10 Basic Knee Strengthening Exercises
1. Straight Leg Lifts: help to strengthen the quadriceps muscles (at the front of the thigh). o Instructions: Start in a seated position on a flat surface. Begin by tightening the quad and then being to lift leg 6-12 inches off the surface with toes pointed upwards.
2. Wall Sits: work to strengthen quadriceps and hamstring muscles. These muscles help to manage runner acceleration and jumping ability. The hamstring muscle helps to support and stabilize both the hip and knee joints. o Instructions: Place back against wall and bend knees to a 30 to 90 degree angle (degree varies based on pain/ range of motion). Keep feet parallel to shoulders width, and ensure knees never flex past toes. Hold sit for short period of time (30 seconds to a minute)
3. Ankle Pumps with Resistance: help to reduce swelling and circulate blood to the knee joint. o Instructions: While sitting, place a Theraband or resistant band on the ball of the foot. Begin to pump ankle against band with leg in a straight position, tighten all muscles with each pump. (Hold each pump for 30 seconds)
4. Short-Arc Knee Extensions: helps to reduces knee swelling and builds quad strength o Instructions: Begin by utilizing a foam roller or several rolled up towels under the knee. Lay upright on a flat surface with one knee elevated by the roll and the other knee in a bent/upright position. Help to tighten quadriceps and hold position for a few seconds before lowering foot to the surface.
5. Abductor Raise: strengthens muscles outside the thigh. o Instructions: Lay down on side with leg on the floor in the bent position while the other leg remains straight. Lift top leg for 5-10 seconds then lower. (utilize ankle weights to increase intensity of the exercise)
6. Double Leg Calf Raises: strengthens calf muscles o Instru