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How to Strengthen the Muscles Around your Knee | by Kristina DeMatas

How to Strengthen the Muscles Around your Knee | by Kristina DeMatas

April 28th

Our knees do a lot for us - from everyday activities like walking up and downhill, to bending to move items or taking stairs - and we can often take their health for granted until activity becomes painful.  Stretching is one of the important type of exercise to promote mobility and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.


Strong muscles surrounding your knee are better able to stabilize your knee joint and absorb shock during weight-bearing activities, such as standing and walking. Maintaining the health of a stable, supported joint through strengthening exercises will prevent less unnecessary friction and wear and tear. You can start with something as basic as a hamstring stretch with exercise bands and move to a more advanced leg raise. 


Home exercise is an effective therapy to strengthen the knee.

Here are a few effective and simple knee strengthening exercises you can do in the comfort of your home that will strengthen your knee and prevent knee pain in the future. Before starting any new exercise routine, you should seek medical advice, or chat to a physical therapist. 


Quad Sets

Muscles around your knee joint are important to prevent knee pain. Building your thigh muscles helps your knee stabilize and function overall. 


- Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, back straight against a wall or flat surface.

-Tighten the thigh muscles of one leg by pressing your leg down into the floor and forcing the back of your knee flat. Keep your leg straight. 

-Hold for at least 80 seconds and repeat on the other side.

-Perform at least five reps per leg.

Floor Quad Extensions (Straight Leg Raises)

This exercise adds more thigh and knee strengthening further from Quad Sets by incorporating leg raises.


-Lie comfortably on the floor at a 45-degree angle, propping your upper body up with your elbows behind you.

-Slowly lift one leg and bend your leg slightly at the knee towards your chest to take the pressure off of your lower back.

-Extend your leg straight, toes pointed towards the ceiling.

-Hold for three seconds and repeat the motion 10 times.

-Slowly lower your leg to the ground and swap legs, repeating the move on the other side.

Back Lunges

Backward moving or ‘reverse lunges’ are a lower impact alternative to forward lunges and can be more gentle if you already have knee pain.


-Stand upright with hands at your hips, or gently placed behind your neck for balance.

-Take a step backward with one foot.

-Lower your upper body so that your back foot forms a right-angle with the floor, knee touching the ground, with toe to the ground and heel to the ceiling.

-Slowly rise up and bring both the left leg and right leg together in the original starting position.

-Alternate the movement with each leg to perform 20 reps.

-As you get stronger, you could add weights to hold at your sides. 

Stand on One Foot Exercise

Knee exercises don’t have to reinvent the wheel: you can do this exercise pretty much anywhere with a flat surface to improve your balance.

-Stand shoulder-width apart to start, holding onto a sturdy chair or hand against a wall to balance.

-With one foot planted to the floor and keeping a straight leg, raise the other foot off the floor.

-Hold the foot off of the ground for up to 10 seconds.

-Repeat 10-15 times and then repeat with the other leg.


Strengthening the muscles around your knee for better knee function doesn’t have to be difficult. You can incorporate a few stretches in your morning routine, a few exercises at lunch time and a few more at the end of the day to ensure you consistently build the mobility structure that enables you to do so much in your daily life. If you’re looking for more knee strengthening exercises, these 17 are a roundup of some of the best and most effective that I recommend for rehab and maintenance.