Knee strengthening exercises- what to try and what to avoid?

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Published: December 3, 2023

The knee is without a doubt the largest joint in your body. Whenever you walk, run, jump, or climb, the knee is in use. Over time, the joint is prone to wear and tear and is very prone to injury and pain. To prevent this and extend the health of your joints, DubaiPT recommends doing some very beneficial knee strengthening exercises. It is important to know that these exercises do not affect the knee directly. However, they focus on the muscles that surround them. Following them, you may alleviate pain, strain, and pressure on these joints. On the other hand, injuries to the knee can also occur even when you exercise. Therefore, it’s crucial to use proper techniques or overexert your knees when working out. We’re here to tell you about the exercises you can do to keep your joints healthy!

There are numerous benefits of knee strengthening exercises

Many studies have shown that strong and flexible muscles are the main factor when it comes to keeping your knees healthy and preventing injury. In addition to this, exercise is the most effective way to treat issues such as osteoarthritis without surgery. Exercising the knee doesn’t affect the joint itself, but the muscles around it. With strong muscles, you provide good support to your knees, and can easily achieve a healthy lifestyle.

A woman helping a man with knee pain
Knee strengthening exercises are effective in curing knee pain and stopping it from returning.

Knee pains often happen when the joints take on too much stress, which you can easily counter by being active. The exercises we’ll be talking about are meant to strengthen the muscles. If you experience any kind of pain during them or already have existing pains, you should consult your doctor or gym instructor. For best effects, it is good to warm up before exercising with walking, light cycling, or an elliptical machine.

Who are they for?

As previously mentioned, there are numerous benefits of these effective exercises. It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete, a daily walker, or a person who does workouts occasionally in the gym. If you are experiencing any type of knee pain or discomfort, you should include these exercises in your routine. Additionally, these exercises are perfect for runners or people who are engaging in any kind of physical activity. They will help you stabilize your knees, prevent any kind of injury, and make you feel better while working out.

How effective are they?

Knee strengthening exercises play a crucial role in improving the overall health and resilience of the knee joint. These exercises can help you make your knees stronger by targeting the muscles and tendons that support and stabilize the joint. While exercises won’t directly strengthen knee tendons, they can indirectly enhance tendon health by strengthening the surrounding muscles.

To address weak knees, it’s essential to focus on strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles, as they play a pivotal role in knee stability. For osteoarthritic knees, low-impact exercises like cycling and swimming can reduce pain and improve function by maintaining joint mobility and strengthening the muscles around the knee.

man doing knee strengthening exercises with a trainer
With a good trainer and proper guidance, you can greatly improve your knee strength.

While exercise can’t rebuild knee cartilage once it’s damaged, a combination of strength training and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the stress on the joint and potentially slow down further cartilage deterioration. Always consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist for a tailored exercise program based on your specific knee condition.

Knee strengthening exercises at home

Doing knee strengthening exercises at home is a convenient and effective way to improve the health and stability of your knee joints. With a few simple exercises that require little to no equipment you can gradually build strength in the muscles supporting your knees. Here are a few exercises to try.

Leg lifts

Every affordable personal trainer Dubai has will recommend leg lifts for your knees. Moreover, they are perfect for achieving overall strength. After this exercise, it will be much easier for you to run, walk, or jump in your workouts. What you should do is lie down on the mat on the floor with a flat back. Keep your right leg straight and bend your left leg slightly in the knee area.

Bring your right foot closer to your body as much as you can. Your leg should be around 12 inches away from the floor. It is best if you could hold your right leg up for around 5 seconds. Repetition is essential so try to repeat three more times with the same leg. After repetitions, it is time to switch legs. Be careful not to arch your back while doing this exercise.

Single leg dip

Not only this exercise will help your knees, but also it will involve your gluteus muscles and hamstrings. If you are attending pilates classes in Dubai, you can prepare with this exercise even at work. You only need two stable chairs that you will place on both sides of your body. Hold on to the chairs to maintain balance. The next thing you should do is lift your left leg about 12 inches from the ground.

A woman doing effective knee strengthening exercises
Doing daily exercises and stretching out helps a lot, especially before working out.

This way, all your weight will be on your right leg. Slowly try to bend down and push all your weight onto the supporting leg. You should be in this position for about 5 seconds and then switch sides and repeat. This exercise is perfect for building balance as well. It will strengthen your hips and ankles.

Wall squats

If you wish to combine your fat loss workout with knee exercises, then this one is for you. Wall squats are perfect for strengthening your knees, as well as activating other muscles. Moreover, it will focus on your quadriceps, hip muscles, and gluteus. You will build more strength in these areas, especially in your thighs.

All you have to do is stand with your shoulder, head, back, and hips against the wall. Move your feet away from the wall a bit. Next, slide your back down the wall until you are in a similar position as sitting. You should be able to hold for about 5 seconds and slide up in the previous position. Depending on your flexibility, you should do three sets for 40-60 seconds. However, if you are a beginner add breaks and slowly increase the time.

Half squats

Squats are part of all fat burning workouts for men and women. Additionally, another great way to activate your glutes and strengthen your knees is half squats. They will not put so much pressure and strain on your knees, especially if you are in pain. The first thing you should do is to position yourself in a standing squat position. Your hands should be on your hips or extended straight in front of you for balance.

Women doing knee strenghtening exercises
Squats and half squats are the perfect way to start every workout session.

Then, slowly squat in a half-squat position. Try to pause for a few seconds to increase tension in your muscles. The ideal repetition for this exercise is 10 times. The best thing is to start with a small number of sets and repetitions, and gradually increase. For beginners, they might seem challenging at first.

Stability lunges

Stability lunge is one of the best effective knee strengthening exercises. Even more, it will aid you in controlling your knees and strengthening your core muscles. If performed correctly with the help of a cheap personal trainer Dubai has, it will improve your leg strength. Since they might cause knee pain if done in an incorrect way, always seek professional help.

Firstly, make sure you are standing with your legs apart. One leg should go forward and one back. You should bend your knees at a 90-degree angle and slowly return to the previous position. Make sure your front knee is stable. Ideally, you should do three sets with about 10 repetitions. Be careful since these lunges can cause damage if performed incorrectly. Therefore, go slowly and carefully, and if needed ask for professional help.

Knee strengthening exercises at the gym

Exercising at the gym offers a wide range of options and equipment to effectively target the muscles supporting your knee joints. Machines such as the leg extension and leg curl machines can isolate the quadriceps and hamstrings, respectively. Additionally, gym environments often have trainers or physical therapists available to guide you in performing these exercises with proper form and technique, reducing the risk of injury.


Squats are a fundamental compound exercise that can significantly improve overall lower body strength and stability. They primarily target the muscles of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, making them a powerful choice for strengthening the knees and surrounding joints. To perform squats at the gym, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, a barbell resting on your upper back and shoulders. Keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged.

A woman squating with a barbell.
Maximize the benefits of this highly effective exercise

Slowly lower your body by bending at the hips and knees, ensuring your knees stay in line with your feet and don’t go beyond your toes. Aim to descend until your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower, then push through your heels to return to the starting position. To gradually add weight, you can increase the weight on the barbell, incorporate dumbbells or kettlebells, or use resistance bands.

Leg Press

The leg press is a popular and effective gym exercise for targeting the muscles of the lower body, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It is performed on a leg press machine, which provides a controlled and safe environment to build strength in the legs and, indirectly, the knee joints.

To perform the leg press, sit on the machine’s seat with your back against the padded backrest and your feet flat on the footplate. Extend your legs to push the weight upward, then bend your knees to lower the weight, allowing your knees to come close to your chest. Proper form is essential to avoid injury, so be sure to keep your back firmly against the seat and your feet in the correct position. The leg press is adaptable to various fitness levels, and you can adjust the weight on the machine to challenge yourself as your strength increases.

Hamstring Curls

Hamstring curls are a valuable gym exercise that focuses on strengthening the hamstrings, a group of muscles located on the back of the thigh. These muscles play a critical role in knee stability and overall lower body function. Hamstring curls are typically performed on a seated or lying leg curl machine.

When using a seated leg curl machine, you sit with your knees on the machine’s pad and flex your legs by curling your heels toward your glutes against resistance. On a lying leg curl machine, you lie face down and curl your legs by bending your knees.

This exercise isolates and targets the hamstring muscles, which are often underdeveloped compared to the quadriceps in many individuals. Building hamstring strength can help balance the forces acting on the knee joint and reduce the risk of injuries. Hamstring curls can be modified with various machine settings to adapt to different fitness levels, and you can progressively increase the resistance as you become stronger.

Knee strengthening exercises with bands

Knee strengthening exercises with a resistance band can be highly effective in improving the stability and resilience of your knee joints. The resistance band adds an extra challenge to your home workouts, helping to target the muscles that support and protect the knees. Incorporating them into your routine is versatile and accessible.

Glute bridge

Every once in a while you will feel pain or sore muscles after working out. This is very common, especially after very intense workouts such as CrossFit training. To reduce knee pain and simultaneously strengthen your knees, glutes, and hamstrings, try a glute bridge with the added option of using a resistance band. For this exercise, lie on your back on the mat with both knees bent at an angle of 90 degrees. Secondly, start lifting your bottom up slowly and squeeze your glutes. Your knees should be in line with your feet at all times.

A woman stretching out in the park after a long run
To reduce pain during workouts or running, make sure you do knee strengthening exercises at home.

You can incorporate a resistance band by placing it just above your knees and pushing your knees outward against the band as you lift your bottom. The worst thing you can do is to arch your back. This will cause more pain and you will not see any results if you continue to do so. Ideally, 10 repetitions in three sets should do wonders after a period of time.

Butt kicks

Butt kick is another great exercise that you can include in your weight loss workout program. If you combine them with fitness meal plans Dubai personal trainer created for you, you will see results soon. Butt kicks are brilliant since they will help you get better form and also prevent injuries during workouts. Also, you can use them as a warm-up exercise. Firstly, try finding something to help you keep balance, like a wall or a sturdy piece of furniture, and then kick your butt with your heels. You should do 20 kicks with each leg and change legs. To increase the intensity, you can wear a resistance band around your ankles Of course, if you need rest, take small breaks for about 45 seconds.

Donkey kicks

Use these sunny summer days to relax at the beach and at the same time exercise. Donkey kicks are ideal for your glute and strengthening your knees. They will make you keep your entire body stable, while your legs are moving. At the same time, you can find a yoga instructor Dubai has, and have a nice yoga session there.

Clamshell knee exercise

A lot of people, especially women, like to work out at home using resistance bands. Many often decide to hire a female physical trainer and continue exercising at home for better results. If you have a resistance band, place it around your legs above your knee. Lie on your right side and bend your knees. In order to prevent straining your neck, place your head on your arm. Try to keep your heels together and rotate your left knee toward the ceiling. 15 repetitions are ideal and then switch the sides. Clamshell is a great exercise that you do in the comfort of your home. If you incorporate this exercise into your workout routine, this exercise will provide you with great fitness results.

Lateral walk

Another amazing effective knee strengthening exercise is a lateral walk with a resistance band. This exercise will fully activate your glutes and thighs. Moreover, it will help in stabilizing your knees and improves flexibility. Every kickboxing personal trainer Dubai knows that flexibility is crucial to every workout. For this exercise, simply put a resistance band around your ankles and stand firmly with your feet apart. Lower into a squat position and step out to the right. Continue like this, taking 10-15 steps to the left and then 10-15 to the right. This exercise is brilliant for improving the stability of your knees. If you don’t have a resistance band, this exercise can be done without it as well.

How often should you do knee strengthening exercises?

All of the above-mentioned exercises are some of the most effective knee strengthening exercises. However, you don’t have to perform them every single day for results. Our recommendation is to do them two times a week. Combine them with a leg workout, or a 7 day meal plan for muscle gain, and you are on track. There are no specific rules on how many repetitions you should perform. Try doing about 8-12 repetitions in about two or three sets. You can do them without equipment or even add weights if you have them. These exercises are effective not only for your knees but for other muscle parts as well.

Keep your knees healthy and stay in shape!

Knee strengthening exercises are a non-invasive and healthy way to strengthen your legs and prevent injury, as well as prologue the durability of your joints. With them, you can also work your way through minor pains from overuse, arthritis, or other natural causes. In addition to these workouts, it is very beneficial to be active daily. Simply walking around or doing slight stretching can really help your knees stay in good shape in between the exercises. Just be mindful of your existing joint conditions, if there are any, and always rely on your doctor or one of our gym trainers for help and advice. With these simple workouts, your knees will be in their prime for a long, long time!


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