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Knee Strengthening Exercises

Exercises > Strength (Joints) > Knee Strengthening Exercises

 

The following knee strengthening exercises are designed to improve strength of the muscles of the knee. You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Begin with the basic knee strengthening exercises. Once these are too easy, they can be replaced with the intermediate knee exercises and eventually, the advanced exercises.


Knee Strengthening Basic Exercises

To begin with, the following basic knee strengthening exercises should be performed approximately 10 times, 3 times daily. As your knee strength improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions and strength of contraction provided they do not cause or increase pain.

Static Inner Quadriceps Contraction 

Tighten the muscle at the front of your thigh (quadriceps) by pushing your knee down into a towel (figure 1). Put your fingers on your inner quadriceps (VMO - vastus medialis obliquus) to feel the muscle tighten during contraction. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times as hard as possible pain free.

Knee Exercises - Static Inner Quadriceps Contraction

Figure 1 Static Inner Quadriceps Contraction

Quads Over Fulcrum 

Begin this exercise lying on your back with a rolled towel or foam roll under your knee and your knee relaxed (figure 2). Slowly straighten your knee as far as possible tightening the front of your thigh (quadriceps). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times as hard as possible pain free.

Knee Exercises - Quads Over Fulcrum

Figure 2 Quads Over Fulcrum

Static Hamstring Contraction 

Begin this exercise in sitting with your knee bent to about 45 degrees (figure 3). Press your heel into the floor tightening the back of your thigh (hamstrings). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times as hard as possible pain free.

Knee Exercises - Static Hamstring Contraction

Figure 3 Static Hamstring Contraction


Knee Strengthening Intermediate Exercises

The following intermediate knee strengthening exercises should generally be performed 1 - 3 times per week provided they do not cause or increase pain. Ideally they should not be performed on consecutive days, to allow muscle recovery. As your knee strength improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions, number of sets or resistance of the exercises provided they do not cause or increase pain. 

Resistance Band Knee Extension in Sitting 

Begin this exercise in sitting with your knee bent and a resistance band tied around your ankle as shown (figure 4). Keeping your back straight, slowly straighten your knee tightening the front of your thigh (quadriceps). Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided it is pain free.

Knee Exercises - Resistance Band Knee Extension in Sitting

Figure 4 Resistance Band Knee Extension in Sitting

Resistance Band Hamstring Curl

Begin this exercise lying on your stomach with a resistance band tied around your ankle as shown (figure 5). Slowly bend your knee tightening the back of your thigh (hamstrings). Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.

Knee Exercises - Resistance Band Hamstring Curl

Figure 5 Resistance Band Hamstring Curl

Squat with Swiss Ball 

Begin this exercise in standing with your feet shoulder width apart, your feet facing forwards and a Swiss ball placed between a wall and your lower back (figure 6). Slowly perform a squat, keeping your back straight. Your knees should be in line with your middle toes and should not move forward past your toes. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.

Knee Exercises - Squat with Swiss Ball

Figure 6 Squat with Swiss Ball


More Intermediate Exercises

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Knee Strengthening Advanced Exercises

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Physiotherapy Products for Knee Exercises & Rehabilitation

 

Physiotherapy Products for Knee Exercises & Rehabilitation

 

To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with knee exercises or rehabilitation click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.


More Exercises

 

  More Exercises

 

 

Balance exercises are an important component of knee rehabilitation and strengthening.


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  Find a Physio

 

 

Find a physiotherapist in your local area who can assist with knee strengthening exercises and knee rehabilitation.


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Knee strengthening exercises are a vital component in the rehabilitation of most knee injuries and can help to restore strength, improve function and enhance activity tolerance following injury. Knee exercises can also be performed proactively to prevent injury and enhance activity or sporting performance.


 

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