We can’t deny that our knees are one of the most important parts of our bodies. Whether you play football, swim, do the housework or drive a car, your knees are essentially the ones bringing your forward, getting you to places and helping you get things done. Knee pains are never to be trifled with.
Muscle Groups Supporting Our Joints
As you can see from the illustration above, our knees are intricately structured with various ligaments, muscles, and bones. With ligaments, you might have heard once or twice about the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and how it has ended the careers of many sportsman and women because it is essential for normal knee function.
Just as important as our knee ligaments are the supporting muscle groups surrounding the joints. Simply by strengthening your supporting muscle groups, you’ll strengthen your knees and ligaments supported by them.
Take note that the following 8 exercises involve low impact movements and are specially chosen with the purpose of strengthening and restoring balance to the support muscle groups, resulting in strong knees with stability.
1. Seated Straight Leg Raises
Seated leg raises are one of the easiest knee strengthening exercises you can do at the comfort of your own work desk. Most importantly, it works the quadriceps which is the large front muscle of the thigh.
Step One: Sit on a chair with one leg on another
Step Two: Simply lift one leg and straighten for 5-10 seconds
Step Three: Slowly lower down your leg onto the other chair and repeat for 5 – 10 times for each leg
2. Seated Bent Leg Raise
The seated bent leg raise is similar to the seated straight leg raise but this time, bent your leg in a 45 degree angle and hold it there for about 30 seconds. Repeat for 4 repetitions for each leg. Seated bent leg raises are best for the hip flexors which is the muscle greatly involved in supporting walking, running and standing.
3. Abductor Raises
You would want to take note that this exercise has been recorded by doctors in the Journal of Romanian Sports Medicine Society to help patients with knee pains, drastically. The abductor raises is an exercise that helps strengthen your abductor muscle groups such as buttocks and lateral hip region.
Step One: Lie on side with arm supporting your head
Step Two: Straighten both legs out, you can bend lower leg slightly to support body
Step Three: Lift straightened upper leg up and hold for 5-10 seconds. Do 10-12 repetitions per leg
4. Hamstring Curls
When experiencing knee pains, you won’t quite exactly know where the pain is. Sometimes, it could even occur at the back of the knee. To reduce the pain, hamstring curls is a great exercise to keep those thighs toned and to strengthen those hamstrings.
Step One: Stand against a pole or a chair
Step Two: Lift your leg up towards your buttock, keeping your foot pointing to the ground
Step Three: Hold your foot in the position for 5 – 10 seconds
Step Four: Repeat for 15 repitions per leg
5. Step Up
The step up is an overall strengthening exercise for your entire lower body especially the supporting muscles for your knees. However, do note that if you experience discomfort during the step up exercise, lower the height of the step.
Step One: Just like climbing stairs, put one foot up the step
Step Two: Lift yourself to place the other foot up, using the foot to support yourself while lowering the other
Step Three: Repeat for 1 minute before changing to the other foot to step up first
Unlike slow jogging, spinning on a stationary bike doesn’t put much impact on your knees and it helps strengthen your ligaments and surrounding muscles around your knee.
Spin 10 minutes every day with light resistance
7. Short Arcs
Short arcs are the quintessential exercise for knee strengthening, widely used for rehabilitation after knee surgery or injury.
Step One: Lay on your back
Step Two: Place a foam roller or a ball under the knee
Step Three: Straighten your knee and hold the position for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 10 -15 times per leg
8. Seated Knee Marching
When you strengthen the muscles around your knees, you basically add more stability and mobility to your knees. With the seated knee marching exercise you can strengthen the quadriceps.
Step One: Sit on a Chair with back straight
Step Two: Lift one knee up slowly and slowly lower it
Step Three: Repeat with other knee and coninue for one minute