How To Strengthen & Protect Your Knees Against Injury
Knee injuries are a risk no matter what sport or activity you do. Whether you're skiing, snowboarding or running, the impact on your knees can lead to injury that hurts you both physically and mentally so preventing it altogether is the optimal solution. Strengthening your knees can help prevent injury, but how exactly should you go about it?
Exercises to Strengthen Knees
The best way to prevent knee injuries is to strengthen your knees. This will help you relieve the regular stress placed on the knee joint. With less strain on the knee joint, you’ll be able to increase your chances to relieve pain and avoid re-injury.
The easiest way is to incorporate strengthening exercises into your daily routine. Your joints themselves are not affected, instead, knee strengthening exercises work by strengthening and toning the muscles around your knee. When your muscles are in good shape, especially your quadriceps, they take away the weight from your knees and provide additional support and stability. Exercise not only helps strengthen the knee and surrounding tissues but also benefits your joints by keeping their range of motion active.
Warm-up beforehand to get the most out of your workout. Even a short 2-minute stretch can count. The following are a few strengthening exercises for you to try.
If you have a history of knee pain or knee injuries, don’t forget to consult your doctor to make sure that these exercises are safe for you. If you’ve never done these exercises before, start small and slowly build up your routine.
Straight Leg Raises
This exercise is excellent for your quadriceps and abdominal muscles. It puts little to no strain on your knee joint.
Start with laying down on the yoga mat. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on either side. Straighten one of your legs, flexing your foot, and raise it while keeping the other bent. Keep this leg straight and hold it up for 5 seconds and slowly lower it down. Repeat the movement 10 times on each side for three reps.
Don’t forget to keep your back straight - do not arch it.
This exercise targets your hamstrings and glutes. Stand straight and hold onto a chair, wall or object to maintain your balance. Keeping your thighs parallel to each other, slowly bend one of your knees behind your body and then back down to straighten. If this gets easier for you, add some ankle weights. To avoid locking your knee, keep a slight bend in your straight leg. Do this 10 times on each side for three reps.
This exercise does not only work your quadriceps, hamstrings and hip flexors, but also triceps. Place your hands behind your body on a stable chair and keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Bend your knees, careful not to extend them past your toes, and breathe as you slowly lower yourself close to the floor. Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly push yourself up as you straighten your arms.
This exercise tones your quadriceps and glutes. It might be a more advanced exercise based on your level of injury, so listen to your body. Stand with your back against the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees, walking out away from the wall so that you enter a regular sitting position while making sure your knees don’t extend past your ankles. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then slowly raise yourself back up. Repeat.
Wear Knee Support
Another way to prevent knee injuries and provide extra support for your joints is by wearing a knee support. The Stoko K1 is a compression tight with knee support integrated directly into the fabric. Made from lightweight and breathable fabric, this high-stretch supportive tight is ultra comfortable while providing medical-grade bracing without restricting your movements. This makes it the ideal solution you can wear to protect your knees.