7 Best Knee Strengthening Exercises - Ask Doctor Jo

7 Best Knee Strengthening Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

hey everybody it's doctor Jo, and today
I'm going to show you my top 7 knee strengthening exercises. so let's get
started. If you happen to have some knee pain, especially when you're doing strengthening exercises, you can use a knee sleeve. the
folks at Titan compression sent me some of their knee sleeves, and if you're
interested in purchasing them, you can click up here. when you use any kind of
knee sleeve, you want to make sure it fits right because if it's too tight
you're gonna cut off circulation. if it's too big, it's gonna kind of slide around.
so with the compression sleeves, it's not a brace. it doesn't stabilize your knee.
what I like about the knee sleeves is it's kind of like a hug. it just kind of
holds everything together a little bit. it gives you some compression to keep
the circulation going and it does give you that little bit of feel of security,
but if you have something like an actual ligament injury, this is not going to
stabilize your knee. but if you have arthritis or something like that, this
is gonna really help just kind of keep everything together with that nice hug.
so the first exercise is going to be what we call a short arc quad. so
basically you're making a short arc. I like using a foam roll, but if you don't
have a foam roll, you don't have to use a foam roll. you can take a big beach towel
and roll it up, you can use a ball like a basketball or soccer ball, you just want
it to be something where you have a short little angle there on your knee.
you want to keep your knee on the roll the whole time, so you're not picking up
your leg, you're just straightening your leg at that knee. so you can either sit
up like I'm gonna do, or you can lie down. you want to be comfortable, so if you're
kind of uncomfortable sitting up like this, make sure you lie down. so all
you're gonna do, keeping the knee on the roll, is just straightening it up as much
as you can. see how I kind of pull my toes up at the end? that just kind of
helps activate all those muscles. I'm strengthening that quad muscle right
there. that's the one that extends or straightens our knee. so do a nice slow
controlled movement even when you come back down, and get that little squeeze at
the end there. so if you have knee pain or an injury and you're trying to
strengthen it, you might not be able to get that knee fully straighten,
but that's okay. just try and go as far as you can.
big squeeze at the end. you should feel that muscle working, and nice and slow
going back down. I would just start off with ten. if you get to ten and that's easy,
you can kind of slowly work up. if you're getting to twenty – twenty-five and it's
easy and it's not very hard, you can add an ankle weight around your foot just to
start strengthening it a little bit more. so the next one is going to be bridge.
bridging it's one of my favorites because it not only works the hamstrings,
it works the glutes, and all of this has to do with strengthening your knees as
well. so go ahead and lie all the way dow,n get nice and comfortable, and prop
your knees up. so what you want to do is as you come up, kind of come one segment
at a time with your back. so you're not just popping up and then popping back
down, you're really controlling this movement. so you're just bringing your
booty up off of the floor. so coming up like this, you want to just get pretty
straight. you don't want to try and arch it up, they're just nice and straight. a
little pause at the top and then slowly come back down.
so not fast. making sure that those muscles are doing the movements not
momentum doing the movement by just dropping you back down. so same kind of
thing, I would just start off with maybe ten of these. if that becomes easy and if
you get to 20-25 then you can try doing it just with one leg of a bridge. but if
this if you feel like you're kind of dropping that hip down, then you're not
ready for that single leg bridge yet. so make sure that you're doing the correct
technique the whole time. so then the third one is still doing a bridge, but
this time you're going to use a resistive band with it. and so what this
does is it helps activate other muscles while you're doing the movement. so you
want to take the band and put it around just above your knees at your thighs. so
start off with a really light band. if it's different brands, usually the colors
are a different amount of resistances, so I would start off with the lightest one
whichever one you have. so same kind of thing you're going to go into that
bridge, getting your knees bent, but as you can
see that bands trying to pull my knees inwards. I want to try to keep them as
straight as possible. so I'm not pulling out necessarily, I'm just holding them in
that bridging position without letting my knees come in. so holding it there and
then you're going to go back into that bridge position. you might be able to see
my legs might knee just went in a little bit, and that just means that those
muscles are working. so now I'm activating these outer muscles as well
as the glutes and hamstrings with the bridge. so again with this I would just
start off with 10. it might feel kind of easy, but you're doing more work with
your body than you think you are, so just slowly progress up from there. and then
if that gets pretty easy, you can go to a higher resistive band. so then we're
still gonna do bridges, but now we're going to just go in the opposite
direction. so using a ball of some sort, it can be a basketball, soccer ball, if
you don't have anything like that you can fold up a pillow and put it in
between, you can use a yoga block, you want it usually to be something kind of
soft, but you want it to be enough where you can squeeze your knees inwards. so
now you're activating those inner thigh muscles. so same kind of concept, you're
doing that bridge, you're doing that controlled motion, but this time I'm
squeezing in when I'm lifting. so a lot of times people kind of forget to
squeeze in. so make sure you're squeezing in first, and then lifting up into the
bridge, and then nice and slow coming back down. so if you feel like you're
coming out a little bit, then just reset everything ,squeeze it in come up, nice
and slow back down. so sometimes the muscles want to cramp underneath those
hamstring muscles, so if you feel that, just come back down. you might not be
quite ready for that yet. so now we're going to go into a seated
position. so the fifth exercise is going to now be a long arc quad. so we did the
short arc quad on the floor, now it's just going to be a longer arc. so that's
why it's called the long arc quad. Just get in the chair get nice and
comfortable. if you need to relax in the backrest you can because you don't want
to be hunched over. you want to be nice and upright. and then all you're gonna do
is just straighten out that leg. so again you're squeezing that quad muscle. you're
contracting it. pulling up your toes at the end helps, but you don't have to, and
then just nice and slow coming back down. so don't just drop that leg back down,
but coming down is just as important, if not more important, than the coming up. so
nice and controlled, little squeeze at the end, nice and controlled coming back
down. so even though this might not feel like a lot, if you're trying to
strengthen those muscles because you're injured or you haven't been doing
exercise in a while, this is going to be a lot, so again make sure you're doing it
correctly. if you get to 20-25 and it's easy, you can put a small ankle weight
around your foot just to give you some more resistance. but don't go too much
with the ankle weights because that open position is going to put a lot of stress
on the knee, so maybe three to five pounds of ankle weight at the most. so
the last ones are going to be standing up. so this one is just a squat. squats
are great they kind of work everything around the legs and the hips, so they're
really good to do, but you want to make sure that you're doing them correctly.
with squats, you want to keep your knees behind your toes. so if you feel like
you're going forward like this, then you're putting a lot of pressure on your
knees and then that's gonna be really painful. so you want to stick your bottom
back. you want to kind of even yourself out, keep your back straight
but bend at your hips. you want to have even weight on your feet. so not back on
your heels, not up on your toes. I like using a chair behind me not necessarily
that I'm sitting down, but if you're a little weak because you're trying to
strengthen it, you go down and you can't get back up, you can just sit down in the
chair. so feet about shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward, not out, not in,
nice and forward, and then coming down sticking that booty back and coming back
up. so you're really trying to find the chair with your booty, but if you don't
have the chair that's fine, you don't have to touch it but make sure those
knees stay behind the toes. so you can just go this way, you don't
have to go down that deep. if you're just starting the strengthening exercise, you
can do what we call a mini squats. so you're just going like this, but still
keeping those knees behind the toes. you're not doing this – my back with my
back straight up like this – you're keeping the back straight, but you're
hinging at the hips. so you're going down and then coming back up. so same thing
just start off with ten. if you get to twenty five and thirty, and it's easy, you can
start adding some some weights up here if you want to, or you can start with
like a one leg squat. but the last exercise is still going to be a squat
but this time you're gonna use the band again to activate those other muscles. so
I'm just going to put it again kind of right above the knees around the thighs,
get that about shoulder width maybe slightly past it for this so you can
kind of get that band resistance, and then do the same thing. you want to make
sure those knees aren't collapsing inwards. you don't want them going in
like that, you want to keep them out and still have that good form with when you
squat. so you can go down deeper as long as you keep that good form, or you can
just do a little mini squat with it. but if you feel like your knees are
collapsing in like that, then you're probably not quite ready for that band.
so there you have it, those were my top seven knees strengthening exercises. if
you're interested in purchasing the Titan compression knee sleeve, make
sure and click on the link up here, and don't forget to subscribe by clicking
down here. and remember, be safe (keep those knees happy), have fun, and I hope
you feel better soon.

About the author


  1. Hi mam this kumaresan from india i have knee popping sound while leg bending please give a solution that problem

  2. Hi Dr. Jo, and thanks so much for the knee strengthening video. I let it run into the next video too, stretching the hamstrings, and I was stopped short by the sight of your dog, Bailey. I just lost my Sassy, my "Golden Girl", last month, and let me tell you, they could be twins! If you don't mind me asking, what kind of dog is Bailey? I never got Sassy DNA tested, so I only know she was part Shar-Pei, even though she didn't really look it. Sorry to be so long here… but you can always check out my blog, and even read Sassy's story, if you want. I sure would like to know what type of dog he is. Here is my blog address: http://fox3moon.com/
    Thanks again, and have a great day!

  3. Dear Doctor, I have achieved full flexion and extension after ACL surgery but have developed arthritis in the knee. What should I do?

  4. Hi Doctor Joe what is the name of the pillow you are lying on? Can you provide a link where i can get it on Amazon please

  5. Dr Jo, thanks a lot for the video. Is it a must to use the pillow / neck support while doing the Bridge. Kindly share a link to buy such an exercise pillow. Regards

  6. Hi,doctor.I am 16 years old girl who just tore my ACL recently 2 months back.But the doctor who examined my MRI told me that I dont need an ACL surgery and my ligament will grow back in a year or so because Im young.I have been doing some physio exercise for the past few weeks but im not gaining muscle,why is that so?And is it possible for the ACL ligament to grow back or should I just do a surgery?

  7. I hurt my knee around 8 weeks ago so i have been avoiding training legs. It feels better now and i returned to lifting light wieghts (squats, leg press, leg extensions) but i want to strengthen the knees before going onto higher weights . Do you recommend following these excercises only for a few weeks before using weights or is it ok to carry on using light weight in addition to these excercises ? Thanks

  8. Dear Dr. Jo, may I ask about the squat using the chair. I have OA and bursitis in both knees. Do you recommend wearing the knee brace when doing the squat exercise? The knee brace I have is specifically for sports and early OA – the donjoy OA reaction web knee brace. Love all your videos! There are very helpful. Thank you for all your videos.

  9. Hi Hi from South Africa,

    Ive dislocated my Right knee about 4 times in the last 8years or so~( started during alot of the sports i played in High School~) so my knee just seems really weak, will these exercises build/strengthen cartilage as well or will i need to do other exercises aswell?

    Ps. Really enjoyed your way of explaining and demonstrating~♡

  10. Amazing demo of exercises for strengthening knees. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Hi, great video. I want to get started but I wonder how frequently should I do this exercises. I just have chronic knee pain. Thank you for the great job you are doing.

  12. Just recovering from an injured knee. Therapist gave me some exercises to help. Now I will add your exercises to my routine. Thank you for the information!

  13. Hey doctor jo i am very impressed with your video and want a help from you that i am have a acl tear but doctor said my ligament is not broken but stretched and it can be cure with physiotherapy and medicine but when ever i atared feeling good it got twist again after every few days please help me out whether i should go for a surgery or go for medicine treatment i got this injury in feb 2018 and still suffering with this

  14. Hi Doctor Jo – what’s your opinion of isometric exercises overall? I know for you it would depend on the patient you are working with. But for the average healthy person with no injuries, is there any advantage for doing exclusively isometric exercises for muscle strengthening over other type of exercises? For example, doing a SAQ and holding that contraction for 10-15 seconds. I hope I’m making sense. Great video. You’re my go to PT. ??

  15. Please help. I'm 43 and cant stand up or walk. It's been a year and 3 months. My life has stopped completely. The medical community has failed me with no diagnosis. It seems to he extreme weakness, tightness and frozen muscles. Please help!!!

  16. Thanks Dr Jo, Your exercises help me a lot as I've been suffering from knee pain for a long time..

  17. Hi Dr Joe I had chondromalacia patella lt knee since last 2 yrs.cant band knees much and squat.can I go for walk for 45 – 60 minutes?

  18. Dear doctor
    I have pain in my right shoulder joint when I want to lay on bed in flat position my age about 58 now plz advices me

  19. Dr Jo is a wonderful teacher. She's packed so much valuable information in a short video. Many thanks for sharing.

  20. Do I need to do some warmup like light jogging before doing these knee exercises? I do Insanity workout in the evening and I want to do these knee strengthening exercises in the morning. Will it work?

  21. Hey Doc , How about adding a little bit of yoga (veer bhadra-Aasan) to the list. This might also be helpful..

  22. Thank you!! My legs used to be so strong but now I have degenerative bone disease and I feel like I have no strength. I will try these.

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