5 Tips and Exercises for Strong Knees

If you want strong knees, in addition to exercising, it's important to maintain a healthy weight so you don't overload them.
5 Tips and Exercises for Strong Knees
Carlos Fabián Avila

Written and verified by Doctor Carlos Fabián Avila.

Last update: 25 July, 2022

The knees are joints that support a good amount of weight. Basically, strong knees give you the balance you need and allow you to move from one place to another. They do this best when they’re healthy and in shape. That’s why it’s so important to have strong knees.

Today, we’ll give you some tips and exercises to do to keep them healthy and strong for longer. Do you dare to try them out?

Strong knees, full life

Did you know that your knees are the biggest joints in your body? It’s made up of your kneecap, the upper end of the tibia, and the lower end of the femur. These bones are connected with cartilage (including the meniscus, which is in charge of cushioning movements) and ligaments.

Your knees are very vulnerable to injury. That’s why it’s so important to take care of them with good lifestyle habits and make them stronger with a few exercises. Strengthening the joint is vital, but also the muscles around it, like the hamstrings and quadriceps.

A person with strong knees.

Here are some tips for strong knees:

1. Watch your weight

Excess weight and obesity are two very harmful conditions for general health. In addition, they directly affect the joints, especially the knees and ankles, which are responsible for providing balance, both when performing different movements and standing.

According to this study that was conducted in 2017, the prevalence of obesity worldwide, especially during the early stages of development (childhood and adolescence), constitutes a health problem that must be addressed as soon as possible to avoid complications.

  • If you’re 20% over the normal weight for your height and body composition, you’re up to 10 times more likely to have arthritis in this joint.
  • When you jump or go down the stairs, your weight quadruples. Your knees absorb all of this impact.

2. See a doctor

If your joints have hurt for several days and you’ve already taken over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs and don’t feel any better, it’s best to go to the doctor for a check-up. If the professional considers it appropriate, they may refer you to a traumatologist or another specialist.

  • A professional can analyze the situation, requesting the necessary tests and then recommending the appropriate treatment.
  • They’ll tell you what medicines to take, even advise you on kinesiology sessions. Similarly, they can suggest a surgical procedure if it’s very necessary.
A person with knee pain at the doctor's.
If you have a problem with your knees, follow all your doctor’s instructions and lead a healthy lifestyle.

3. Be careful with your jumps

Although it’s good to jump rope or practice any other exercise that requires jumping, it’s very important to learn how to do them correctly. Learning proper techniques, and even the clothing you should wear, can make a significant difference in avoiding injury.

Regarding the latter, this study that was conducted by a group of experts from the Leiria Polytechnic Institute explains that the systematic practice of rope jumping can produce positive effects, as long as you do so under expert supervision, as they can suggest how to do them and focus on the technique and the limit of execution.

  • One bad landing can result in not only a foot injury but also a knee injury.
  • It’s always smart to “land” with your knees slightly bent so they can absorb your body weight better.

4. Change your diet

If you improve your eating habits, you’ll be able to lose weight, which may make it easier for you to reach your goals. Therefore, eating healthy isn’t only recommended when it comes to having a healthy weight, but also to make your body work as it should, without having to train for long hours at the gym.

  • Adding foods rich in healthy fats into a balanced diet, such as avocado, fish, especially salmon and mackerel, olive oil, and nuts, is very good for the joints in general.
  • Likewise, it’s a good idea to add sources of vitamin E, through foods such as kiwi, mango, peanuts, broccoli, and spinach.
  • Sources of calcium are also recommended to supplement your diet and also strengthen your knee joints. In addition, they’re good for preventing osteoporosis and bone weakening. Keep in mind that not only dairy products contains it but also some green leafy vegetables, such as chard.

5. Rest

If your knee hurts from some activity you did, we recommend giving it a break. Try to stay at home a few days, walk as little as possible, and not exercise it for at least a week.

Many times, inflammation becomes chronic if it’s not treated in a timely manner nor having let it heal completely.

The Spanish Sleep Society published a study in the Journal of Neurology that explains that sleep problems have become a growing global public health concern. This is due to its association with damage to motivation, emotion, and cognitive functioning.

Experts explain that not allowing the body to rest a few hours a day can lead to an increased risk of serious diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Exercises for strong knees

It’s important to strengthen your entire lower body so knees are well cared for and aren’t vulnerable to injury. For example, the quadriceps is the biggest muscle in the leg. If it isn’t in good condition, you can suffer from different joint conditions.

Be careful with sports injuries or those that occur with everyday activities, such as climbing a ladder, carrying a shopping bag, or walking the dog. If you play a sport recreationally, it’s best to take this very serious and remember to warm up your muscles before starting and stretching after you finish.

Other issues to keep in mind are:

  • Wear proper shoes.
  • Rest if you’re tired or fatigued.
  • Choose suitable surfaces to exercise.
  • Don’t suddenly rotate your feet or legs.

Here are some exercises for strong knees:

A few exercises for strong knees are:

1. Leg extensions

A man doing leg extensions.
  • Sit in the seat with your back straight.
  • Place both feet under the pull lever and support your sides with both hands.
  • Push with your lower legs while you breathe in and contract your abdomen.
  • Extend your legs completely (that’s why they’re called extensions) and count between five and six seconds from when the movement begins and finishes.
  • At the beginning, the weight should be controlled. Experts suggest doing three sets of eight to ten repetitions each.
  • After the first set, you should stand up, stretch your legs, and drink some water.

2. Lower body stretch

  • Lay face up on a mat and bring your knees as close to your chest as you can.
  • Hold your legs there with your hands and hold for 15 seconds.
  • Another option is to do one leg at a time, the other remaining either straight or bent.

3. Seated stretch

  • Sit on a chair with your back up against the back of the chair and your feet on the ground.
  • Lift your right leg and extend until it is parallel to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and slowly lower while you control your breathing.
  • We recommend repeating with the other leg and count to 14 or 16. In other words, do seven or eight repetitions with each one.
  • You can do three or four sets, taking 30-second rests between each.

4. Squats for strong knees

A woman doing squats.

Most people know that this is a great exercise to strenghten the legs. However, it can be of great use to have strong knees, in addition to toning the glutes.

  • While standing, spread your legs shoulder-width apart while keeping your back straight.
  • Slowly bend your legs to lower your torso. The ideal thing is to lower as much as possible and hold the position for two to three seconds.
  • You can do three or four sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
  • It’s important to control your breathing (inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth).

5. Lunges

Another well-known gym exercise that can help you get strong knees.

  • Stand with your legs together and arms at your sides.
  • Take a big step forward with your right leg and bend your left knee so that your torso is lowered.
  • After three seconds, return to the starting position and do the same with the other leg.
  • Once again, do three to four sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

We encourage you to do all these exercises to have strong knees and to also follow the tips we explained. Your knees will get stronger and stop hurting.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.