The following knee strengthening exercises are designed to improve strength of the muscles of the knee. You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Begin with the basic knee strengthening exercises. Once these are too easy, they can be replaced with the intermediate knee strengthening exercises and eventually, the advanced knee strengthening exercises. Once the advanced exercises are too easy, progress to the knee strengthening exercises at the gym for optimal gains in knee function, strength and conditioning.
Knee Strengthening – Basic Exercises
To begin with, the following basic knee strengthening exercises should be performed approximately 10 times, 3 times daily. As your knee strength improves, the exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions and strength of contraction provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Static Inner Quadriceps Contraction
Tighten the muscle at the front of your thigh (quadriceps) by pushing your knee down into a towel (figure 1). Put your fingers on your inner quadriceps (VMO – vastus medialis obliquus) to feel the muscle tighten during contraction. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times as hard as possible pain free.
Static Hamstring Contraction
Begin this exercise in sitting with your knee bent to about 45 degrees (figure 3). Press your heel into the floor tightening the back of your thigh (hamstrings). Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times as hard as possible pain free.