The 6 Best Knee Strengthening Exercise To Stop Knee Pain

You don’t think about your knees when you’re young, but they are a vitally important part of your body. We need strong, healthy knees to do even the most basic of activities, like walking, running, jumping, and even sitting down.

As you get older, you may begin to notice aches, pains, and even injuries in your knee joints that you haven’t experienced before, and it can seriously disrupt your everyday life. Thankfully, there are a series of exercises you can do at home that can help to reduce knee pain and also strengthen your knee joints over time, reducing the risk of future injury.

Hamstring Stretch

Having tight hamstrings can cause knee pain, so it’s important to keep this part of the body flexible to relieve strain on the knee and avoid more pain down the road. Hamstring stretches can both directly aid knee pain and stabilize the spine, which is helpful as spinal issues can directly cause pain in the knee. Do this exercise on an exercise mat or soft carpet.

Image Source

How to do a hamstring stretch:

  1. Lay flat on your back.
  2. Keep one knee bent and the other leg straight with arms at your side.
  3. Slowly raise the straight leg upward until it reaches a 90-degree angle to your hips.
  4. Return to resting position.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times for each leg.

Glute Bridges

Glute bridges help to strengthen the glutes, which is an important part of maintaining knee health, as strong glutes can relieve stress on the knees and keep them stable.

How to do a glute bridge:

  1. Lay flat on your back.
  2. Bend your knees and keep both feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly squeeze and lift your glutes off the ground, slightly arching your back while keeping your arms and feet flat on the ground. Contract your glutes when you reach the top of the position.
  4. Return to starting position.
  5. Repeat 10-15 times.

Wall Sit

Image Source

Often physical therapists will recommend wall sits as one of the first and easiest ways to reduce knee pain and aid knee strengthening. Wall sits can strengthen the muscles of the knee joints, while putting less stress on the joints than other knee exercises.

How to do a wall sit:

  1. Stand with your back against the wall and keep your arms at your side.
  2. Slowly slide down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Hold that position, or the nearest comfortable position, for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3 times.


The sit/stand or sit-to-stand is a simple exercise that helps to strengthen the knees as well as the legs and lower back, reducing pain and risk of future injury. All you need is a chair.

How to do a sit/stand:

  1. Sit in the chair with your feet apart (shoulder width) and slide forward to the edge of the chair while still sitting in a comfortable position.
  2. Line up your heels with the front edge of the chair.
  3. Begin to stand, slowly, using only your legs and glutes to help you stand. Keep your arms at your sides or behind your back.
  4. Sit down with the same motion.
  5. Repeat 5-10 times in the morning and evening.

Donkey Kicks

This exercise helps to support your posture and protect your knee joints, by strengthening your knees without straining the joints as much as other exercises do. Donkey kicks also strengthen your glutes. Do this exercise on an exercise mat or soft carpet.

Image Source

How to do a donkey kick:

  1. Get on all fours, hands stacked under shoulders and knees under hips. Keep your back flat.
  2. Keep your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle and slowly kick your knee back, so your leg and foot are pointing toward the ceiling. Stop before your back arches.
  3. Switch legs and repeat.
  4. Repeat 10 times for each leg.

Calf Raises

Calf raises aim to target your calf muscles. Stronger and more toned calves that are regularly exercised can help to restabilize the knee. Calf raises are particularly helpful if you are experiencing pain behind the knees.

How to do a calf raise:

  1. Stand with your body facing a wall.
  2. Put your hands up against the wall and move your foot back until you feel a stretch in your leg. Keep your heels flat on the ground with your knees bent only slightly.
  3. Begin to move forward until your front knee is bending fully and you can feel your back leg being stretched. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
  4. Switch legs into opposite positions and repeat.
  5. Repeat twice more.

Knee pain can be debilitating, but you don’t have to live with it forever. These exercises show how to strengthen the knees and reduce pain in your joints, and are just one part of what can be done to treat pain and discomfort in this area of the body.

If you’re struggling with knee pain or related issues, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. Based in Atlanta, GA, our team at KellieMiddletonMD is dedicated to treating sports-related injury, mobility restoration, and pain management. For more information, you can get in touch by email or call us at 770-509-4030.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.