If you struggle with weak knees, it’s likely affecting your day to day life. The knee is the largest joint in the body and is used for activities like walking, running and jumping. This makes it prone to injury and pain. Knee strengthening exercises strengthen the muscle surrounding the knee joint. Strong muscles in the legs can also provide support to the knees. This support can alleviate pressure and strain on these joints, which can in turn relieve pain and allow you to live a more active lifestyle. Check out these 7 knee strengthening exercises you can do absolutely anywhere!
What Causes Weak Knees?
Weak knees can result from a number of different things. Many cases of knee instability are caused by injuries, either by high-impact activities or an accident. Knee injuries often cause pain and swelling in the affected knee. Nerve damage can also cause weakness in your knees and lead to symptoms such as pain, tingling and numbness. Nerve damage typically occurs due to arthritis, certain medications, heavy alcohol consumption or injuries.
Another cause of weak knees is arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation in your joints and weak knees are a common symptom of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. While rheumatoid arthritis usually affects both knees, you may only have osteoporosis in one. Inactivity can also be the source of weak knees. If you don’t consciously work to strengthen your knees, the muscles around your knees will weaken and they’ll be less able to bear your weight, which can lead to greater joint pain. Reduced strength in the knee joint also results in reduced stability, which can increase your risk for accidents and make exercise more difficult to do safely.
7 Symptoms of Weak Knees
1. Swelling and stiffness of the knee
3. Burning sensation
4. Feelings of instability and weakness
5. Popping noises when the knee joint is bent
6. Inability to straighten the knee
7. Difficulty moving from a seated to standing position
3 Tips to Prevent Weak Knees
1. Stay Active
Staying active is one of the best ways to strengthen your knees and help you steer clear of injuries. If you have arthritis, staying active is a good way to ensure it doesn’t get worse. Physical activity also helps with weight loss. Weight gain is common as you get older and more weight increases the pressure on your knees. Choose low impact exercises such as cycling and swimming to protect the cartilage in your knees and focus on strengthening your lower and upper leg muscles with exercises that target your hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus muscles and hip flexors.
2. Stretch Your Leg Muscles
It’s important to stretch your leg muscles when you work them to support your full range of motion. This can help prevent injury from exercise and everyday movements. Yoga is an amazing workout to incorporate into your routine. It stretches and strengthens your muscles so it really offers the best of both worlds.
3. Maintain Good Posture
People tend to slouch more as they get older, and if you sit at a desk all day, it’s easy to forget good posture. The problem is, poor posture changes your body’s centre of gravity, placing added stress on your knees and hips. Good posture entails standing tall with your head in line with your shoulders, your shoulders directly over your hips, your hips aligned with your knees and your knees aligned with your feet. Pilates, yoga and core strengthening exercises can help you maintain proper posture.
7 Knee Strengthening Exercises
Squats strengthen your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings so your knee joint is protected. To do squats, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and while keeping your back straight, sit back and down as far as you can go without letting your knees bend past your toes. Pause briefly and stand back up. Repeat.
2. Single-Leg Knee Dip
You’ll need 2 high-back, stable chairs for this exercise. Place one on either side of you with the chair backs next to your arms. Place a hand on the back of each chair for balance. Lift your right leg about 12 inches from the ground, keeping your back and upper body straight. Slowly bend down a few inches, pushing weight onto the heel of your supporting leg. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds and slowly straighten up. Repeat and switch sides.
3. Hip Bridge
The hip bridge encourages good alignment, stability and strength. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your core muscles, press into your heels and lift your hips off the floor. Don’t arch your lower back- keep your ribs relaxed and in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for several seconds then lower down slowly. Repeat.
4. Leg Lifts
Lie down on the floor flat on your back. Keep the left leg straight and bend the right leg slightly at the knee, bringing the foot closer to the body. Engage your abdominal muscles so that your lower back stays flat against the floor. Slowly lift the left leg without bending the knee. Keep the toes pointed towards the ceiling and stop when the leg is about 12 inches off the ground. Hold the leg for 5 seconds then slowly lower back to the ground. Repeat then switch sides.
5. Side Leg Lifts
Begin by lying on one side with your legs out straight and stacked on top of each other. Flex your top foot, and slowly raise your top leg, keeping it strong. Raise it to about shoulder height, then pause briefly and slowly lower it down. Repeat then switch sides to raise the other leg.
6. Wall Squats
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your head, back and hips against the wall. You should be standing about 2-4 inches away from the wall while keeping your back and shoulders against it. Slowly bend your knees and glide down the wall, just before you reach a sitting position. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds then slowly come up. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged and avoid bringing the knees forward over the toes.
7. Calf Raises
Calf raises promote balance and stability. If you’re not able to keep your balance, place your hands on the wall or the back of a chair for support. Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart and slowly transfer your weight to your toes, lifting your heels off the ground. Pause before slowly lowering back down. As you get stronger, you can increase the difficulty level by holding dumbbells in each hand.
If you’re looking to strengthen your knees, try out these awesome exercises to prevent injury and ensure your knees are strong and steady.