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Squats to Hamstring Curls: 5 exercises for strengthening knees

Strengthen and protect your knees with these 5 targeted exercises. These movements improve stability, reduce pain, and enhance joint health for daily activities and athletic pursuits.

Rahul Pratyush Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: February 17, 2024 15:30 IST
Exercises for strengthening knees
Image Source : FILE IMAGE 5 exercises for strengthening knees

Our knees are crucial joints, bearing the brunt of our daily activities. But wear and tear, injuries, and even inactivity can take their toll, leading to pain and discomfort. Thankfully, strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee is a powerful way to promote joint health, improve stability, and reduce the risk of injury. Here are 5 simple yet effective exercises you can do at home to keep your knees strong and healthy.

Squats:

This classic exercise targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, all key players in knee stability. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly outward. Lower your body as if sitting back into a chair, keeping your back straight and core engaged. Push through your heels to return to standing. Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions and gradually increase the difficulty with weights or bodyweight variations like single-leg squats.

Step-ups:

Step-ups are a functional exercise that mimics daily activities like climbing stairs and stepping up onto curbs. They target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while also improving balance and proprioception. Begin by standing in front of a sturdy bench or step with your feet hip-width apart. Step onto the bench with one foot, making sure your entire foot is on the surface, then drive through your heel to lift your body up until both legs are straight. Step back down with the same foot and repeat on the other side. You can increase the intensity by holding dumbbells or wearing a weighted vest.

Leg extensions:

Leg extensions target the quadriceps and help strengthen the muscles on the front of the thigh, which is crucial for knee stability. Sit on a leg extension machine with your knees bent at 90 degrees, then extend your legs until they are straight, squeezing your quadriceps at the top of the movement. Lower the weight back down with control to complete one repetition.

Hamstring curls:

These target the hamstrings, the muscles on the back of your thigh that help bend your knee. Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and arms by your sides. Bend one knee, pulling your heel towards your buttocks without arching your back. Hold for a second, then slowly straighten your leg back down. Repeat with the other leg. Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions per leg.

Leg lifts:

Leg lifts are an effective bodyweight exercise for strengthening the muscles around the hips and knees. Lie on your back with your legs straight and lift one leg off the ground, keeping it straight and engaging your core. Lower it back down with control and repeat on the other side. For an added challenge, place a resistance band around your ankles or ankles weights.

ALSO READ: Walking, jogging, yoga and strength training effective tools against depression: Study

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