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This Month In Body
  • Build Strong Knees
    Knee pain can come out of nowhere and stop you from getting anywhere. Going up and down stairs, bending your knee, and even sitting or standing can become painful overnight. To move past knee pain, you’ll want to build strong, flexible leg muscles through knee-targeted stretches and exercises. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Build Strong Knees

Protect your knees from pain and injury with these six exercises.

Knee pain can come out of nowhere and stop you from getting anywhere. Going up and down stairs, bending your knee, and even sitting or standing can become painful overnight. Whether from injury or normal wear and tear, achy or painful knees are often the result of weak or tight surrounding muscles.

To move past knee pain, you’ll want to build strong, flexible leg muscles through knee-targeted stretches and exercises.

After you get clearance from your doctor, develop a workout plan that incorporates 10 to 15 minutes a day of these six exercises that strengthen and stretch specific leg muscles.

1: Hamstring Curls (Hamstrings)

To get statrted, lie on your stomach, bend your left knee, and bring your left heel as close to your bottom as you can. Use your left hand to hold your heel in place for 20 seconds, and then switch legs. Repeat on each side three times.

This stretch can be done while standing as well. Simply hold onto a wall or chair for balance, bend your knee, and bring your heel up toward your bottom. Once in this position, use your hand to hold your heel in place for 20 seconds and switch legs.

2: Wall Sits (Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves)

Find a strong wall and stand with your back against it, feet placed shoulder-width apart. Keep your entire back, head, and hips against the wall and lower your body until your thighs are parallel or nearly parallel to the floor. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds. Rest and repeat. Wall sits work all major muscle groups in your legs, mainly your quads on the front of your thighs.

For increased strength, hold the position a little bit longer each time. Eventually, you’ll be able to perform wall sits for a minute or longer.

3: Calf Raises (Calves)

If needed, hold onto a chair or wall for balance, and slowly raise your heels off the floor as high as you can. Hold for a moment, lower back to the starting position, and repeat.

To add intensity, stand on a stair with your heels hanging off the edge or stand on one foot. Work different parts of your calf muscle by pointing your toes toward each other or by pointing your toes out to either side while you perform the exercise.

4: Knee Extensions (Quads, Hamstrings)

Sit on a table or stool so your lower legs are hanging free. Place a thin pillow under your knee to raise it slightly higher than your hip. Next, flex your foot and raise it until your leg is as close to straight out as possible. Hold this position for several seconds and slowly lower your foot. Repeat 10 times on one leg and then switch.

To increase the intensity, use light ankle weights.

5: Water Workouts (All)

The best cardio workouts for achy or painful joints are done in the water. Swimming, water aerobics, treading water, flutter kicks, or water jogging are low-impact workouts effective at strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee. Depending on what exericse you do, you can strengthen or stretch any and every leg muscle!

6: Leg Presses (Quads)

When you’re at the gym, head to the leg press machine and adjust the weight on the machine to your fitness level. Sit on the seat and place your feet firmly on the plate in front of you. Firmly press the plate forward with your feet and then disengage the safety latch on the side of the seat. Once your legs are extended (without locking your knees), slowly bend your knees to a 90-degree angle to allow the plate to come toward you. Repeat for 5 to 10 repetitions, return the plate to the starting position, and re-engage the safety latch.