4 Essential Exercises for People with Bad Knees

A lot of people avoid any specific exercise regimen because they have “bad knees.” What this means is weak, unstable knees — the kind that would benefit from the right type of exercise. What they turn into is an excuse to be physically inactive. Don’t let your knees hold you back from enjoying your life! Try these 4 exercises to help strengthen weak knees and keep you happy and moving smoothly as you age.

Partial Squats. If you have bad knees, you may want to steer clear of deep squats. Poor form and muscular imbalance can make this movement risky. However, a partial squat can strengthen your knees. Keep your knees over or behind your toes and your belly button pulling in and up towards your spine. For good measure, place a chair beneath you and pretend like you’re going to sit down — but don’t. This will keep you from descending into your squat too far. Do 8-12 reps, 2-3 sets.

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Side Leg Lifts. Instead of lunges, which can hurt the knees if improper form is used, try side leg lifts. Lie on your side with your legs and hips stacked on top of one another. Prop your bottom arm up to support your head. Keep your waist off the ground, belly button gently pulled inward. Keep both feet flexed and slowly raise the top leg without moving other parts of your body (it should be around shoulder height). You should feel your outer glutes engage — these muscles help to stabilize your thigh and knee and are often tight and underused. Do 8-12 reps, 2-3 sets. A light ankle weight can be used as you improve.

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Inner Thigh Leg Lifts
. Lying on your back, keep one knee propped and bent to stabilize you. The other should be extended along the ground, foot flexed and slightly turned out so that your toes would be pointing at about 1 o’clock on a clock face. Slowly lift your leg, reaching away from your body with the heel and keeping your belly button engaged. Lift only as high as your opposite knee, hold for 3 counts and slowly lower. Do 12-15 reps, 2-3 sets each side. A light ankle weight can be used as you improve.

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Slow Step-Ups. Position yourself in front of a 6-8 inch step. Place your right foot on the step and step up using only your right leg, keeping your belly engaged. You should feel the effort in your glutes and inner thighs. Try to keep your working knee from wobbling side to side while stepping up. Raise and lower back to starting position. Make sure your kneecap stays over your toes, and move slowly to really build up strength in your stabilizers. Do 8-10 reps, 2-3 sets on each leg.

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Additionally, make sure to stretch your hamstrings, calves, and thighs to assure full knee mobility, strength and proper muscle function. Remember: a tight muscle is generally a weak muscle, so keep those little guys loose. Otherwise, there’s no need for weak knees to keep you from doing the activities you love. Consult a trainer for proper form, and within a few weeks your knees could be stronger than ever!

Related:
4 Ways to Fit Fitness into Your Already Busy Life
Is Honey Better for You Than Sugar?
6 Surprising Myths About Obesity

235 comments

Aaron F
Aaron F7 days ago

My therapist has me doing these every day (torn cruciates and meniscus)...

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Mary T
Mary T13 days ago

thanks for sharing these tips

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S13 days ago

Thanks

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Paola S
Paola S14 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Vincent T
Vincent T15 days ago

Thank you

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Toni W
Toni W15 days ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W15 days ago

TYFS

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I22 days ago

Good advice! Thanks for posting.

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Greta H
Greta H25 days ago

thank you

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I28 days ago

Thanks for sharing these great tips!

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