie Thompson

    Eccentric Goblet Squat

    • Stand along with your toes about shoulder-width apart, toes a chunk grew to alter into out. Preserve a dumbbell at your chest, with each and each palms bright one discontinuance. That is the initiating situation.
    • Bend your knees and push your hips support as you lower into a squat. Take under consideration conserving the bulk of your weight to your heels to higher activate your glutes and hamstrings.
    • Drive by draw of your heels to return to standing and squeeze your glutes on the tip. That’s 1 procure.
    • Attain 8–12 reps.

    To develop the knee-strengthening advantages, elevate your heels on top of a weight plate or a 1-race-thick e book so that extra load is positioned on the front of your physique. This might perhaps well abet beef up the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that encompass the knee.

  • Katie Thompson

    Lateral Lunge

    • Stand along with your toes collectively, conserving a dumbbell in every hand. You might perhaps well either purchase the dumbbells racked at your shoulders (as confirmed) or down by your aspects.
    • Take a spacious step out to the true along with your true foot. Hinge forward on the hips, push your butt support, and bend your true knee to lower into a lateral lunge, conserving your left leg straight. While you happen to started with the weights by your aspects, they ought to now frame the true leg.
    • Stop for a 2d, after which push off your true foot to return to initiating situation. That is 1 procure.
    • Attain 8–12 reps on the identical aspect, then repeat on the opposite leg.

    The lateral lunge works the quadriceps muscles, outer thigh muscles, and glutes, with extra of a highlight on the glute medius than current forward or reverse lunges. It additionally affords you a pleasant interior-thigh stretch.

  • Katie Thompson

    Banded Glute Bridge

    • Lie to your support along with your palms at your aspects, knees crooked, and toes flat on the floor hip-width apart. Loop a resistance band around your thighs, excellent above your knees. That is the initiating situation.
    • Squeeze your glutes and abs, and push by draw of your heels to desire your hips about a inches off the floor till your physique kinds a straight line out of your shoulders to your knees. Preserve this case for a 2d, making determined to withhold tension in the band so your knees don’t give draw in toward every other.
    • Slowly lower your hips to return to the initiating situation. That is 1 procure.
    • Entire 8–12 reps.

    The glutes bridge targets the glute muscles. Including the resistance band makes it extra of a declare for the glute medius and other muscles on the outer hips as you put off them by draw of all of the motion; plus, this effort will purchase the knees from caving in, thereby conserving the fine muscles engaged.

  • Brianne Wills

    Lateral Leg Elevate

    • Lie on one aspect with legs out straight and stacked on top of one but every other. Prop your torso up along with your forearm (as confirmed) or rest your torso flat on the mat.
    • Design conclude your top leg toward the ceiling in a sluggish and managed circulate. Be determined to desire from the hip and butt, no longer your lower support.
    • Then, lower the leg slowly. That’s 1 procure.
    • Attain 8–12 reps, then switch aspects and repeat.

    This straight-leg exercise targets the muscles of the hips, along side the glute medius. Be determined it is likely you’ll enact sluggish, managed reps while conserving the knee fully extended, says Scantlebury. Once that feels easy, progress the transfer by adding ankle weights, he advises.

  • Squat to Lateral Leg Elevate

    • Stand along with your toes a chunk wider than hip-width apart, toes a chunk grew to alter into out, a weight in every hand on the tops of your shoulders, palms in.
    • Purchase your core and buy your chest lifted and support flat as you shift your weight into your heels, push your hips support, and bend your knees to lower into a squat.
    • Drive by draw of your heels to stand and squeeze your glutes on the tip. Then desire your true leg out to the aspect, flexing your foot and conserving your leg straight and toes forward. You might perhaps well need to set extra weight onto your left leg, but focal point on conserving your support straight and core engaged.
    • Decrease your true leg for 1 procure.
    • Attain 8–12 reps, then switch aspects and repeat.

    This mixture transfer targets loads of muscles that toughen the knee, along side the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

  • Kelsey McClellan

    Lunge Preserve

    • Birth up standing along with your toes shoulder-width apart, arms to your hips or palms clasped in front of your chest. That is the initiating situation.
    • Design conclude your true foot and step support about 2 toes, touchdown on the ball of your foot and conserving your heel off the floor. Bend each and each knees till your left quad and true shin are approximately parallel to the floor. Your torso ought to lean a chunk forward so your support is flat and no longer arched or rounded. Your left knee wants to be above your left foot and your butt and core wants to be engaged.
    • Preserve for 5–10 seconds.
    • Repeat 5–10 times.

    The lunge purchase is a mountainous isometric circulate, says Scantlebury. It’ll abet goal the muscles that administration the knee as smartly because the tendons that join to these muscles.

  • Meiko Arquillos

    Glute Bridge Preserve

    • Lie faceup along with your knees crooked, toes flat on the floor, and heels about a inches away out of your butt so that your fingertips graze your heels when arms are at your aspects.
    • Squeeze your glutes and abs and push by draw of your heels to desire your hips off the floor till your physique kinds a straight line out of your shoulders to your knees.
    • Preserve on the tip, squeezing your glutes all of the time, for 5–10 seconds.
    • Repeat 5–10 times.

    Scantlebury suggests doing this transfer with varying heel positions so that it is likely you’ll work your muscles from utterly different angles: Attain the first purchase along with your heels conclude to your butt, then toddle them out a chunk to your next purchase, then toddle them out even further to your following purchase.

    Demoing the moves above are Amanda Wheeler (GIFs 1 & 2), a certified energy and conditioning specialist and host of the Covering Ground podcast; Shauna Harrison (GIF 3), a San Francisco Bay–situation trainer, yogi, public smartly being academic, advocate, and columnist for SELF; April Nicole Henry (GIF 4), a energy athlete, mom, and better half who used to be born and raised in Original York; Cookie Janee (GIFs 5 & 8), a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Power Reserve; Grace Pulliam (GIF 6), an aerial yoga and vinyasa yoga teacher in Original York City; Helen Pries (GIF 7) a model and singer-songwriter in Original York City; Angie Coleman (Photo 9), a holistic wellness coach in Oakland serving to of us gain balance and a interior most connection to circulate; and Hejira Nitoto (Photo 10), a mom of six and a certified private trainer and smartly being apparel line proprietor basically based fully in Los Angeles.


Jenny is a Boulder, Colorado-basically based fully journalist focusing on smartly being, food, and human interest. She entered the information-making trade at age 8 when she created a canine-themed publication for native canine owners. Though The Baci Recordsdata (named after her family’s lab chow combine) didn’t live to snarl the tale sixth grade, her curiosity of of us… Be taught extra

SELF doesn’t present medical advice, prognosis, or treatment. Any information revealed on this web set or by this note is no longer intended as but every other for medical advice, and also you shouldn’t purchase any motion sooner than consulting with a healthcare educated.

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