Knee Strengthening Exercises & Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

Knee Strengthening Exercises & Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody, it’s Doctor Jo. Today we’re
gonna talk about some knee strengthening exercises. So you’ve already checked out the knee stretching
exercises, you got your knee nice and stretched out. And so now you want to strengthen it
to keep it strong. So it’s not putting pressure on that joint to cause that pain. So today,
I’m gonna show you some really simple exercises things that you can change the height to make
it harder or easier depending on how you can do it at home. So the first one we’re gonna
do is just a simple step up. If you have a step at home you can use the whole step, but
that might be too much to start off with cause the key to this is using correct technique
and using control. So you’re not using momentum. So the first thing we’re gonna do, I’ve got
set up here just some books. Some nice hard cover books. I knew my PT books would be good
for something after I graduated, so what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna have them set up here.
And if you want to, make it a little lower you can just take a book off, make it a little
higher, add another book. Again, if you want to use your step, you can try your step, it
might not be quite what you need, but if not you can add a book or take a book away. So
first thing I’m gonna have you do is you want to put the knee that you want to strengthen
up on the step. The key here is you want your knee to always stay behind your toes. So if
you’re going forward like this, see how my knee goes in front of my toes? That’s really,
really bad for your knee. All that pressure ends up going on your knee, and that’s just
gonna make it hurt more. You want to keep your knee behind your toes and use your gluteus
muscles in the back, your thigh muscles, those are the big strong muscles you want to use.
If you need something to hold on to, you can hold on to the rail by your step, you can
do it at a counter top and hold onto your counter top, or a table, anything like that.
But what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna do it in slow motion. So you’re really almost
gonna count to 3 as you go. So you’re gonna go 1, 2, 3. As you go up, now the key it’s
just as important to go that slow coming down. So you’re gonna go 1, 2, 3, coming back down.
So don’t step up and step down, that’s using momentum, that’s not using your muscles. Remember
you want to go nice and slow. 1, 2, 3 and then back down, 1, 2, 3. Same kind of thing
when you’re working out, you want to go until you feel the burn, once you feel the burn,
try and do 2 more repetitions. The next one I’m gonna show you is some simple lunges.
You can use your books again to give you a target to go to. So with this one, it’s different.
The higher up, the easier it is. The lower down, the harder it is. So what you’re gonna
do is you’re gonna step over you books, and you want the books to be the target for your
knee in the back. Same kind of concept, though, you want your knee to stay behind your toes.
So if you’re lunging forward like this, see how far my knee goes in front of my toes?
That’s really, really bad for your knee. So you want to drop your body straight down.
Same kind of thing, you want to be controlled. 1, 2, 3 my knee touches the book, so I know
where I am, come back up 1, 2, 3. Switch feet after do your reps until it burns and then
2 more reps. And you’re gonna go 1, 2, 3. My knee staying behind my toes, and back up
1, 2, 3. The other key is you want your back, upper body to be straight up. You don’t want
to be over like this, you don’t want to lean back like this. You want to be in a nice plane.
Your back straight, no pain anywhere, going down, coming back up. Ok the last one I’m
gonna have you do. You can take the books out of the way. You can either use a chair,
you can use coffee table if you have it. Same kind of thing. If you need some extra height,
you can but a book up here cause this is basically gonna be a target, you’re not actually gonna
be sitting down on it. What I’m gonna have you do is you’re gonna spread your feet out
about shoulder width apart. You don’t want to be super far out, and you don’t want your
feet to be together, but you want to be a little bit past shoulder width, or shoulder
width apart. Now the key to this one is you really wanna stick your bottom back like you’re
trying to find it like you’re going to sit down in a chair. I tell the women it’s kind
of like you’re squatting on a public toilet, you don’t really want to sit all the way down.
The guys might not quite get that, here’s the key, again you don’t want those knees
going in front of your toes. So if you’re squatting down like this, that’s not, I don’t
want you to do that. You’re reaching your bottom back until I feel that book, and then
I’m coming back up. Now for me, I don’t really need the book. You might not need the book,
your height might be good. So you’re reaching back, just touching, as soon as you touch
it, come back up. Make sure you’re controlled. Make sure your weight is on your whole feet.
You’re not going back on your heels, you’re not going up on your toes. Even it out, you
find it, you come back up. If you feel like you’re sitting down, put a couple of books
on there for the target, so you’re not going down quite as far. Nice and controlled, tapping
it, coming back up. Alright, so there you have it, those were your knee strengthening
exercises. So remember mobilize, stretch, then strengthen. If you liked those exercises,
please click the like button, and leave us a comment. And if you would like to see more
exercise videos or some educational videos, please check out my website at
And remember, have fun, be safe, and I hope you feel better soon!

About the author


  1. Hey Dr Jo, I don't have any knee pain but my left knee makes wood creaking sounds and my right knee makes a click sound every time I do a squat, wut do u suppose it is? Ty

  2. You are a great teacher – Excellent I wish you start visiting schools and teach students these important excercises

  3. As I'm doing these exercises my knee is making a clicking sound, should I continue? That's why I'm doing these exercises in the first place, to strengthen my knee.

  4. I had a balance disorder and it affect my knees both of them they become weaker and I can't run anymore been watching your videos hope it could help me ,I had cerebral atrophy according to MRI you think I can recover with this exercises?

  5. hey doctor jo, does sitting all day aggravate existing knee pain? I was fine in my recovery resting in my bed and doing my PT exercises until i started playing video games again haha. Should i elevate my knees when sitting?

  6. I dislocated my knee last year, can this help in the re-strengthening of my knee it hurts every once and a while.

    orwhat can I do that would be more productive

  7. Thank you Dr jo for showing knee strengthening exercises. Dr jo, Patients who are suffering from osteoporotic changes is it advisable to that patients are not.

  8. Hi Doctor Jo. I really enjoy all your videos. I have a question regarding the sequence of mobility, stretch then strengthen. Could you explain why you recommend this sequence and could recommend any articles I could research on mobs,stretch and strength sequence.

  9. Hi, I had a scan a couple of weeks ago for possible cartilage damage in my right knee. Ive been doing strengthening /stretching exercises given by my physio for the last 6 months and my knee has improved somewhat but it isn't back to what it was, there is a weakness on the medial side…..hence the scan. My question is will I get improvement if I make the muscle even stronger with weight training . ie. the more stronger, the less chance I notice any twinges? Similarly, I have some wear and tear in my lumbar region, its more flexion intolerant, and wondered if its possible to strengthen that with weight machines too? Again, like my knee most strengthening ive done so far is with my own body weight!

  10. AskDoctorJo is my go to place when my knees are painful. I hike a lot, but painful knees put me out of commission. I ice, take ibuprofen and do the stretches three times a day until better. There is usually a huge difference in a few days. Anyone who is benefiting should contribute something for this great service.

  11. I recently had ACL surgery, actually it's been a year. will these exercise help? also, would it be okay if i start going to the gym, because my knee still feels weak and somewhat unstable.

    I have not attend PT, because my insurance does not cover a lot. so what you recommend to do?
    I'm trying to get to playing soccer again. Thanks!

  12. I have fall down three weeks back and i got heavily hurt on my ligment,but after three iam able to walk with pain.Doctors told that ligment injury will take 3 weeks to recover but still i feel pain after 3 weeks.iam not sure exactly where in my knee paining but its paining all the day.whether these streches and exercise will cure my pain or i ll go to MRI scan and then for operation..Please suggest

  13. Doctor Jo, Shall I buy resistance bands or resistance tubes? I plan to use them for your shoulder/rotator cuff videos. I heard different exercises require one or the other so please advise. I suffer from paraspinal muscle spasms due to an injury, but lately I have improved a lot and want to increase my muscle strength now in shoulders, back and neck since I was immobile for almost 2 years. Thank You!

  14. my name is sadiq badha i have an Acl reconstruction is there, 1 years ago , i will return to games and sports

  15. I do squat on my heels. That means the weight of the whole body must rest on one's heel.Could you please explain it? I am grateful to you as I have learnt a lot from you.Thank you very much.

  16. Dear Doctor Jo,
    Can you teach on increasing flexibility ranges, while exercising in a martial arts class?

    I liked your concise list of Mobilize (move / warm ups), Stretch (this is the area I'm asking about), then Strengthen (any advice on how to not incur injuries, like over doing it; I like your phrase, "…do them until you feel the burn, then do 2 more" can you talk about doing exercises most days, or should we let them rest 24, 48, 72 hours, etc.

    Sometimes in our martial arts class, we do duck walks, knee dips, etc, and by the end of the class, and for a couple of days, our legs are really sore, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    And I love your closing, "Have fun, be safe, and I hope you feel better soon" I wish you much success and blessing for all you do, thank you very much, and shalom from Nebraska, j

  17. hi doc, I am overweight and even have a knee injury, which restricts me for some very good exercises such as squats. my other knee has also started hurting. can you please tell me how do I modify weight loss exercises so that later I can even start practicing knee strenghthing exercises

  18. My knees are progressively getting better after returning from an ITB injury. I just went on a 4 mile run (just upped the mileage from 3.2 miles) on a sort of hilly surface and just below my knee hurts. I've been to a osteopath about my ITB before and he gave me exercises. Dr Joe, what do you think this problem could be or do you think it's just I need time to adapt to the mile change? Ps, I've had this problem before back when I upped my mileage to 2.5 miles and it eventually went away after running some more (of the same distance)

  19. Had a botox recently to loosen legs muscles. I also have knee dislocation. What kind of stretching should i do without hurting my knee?

  20. +AskDocterJo Hi i have a question. i have really skinny thighs and that shows my knees how can i get full knees? please tell me thanks.

  21. hey Dr. Jo, I tried the stretches you explained in the other video and they really helped. What I need to know is, do I do these strengthening exercises right after the stretches? Or do stretches for some days and then jump to this video? Thank you for your help 🙂

  22. hi doc, when sit down and the stand up i hear noises from my knees which kinda irritates me but it don't hurt, what exercise should i do, i'm 17 and half year old.

  23. Hello there
    I have been having a grade 1 knee injury for last two years from running. I am doing leg extension and curls in the gym-light weight. My only problem is I cant do a deep squat as that knee really hurts. Also if I walk for an hour or so, I get spasm in that knee. I ice it then. Any suggestions? Why is it taking soooo long to heal? Thanks Doc.

  24. What are some things I can do for crunching knees? I think I might have crepitus. It's not painful, but it's getting louder and I can feel a little bit of stiffness in my right knee. Anytime I bend or extend my knees, I hear it. What would you suggest I do?

  25. The first one I can do the 2 nd & 3 rd I can go down but knees are so weak I can;t get back up. Any exercise for that?

  26. Thank you for all your videos. Found you looking for elbow relief and this am tried the neck stretches. Wonderful. I have my routine for my knees (2 year post ACL surgery) but I tell you it is so nice to have support!! I do all my gym and swimming and hiking mostly on my own. Thank you!!!

  27. Dr.Jo do you have any quad and strengthening videos I can do from my desk at work when sitting for long periods? I have patellofemoral pain syndrome and bursitis in my right knee and need to exercises to do from a seat instead of the floor

  28. Check out more great Knee Strengthening Exercises in my updated video:

  29. Hello Dr Joe, I have arthritis in both knees. How many times a day do the exercises have to be done and how long generally before you see results?

  30. 📚 Thanks to all who pointed out that in some cultures, stepping on books is considered bad luck/disrespectful. I was not aware of that when I shot this video. Here’s my NEW Knee Strengthening Video where I use a proper step instead of books:

  31. Mam after knee fracture shall i do these exercises is it helpfull for me and one more doubt i healed bt my knee fracture bt still i hv not proper walking why???

  32. hi, Dr. Jo!! so excited to come across your videos!!! i am 6 days post-op knee scope. the scope concluded that i have end stage arthritis in my right knee. I have clearance now to begin gentle stretches/strengthening exercises for knee. I am a zumba instructor and want to take the time required for recovering properly so i may return to teaching (doc says i may return in 6 weeks). what stretches/exercises do you recommend to help me meet my goal of returning to teaching in 6 weeks??? thank you!!!

  33. Hello, my doctor said that I have patellar tracking disorder and weak knee. He say that i must go to the gym but I'm in my last year school and I have to study realy hard so is these exercies will be good for me to do it in the home?(sorry if there are some mistakes in my writing)

  34. This video was really useful. I tore my medial meniscus running for a bus .. teach me im 57 not 27!!
    When I started walking again this helped lots

  35. Thanks so much for this video! I knew I had issues with my knee strength and you gave me something to work on anytime I have the chance. U. R. awesome!

  36. My ACL was partial tear almost a year ago, it feels better know after checkup to a Physiotherapist, but i feel little pain sometimes in my knee, Dr jo please guide

  37. Wow. Thank you sister. I had know idea I was hurting my knees with my workouts. Awesomeness. Be blessed. This is a healthy workout I can feel the workout working. Thank you :D.

  38. Dr Jo, I am nearly 4 months post MPFL reconstruction on my right knee. My right knee hyperextends when i stand or walk. Please, give me some advices. Thank you Dr Jo.

  39. Doc Jo.pls help me with my knee pain I am 66 year old ,I have been suffering from knee pain from the time I slipped on a wall, trying to jump, (In 2004) a guy behind pushed me down, my knees swelled up immediately, went to a Doc gave me some pain killers and then whenever I go for a walk my knees would start aching and till now tried main drugs but still suffering, Please tell me Doctor Jo will this exercise work for me, Thank you. God bless your family and you. Regards Christopher Robin Quinn, South India.

  40. Hello doc.. I had multiple ligament injury with footdrop due to perineal nerve injury. I underwent 4 operations for the ligament injury.. it's been almost seven months yet I couldn't walk without support and I couldn't lift my leg. Can u suggest any excercise it would be helpful for me ..

  41. One tip someone gave me was to do the squats and stuff in front of a wall with your toes to the wall so your knees can't go past them.

  42. I find you amazing. I am recovering from a brain tumour which affected my right side and still trying to walk. My problem is flappy kness and my hips. I know this will work and look forward to more exercises

  43. Hi doctor, how many sets should I do this and how often you think would be good per week? Thank you so much for your kind videos.

  44. Mam I have acl surgery on 28 sept but I can not proper walk.i feel instability.what I do mam please tell me.

  45. I dislocated my knee 3 months ago about.. Literally just by dancing and bending my knee too fast. And my knees have been weak ever since. I'll try these excersizes out, and I've already been working it out as well on top of that. Thankyou!

  46. Longer I walk my leg and lower back KILLS me!!! My shoulder blades are started killing me!!! What can I do because now the cane is hurting my shoulders! What can I use to walk?

  47. Hello Dr. JO. I am unable to get end range of flexion in knee.. like last 10 degree bending. Plz suggest exercise

  48. Hi Dr Jo, I love your videos and I have subscribed. Is it best to do stretches and then follow with strength exercises, or does it not matter the order? Thank you!

  49. Once again I need your help mam.. I got acl surgery 11 months ago and recently I played football actually I played at full extent after that I was felling not good in knee and it result in swelling not to much but it was there. I applied some ice and did some exercise now it's good again. Mam I just want to know swelling is indicating that my new graft is still not healed and should I avoid football right now

  50. Thank you doctor for your advise, I have a question for you…I like to hike and omg, sometimes my knees hurt so bad. On the outside of my knees (band) when I am descending hurts, and when I am going up, the inside of my right knee starts to hurt from an old injury. Do you have any advise for these aches?

  51. I can do just about anything, squats with weights, leg press with no problem with my knees. The only problem I have during lunges is the knee on the back leg, not the knee forward. WHY? I've gone to two separate physical therapist, and they both couldn't identify what my knee on the back leg hurts. I would appreciate if you can help me, or attempt to help me.

  52. I really like your videos. Great, concise, explanations, practical, and not a bunch of superfluous stuff. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *