As one of the largest joints in the body, your knees are not only heavily used, but are also unfortunately susceptible to pain, injury and stress. However, there are a few key exercises that you can comfortably complete to both alleviate knee pain and strengthen your knees to prevent future pain or injury.
All you’ll need is a chair and a few metres of space to move around in – here are five exercises perfect for relieving and protecting your knees.
Calf raises help to strengthen the back of your lower legs. To begin, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart; holding a chair to support you if needed. Then, lift both of your heels off the ground and slowly lower your heels back to starting positioning. Control is really important with calf raises, so take your time and find your balance.
Squats have potential to damage knees – so a half squat is a great way to practice this range of motion without straining your knees. To do a half squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your hips and slowly squat down to your ‘halfway’ squat point. Pause for a few seconds, then push back up to standing through your heels.
Using your own body weight, sit tall in a chair and extend one leg at a time; lifting it as high as possible without raising your buttocks off of the chair. Ensure your feet are hip-width apart, and only do as many reps as are comfortable.
Standing hamstring curls
Use this exercise to target your hamstrings and glute muscles. To start, stand straight and slowly bend one knee behind your body, using a chair or countertop for balance if you need. Lift your heel off the floor until your knee reaches a 90-degree angle, hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower it to the floor. Repeat on the other leg.
Prone leg raises
This exercise will help strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. For this exercise, lay on your stomach, rest your head on your arms and let your legs relax behind you. Then, engage your glute muscles and lift one leg as high as you can without causing any pain. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower your leg and repeat on the other side. Be sure to keep your hips square to the floor throughout this exercise.
This exercise will target your quadriceps. Lie on your back on the floor, with both legs relaxed on the ground. Then, bend one knee, keep the other straight, and slowly lift the straight leg up for 5 seconds, then lower for 5 seconds. While doing this one, pull your abdominal muscles inward and ensure your lower back is against the floor the entire time.