8 best knee strengthening exercises

It is important to have strong knees whether you’re an active sportsman, an office worker, or a blue-collar employee. The knee joint is the largest joint in the body, and it is used every day as you walk, run, jump, or even stand.

Best knee strengthening exercises video

Because of its frequent use, the knee is prone to injury and pain, and this pain makes it difficult for you to perform daily activities.

There are different knee strengthening exercises that you can do on your own to reduce knee pain. These routines toughen the muscles around the knee which support the joint, help to relieve pain, and help you become more active.

This article explores eight helpful knee strengthening exercises, with steps to doing them. These exercises don’t require any special equipment and can all be done from the comfort of your home.

Knee pain: what causes it?

Several things can cause knee pain, but according to a 2015 report published in the journal Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, most cases are work-related or stem from previous injuries.

According to the report, symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the end product of a molecular process that begins after certain stimuli and eventually leads to irreversible articular cartilage harm.

While there are many causes of knee OA, the study indicates that two have received a lot of attention in recent years: occupation-related knee OA and OA following a previous knee injury.

According to the World Health Organization’s global burden of disease survey, knee OA is likely to become the eighth most common cause of disability in men and the fourth most common cause of disability in women.

Knee OA is associated with three significant physical impairments: knee pain, stiffness, and reduced quadriceps strength, all of which are thought to lead to physical weakness and disease progression.

Knee pain is most often caused by one of two things: arthritis or a sports-related injury.

1. Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, reactive arthritis, lyme disease, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and infectious arthritis are all arthritis types that affect the knees.

ALSO READ  Home workout for legs: 5 techniques to strengthen your lower body

2. Injury

Meniscal injuries, anterior cruciate ligament, and posterior cruciate ligament injuries, tendonitis, bursitis, loose bodies, Osgood-Schlatter disease, dislocated kneecap, iliotibial band syndrome, and Plica syndrome are some of the more common knee injuries.

8 Best Knee Strengthening Exercises

1. Straight leg raises

The straight leg raises help to strengthen your quadriceps muscles, which are the muscles just in front of the thigh. These muscles help to absorb shock before it gets to the knee, decreasing the strain on the knee and helping to reduce pain. 

straight leg raises


  1. Start by lying down flat with your back to the floor. You can use an exercise mat or a folded blanket to act as cushioning under your back.
  2. Bend one leg slightly at the knee and keep the other leg straight in front of you.
  3. Slowly raise the straight leg upwards until it gets to the same height as the bent knee. 
  4. Hold at that point for 5 seconds, then bring it down slowly back to the floor.
  5. Repeat the procedure 3 more times.
  6. Switch legs and repeat. You can add an ankle weight as it gets easier.

2. Side leg raises

This exercise helps to work your hip abductor muscle. This muscle is located on the outside of your hips. It helps you to stand, walk, and rotate your hips easily.

Side leg raises


  1. Lie on one side with your lower arm supporting your head and your upper arm placed on the floor for support.
  2. Raise your top leg as high as possible.
  3. Hold it at that point for a few seconds, then bring it down slowly.
  4. Repeat the procedure 3 more times.
  5. Switch legs and repeat. You can also add an ankle weight as it gets easier.

3. Wall squats

Wall squats can be done anywhere as long as you have a wall or something to lean against. It is one of the best knee strengthening exercises that work the quadriceps muscles.

Wall squats


  1. Set your back, shoulders, and hips against a wall in a standing position.
  2. Set your feet out, hip-width apart, about 40 centimetres from the wall. Place your hands in front of you for balance.
  3. With this position, slowly slide down so that your hips are level with your knee.
  4. Hold for about 10 to 20 seconds.
  5. Repeat about 5 times.

4. Standing hamstring curls

The standing hamstring curls target the calf muscles and the hamstring. Working these muscles helps to build your overall strength, balance, and stamina.

Standing hamstring curls


  1. Stand straight with your knees hip-width apart. Hold on to a chair or wall for support.
  2. Slowly lift one leg upwards, bending your knee so that your heel is facing the ceiling. Lift as high as you can, keeping the upper body still.
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then slowly bring it down.
  4. Repeat the procedure 3 more times.
  5. Switch legs and repeat.

5. Step exercise

This exercise works your quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors. It is a great exercise that also helps to improve overall strength, flexibility, balance, and agility.

Box step up


  1. Set up a large, rigid stool or platform about 5 metres high.
  2. Climb up to the platform with one foot on it and the other hanging freely behind.
  3. Keeping all of your weight on the standing foot, lower your body.
  4. Hold in this position for about 5 seconds, and then slowly return to your starting position.
  5. Switch legs and repeat.
  6. Repeat the whole procedure 5 more times.

6. Calf raises

Calf raises help to strengthen the calf muscles and greatly benefit the hamstrings, providing your knee with better support and stability. It is a popular strengthening exercise that helps to work your lower legs and improve their appearance.

home workout for legs


  1. Stand close to a wall with your hands on the wall for balance. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lift your feet upwards so that you’re standing on the balls of your feet.
  3. Hold in this position for a few seconds then slowly return to your original position.
  4. Repeat the procedure 10 to 12 times.

7. Standing toe touches

Even though it is regarded as an old school technique, this exercise is a great way to stretch your hamstring. Even better, it helps to stretch your calves, butt, and shoulders as well as working your abdominal muscles.

standing toe touches


  1. Stand upright with your feet close together, your toes facing forward and your arms by your side.
  2. Slowly bend over at your hips, letting your body hang in front of you and your hands facing downward. Keep your legs straight but do not lock them.
  3. Hold in this position for about 15 to 20 seconds.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat as many as 10 to 15 times.

8. Standing quadriceps stretch

Stretching the quadriceps helps to improve flexibility around the muscle area. It is a very effective way to release the tension and stiffness in the quadricep muscles, making it able to better serve as a support for the knee. 

Standing quadriceps stretch


  1. Assume a standing position. Hold on to a chair or a wall for balance.
  2. Bend your knee by grabbing your ankle with one hand. Gently pull your heel up until you feel a stretch in front of your thigh.
  3. Hold in this position and then slowly lower your thigh back to your original position.
  4. Switch legs and repeat. 

A final note

Knee strengthening exercises help to ease pain and prevent injuries, keeping your legs strong and flexible. It is important to make out time from your busy schedules to work your muscles and joints.

Please note that these exercises should not be painful. If you feel any pain in the course of performing these exercises, you should stop and consult your doctor.