After you’ve had a knee injury, its always a good idea to look into some exercises that will help you strengthen it up again once you have recovered. While we always recommend you check with your doctor or physio therapist before trying any of these out, we’re happy to share with you our top knee strengthening exercises you can do at home.
Knee Strengthening Exercises at Home
Start with a warm up – It doesn’t matter what you are going to do, and even if you’ve had an injury or not for that matter. You always want to start off with a good warm up. You could do this by simply taking a brisk walk for a few minutes, or going on an exercise bike for a 5 minute ride. Whatever you do, make sure you move your arms as well as your legs. Once you feel warmed up and a little bit of sweat creeping through, your probably good to go. warming up helps prepare you for stretching and reduce the risk of further injury.
Stretch – Your doctor has probably already told you about the importance of stretching when you first went in with your knee injury. Stretching helps loosen up the ligaments and muscles, thus making injury much less likely. You can find all kinds of info on proper stretches online. You don;t need to go overboard; a good 5-10 mins of stretching should be fine
Straight leg raises – These are really good when you are recovering from a knee injury as they put very little strain on your knee and are very good for strengthening your thigh muscles, which will make your knee more stable. Simple lie on your back and bend one knee. Keep your other leg straight and raise it up as high as you can. Do 15-30 reps on each leg.
Prone leg raises – these are similar to the above, except you do them while lying down on your stomach. Simply lie down, tighten one of your legs and make it straight, and raise it up towards the ceiling slowly and firmly, once you get it as high as you can, hold it for 5 seconds, then slowly lower it. Do 10 to 20 reps for each legs, being sure to make the movements slow and deliberate.
Hamstring curls – These will give more stability to your knee by exercising the muscles down the back of your thigh. you can do them standing up or lying down. Simply bring your heels as close to your butt as you can, and try to hold it for 15 seconds. You can do three sets of 10 reps each, either for each leg or both legs at the same time if you are lying down.
Calf Raises – A very simple but very effective way to strengthen your lower leg muscles. All you need to do is lift yourself up onto your toes your 15 reps. Make sure all your weight is on your toes and nothing is on your heels. Some like to do this while holding dumbbells for added challenge.
Things to avoid
As you are recovering from a knee injury, you want to avoid anything that is going to put strain on your knee or anything that will give it a lot of impact, like running or jumping. Likewise, anything that involves sharp or sudden movements like dancing, transitions or aerobics should be avoided until you are cleared by your doctor.
If your dying to to a little cardio but your knee can’t handle the tread mill, you can always think about giving swimming a go. Swimming will give you a great workout without putting any pressure on your joints or the impact you’d get from running, so it might be worth asking your physician if they think it would be ok.