Your knees are amazing. Think about all they do for you in a day. Movements at the knee joint are essential to everyday activities including walking, running, sitting, and standing, not to mention squatting, lunging, jumping, and stepping. The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the human body. Simply put, the knee connects the top of your leg (femur bone) to the bottom of your leg (tibia bone). And if it weren’t for all those tendons and ligaments you often hear about such as your ACL, MCL, or PCL you would look like the scarecrow in the Wizard Of Oz every time you tried to take a step. Yup, your knees are amazing, but unfortunately, all of the use we put our knees through leads to a whole lot of injury. Thankfully, these lower-body exercises can help combat knee pain.
According to the American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in 2010 there were roughly 10.4 million patient visits to doctors’ offices because of common knee injuries such as fractures, dislocations, sprains, and ligament tears. A knee injury is one of the most common reasons people see their doctors. The AAOS also notes that female athletes are more prone to knee injury than their male counterparts.
So what do you do? You want to keep moving and enjoying all the things in life that are active, but you want your knees to stay healthy for the long haul. Or, more likely according to the statistics, you’re recovering from some kind of knee pain and want to get back into a regular workout routine. These 10 lower-body strengthening exercises are designed to keep your knees healthy. Do a few or do them all of them, but definitely begin to incorporate most of them into a regular workout routine. The key to knee strength, as you will see in these moves, is to strengthen the muscles that surround and protect the knee joint; namely the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and adductors (inner thighs).
Before You Begin
- The number-one secret for happy knees? Stay at a healthy weight. Every extra pound you pack on puts about four extra pounds of pressure on your knees when you walk or take the stairs!
- If your quads and/or hamstring muscles get too tight, they will pull on the knee cap where they insert and create pain. So make sure that foam rolling or using a massage stick are a part of your regular routine.
- If you are recovering from an injury or surgery, be sure to follow doctors orders or complete physical therapy exercises before graduating to these moves.