Knee & Leg Strengthening Exercises

Written by breann kanobi
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Knee & Leg Strengthening Exercises
Strengthen legs and knees with a fitness regime. (knee image by Vasily Smirnov from

If you currently suffer from knee pain, your leg muscles may be too weak to support your body. Losing excess weight and wearing supportive shoes can help if you suffer from knee pain. You can perform many simple exercises at home or at the gym in order to strengthen your knees and legs.


Squats are one of the best exercises for working out your entire lower body. However, if you do not perform squats properly, you could injure your knees or make an existing injury worse. To perform squats correctly, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, your toes pointed slightly outward. Lower your body, making sure your knees follow the line of your second toe. Your back should maintain its natural curve rather than slumping. Do not allow your knees to go past your toes. Avoid locking your knees.

To perform a sumo squat, also known as a pile squat, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your feet turned outward. Your feet should be turned away from your body about 60 degrees more than when doing a normal squat. Lower your body using proper squat techniques.

Once you are comfortable with the squat technique, you can add free weights or barbells to your squatting routine.


To perform a lunge, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Your feet should be straight with toes pointed forward. Contract your abs and lift your right leg to take a step forward. Gradually lower yourself into this position, forming a 90 degree angle between the upper and lower part of your legs. Make sure your knees do not extend over your toes. Lift leg and return to start position. Repeat on the other leg.

If you have never performed a lunge or have weak knees, ask someone to show you the proper technique. Lunges can be very hard on knees if performed improperly.

Leg Lifts

Sit in a chair with your legs touching the ground. Contract your quadriceps muscles and lift one leg, bending at the knee, until the leg is straight. Lower leg and repeat on the other side. You can add ankle weights to this exercise for extra resistance. You can also find a machine version of this exercise at most gyms. The machine may be called a "quadriceps lift" or "leg lift." If you are unsure of how the machine should be used, read the instructions located on the machine or ask a gym employee for assistance.

Hamstring Lift

Lie on your stomach with your hands below your head and your legs straight. Contract your leg muscles and lift one leg, bending at the knee, until the lower and upper leg form a 90 degree angle. Lower leg and repeat on the other side. You can add ankle weights or find a machine version of this exercise for more resistance.


Stretching is an important part of a knee-strengthening regime. To stretch your quadriceps, stand with both legs shoulder width apart. Bend one leg, lifting your heel towards your butt. Grasp leg and gently pull it away from your body. Hold for 20 seconds, lower, and repeat on the other side.

To stretch your hamstrings, sit down on the ground. Straighten your legs and bend at the waist, reaching fingers towards your toes. Hold for 20 seconds and release.

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