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5 Knee Strengthening Exercises for Pain and Recovery


For runners feeling some knee pain often after running, to perform some knee stretches and foam rolling is very important to support those muscles release. Often for many people with some knee issues, even when doing some foam rolling or stretches, they can hear some knee sounds.

All those noises are normal, but any pain is not. And even when feeling some knee pain, we should not ignore some good knee strengthening exercises.

We should also add a little time every week for prehab to keep the hips and glutes strong, even from releasing the built up tension from sitting all day. And running properly doesn’t have to be causing some regular knee issues.


How to Strengthen the Knees?

  • Our body will adapt to the change in stress of going from not running to running. So there could be some initial aches.

  • We need to be in the right shoes with the right alignment according to our foot type to prevent knee pain.

  • We need to practice good running form with no heel striking.

  • We need strong hips, core and glute muscles to keep our knees tracking appropriately, not falling in or being pulled by weak muscles.

Knee strength isn’t so much about doing something with our knees, as it is creating a solid structure of support from other muscles around our knees. And also moving in a way that doesn’t destroy them. Having strong and flexible muscles can keep knees healthy and also prevent injury.

Knee strengthening exercises don’t affect the knee joint directly, but instead work on strengthening the muscles surrounding it. Having strong muscles in the feet, legs, hips and core will provide good support for our knees.


What if You Have Knee Pain?


If we’re having some mild knee pain, we should move right along to do some good knee strengthening exercises.

But if we are having intense pain, sharp, shooting, and changing our stride, then the recommendation is do not try to go for just one more run, do not try to tough it out.

  • Go to a sports medicine Doctor. They’ll do X-rays or an MRI and will look at your movement to see what might be the cause.

  • If it’s not yet that intense then going to a Physical Therapist who can review your knee movement and make good treatments and suggestions that will often resolve issues.

  • IT Bands are an extremely common cause of knee pain in runners. That can be fixed easily.

  • Start paying attention to joint and muscle health.

  • Running with some health issues that can also affect our muscles and joint injuries.

If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help reduce the pain while also improving your flexibility and range of motion.


5 Knee Strengthening Exercises


There are some good knee strengthening exercises for runners.

Recommendation to support good run and avoid injuries:

  • Learning how to do all different types of lunges with multi-directional movement with proper form is crucial to avoid running injuries.

  • We should always perform a good pre-run dynamic warm-up

  • Adding 10-15 minute core workouts in to our weekly routine is also essential to support a good running form.

  • Once we have more stability to perform some step ups or hill repeats will also provide some benefits to support knee strength.

One of the most interesting things about our bodies is that we need to work muscles from a lot of different angles. This is an issue for runners who do everything in a forward motion and why we need additional range of motion movements.

The following exercises are going to stretch all the right muscles and truly help strengthen our knees.

Repeat each exercise for each leg for 30 secs- 3 sets.

1. Resistance Band Squat


Squatting with resistance bands targets the glutes, quadriceps, and hip adductor muscles. Secondary muscles this exercise targets include the back and core, which our body needs for balance and stabilization.


  • Start by looping a band above the knees with feet shoulder-width apart.

  • Slowly bend the knees and lower into a squat as if sitting back into a chair. Keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles engaged.

  • While lowering into a squat, push out to keep your knees in line with your toes.

  • Banded squats work our muscles harder than regular squats and help us maintain a better form.

  • Repeat the exercise, and try holding the sit position a few seconds longer as you get stronger.

2. Resistance Band Single Leg March


The banded march is an excellent knee strengthening exercise that helps target the quads.


  • Loop the band around a solid post. Put your left leg through the band, anchor just above the back of your knee, and then bend and press down your left leg.

  • Tighten your core and raise your right knee to hip height at the same time. Do it in a slow and controlled manner to reap the most benefits from this move.

3. Resistance Band Single Leg Moving Off Ground


This exercise is great for targeting our glutes and improving stability when we run. The starting position for this exercise is the same as the banded march.

  • Keeping your leg in the same loop, turn so that band is on the inside of the knee and with enough tension to pull the leg towards the band resist and hold while raising the other leg.

  • For a more advanced version, hold and pause while moving your free leg and arms in a running motion.

  • In this position, you’re copying a run which makes it an ideal knee strengthening exercise for runners by thinking of what is a run.

During a run, we’re on one foot at a time which means our body needs to be able to balance so that our hips don’t shift and in turn don’t create unnecessary pressure on our knees.


4. External Hip Rotation


External hip rotation helps increase range of motion and ensure our hips are fully open while promoting flexibility.

  • In a reverse tabletop position, rotate your right leg out to the side so that your knee is near the ground and your heel is pointing to the sky. Return to starting and rotate the leg inward towards your other leg.

  • Repeat on the left side. You might notice being tighter on one side, and that’s completely normal. It just helps you identify where you need to focus more. Keep your hips high up the whole time.


5. Resistance Band Lying Down- Knee Strengthening- Hip Extension

Weak glutes and tight hip flexors cause the pelvis to tilt forward, which may increase knee pain. The lying down hip extension is an excellent resistance band exercise for increasing the range of motion in the hip flexors, which will reduce knee pain.

  • Start this exercise lying on your back with a resistance band wrapped under your foot, with your knee to your chest.

  • Slowly extend your knee until your leg is fully extended, then return to the start with the knee bent to the chest.


Always keep in mind that muscle soreness after a hard workout is normal. But sharp, shooting, or sudden pain in the muscles or joints means we should stop and seek medical advice as soon as possible.

We shouldn’t stop from running because our knees feel a bit sore. Instead, we need to find the cause by performing stretches and exercises to fix it.


5 Knee Strengthening Exercises for Knee Pain and Recovery Video: https://vimeo.com/694769509


Perform Good Knee Exercises, Strengthen and Release Knee Pain, Feel Good & Enjoy A Great Run!