Knee Strengthening Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody, it’s Doctor Jo, and today I’m going to show you some knee strengthening exercises. Let’s get started. So I’m going to start off with some pretty simple exercises, and then we will progressively get to a little bit harder exercises. So we’re going to start off in the chair first, and just a simple kick out with your leg is going to work those quad muscles for your knee. And those quads are connected to the knee cap, which is really important to help all that strengthening there. So make sure you’re sitting comfortably in the chair, make sure that your back is supported so you don’t have to worry about your posture, sitting nice and upright and just really slowly kick out and try and straighten out that leg as much as you can. Pulling up your toes helps kind of lock everything out when you come up and then slowly come back down, so it’s a really controlled movement. You’re not just dropping your leg back down. So even if you don’t have any weights, if you go nice and slow, squeeze at the end, you really get a good workout in those quad muscles. If you can do 20 or 25 pretty easily, then you can add some ankle weights if you have just something like a 2-3 pound that works great, and so it would be the same kind of thing, nice slow controlled movement. At the end squeezing, making sure that muscle tightens, and then slowly come back down. So once you have the weight on there, make sure you’re not just dropping it down because that might cause some injury, really control that movement both up and down. So start off with just about 10, do a couple sets of 10, and then if that’s pretty easy, the next day then start working your way up from there. Then the next one is going to be for your hip, but it’s still working the knee because they’re all connected, so this time just coming up this movement. So those hip flexors that are all kind of connected into the thigh and the knee, and again that slow controlled motion up and down. If that gets pretty easy, again you can add on that ankle weight and control up and slowly back down. So even if you want to do a count of three: one, two, three for that control, one, two, three. That makes it a little bit harder so you don’t have to do 20 or 30 before you get tired. If you go really slow, that’s going to really work those muscles to help get you stronger. The next exercise is going to be a simple sit to stand progression. So to start off with, it’s going to be just like it sounds. You’re going to go from sit to stand, but working on the muscles instead of using momentum to get up. So the best way to do that is put your feet about shoulder width apart. You want them to stay flat. A lot of times when people go up and down they try to get on the balls of their feet, but you want to keep weight equal in the front and the back in the heels, so when you come up you want to lean your upper body forward to get the weight shifted to the front. So it’s going to be coming up this way, and then nice and controlled come back down, but when you come back down to the sitting, try and keep those knees behind your toes as well. Sometimes people when they do a squat try and come down like this. So when you use the chair, it really helps you to have a target. So just nice and slow controlling it, try not to plop down. Sometimes if you don’t have a lot of strength in the knees and the legs and the hips, you kind of end up plopping down, but really try and control that coming back down getting that nice smooth motion. If this is pretty easy coming up and down, then try it without actually sitting all the way down. So your bottom is just going to tap the chair now, but it’s still going to be there, so if you feel like you can’t get all the way back up, you can just sit back down in the chair. So this time you come up, tap down, and then back up. So again still keep your upper body fairly straight, you’re moving at your hips, you’re pushing your hips back. Like for the women know, if you’re squatting over the toilet, men might not understand that, but you really have to get that booty back, and come back up. But my knees are staying behind my toes, so it’s not this. It’s coming back like that. So once that becomes easy, then you can do the squats without touching the chair at all. So you’re just coming down and back up doing the squats, but I recommend keeping the chair there just in case you get tired and you need to sit down, that it’s there just in case, but keeping that good form, knees behind the toes, back straight, sticking the butt back, and then coming down now. If the chair’s too low, you can also add a little box or something to make it so you don’t have to go down as far. So then you’re only squatting to about here, and then you’re tapping whatever is in the chair so you can do it building it up and taking it down lower. If all of those are easy, then you can go to squatting with one foot. I suggest with that, if you’re going to do a one leg squat, have a countertop or put the chair in front of you. So this time you would want it in front of you because a lot of times if people are going to go, they’re going to go forward with the one leg squat versus backwards. So just on one foot start off slow with just a little squat there so you don’t have to go super far, but if you feel like you’re going to fall, you’ve got something to hold on to, and you can even start holding on still trying to keep that knee pretty much behind the toe, and coming up, and then you can go without holding on. The next one’s going to be a step-up. For step-ups, the best thing to do is actually on a step where there’s rails, so you have something to hold on to for balance if you need to. You can use just a step if you’ve got a box of solid box of something, some boards to make it different heights, you can do that because you might want to start off with something small just like two inches. So maybe even if you have a curb somewhere where you can work on that would be good too, but just make sure that you’re doing it safely, you have something to hold on to even if it’s a cane or stick or somebody else, but make sure that if your balance isn’t great, you’re using something to hold on to. With the step up, same thing, you want it to be controlled. You don’t want to use momentum to do it, so I like having people start off with their foot staying on the step the whole time, but going in that slow controlled motion where I tell people to count to three. So you’re going to go up one, two, three, and then down one, two, three. So it’s not just up and down where you’re using momentum, you want to make sure those muscles are engaging and working and getting stronger. So again nice and slow up and slow coming back down. So as you can see, if you slow it down you’re only going to need to do about ten if you can get to 20-25 really easily, then you might want to try a higher step. If you’re having a really hard time, you feel like you have to jump up on the step, then make sure you take it back down to just one or two inches to start off with. So make sure that it’s something you can do in a controlled motion, and then go up or down from there. The last exercise is going to be a lunge. So for the lunges, having the target is going to be different for the step ups. The higher the target is easier, the smaller the target is going to be a little bit harder. So if you start off with the lunges, you might want something a little higher a box or a little step in between because you’re going to do a lunge, and if the target is higher you don’t have to go down as far, so you just want to go to where your knee kind of touches the target. So for example, here it’s just tapping on that box, but my upper body should stay pretty upright and my knee shouldn’t go in front of my toes, so I’m not doing that lunge motion, I’m going straight down trying to keep my upper body fairly straight. So you can see if I touch the target there, I’m not going all the way to the floor so if that becomes easy, all i have to do is take that out of the way, and then go all the way down and just tap the floor. But same thing if the box is too hard then you just keep building it up and you can start just from there and have that target to tap on. So again just starting off with 10 making sure you’re going slow and controlled, switching sides after you do that, and then working your way up from there. Whoo! I feel like this guy after all those exercises. Those were your knee strengthening exercises. If you’d like to help support us to keep these awesome videos going, click on the box up here and donate, and also get some cool perks. And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

61 Replies to “Knee Strengthening Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. thank you so much for this. much much better than my actual physio was. I totally could not do the tall step they started me on with my knee injury and osteoarthritis. so are all these doable safe with the modifications? I love all the levels you share with us.

  2. Question: why not create tension as you're lifting your leg slowly? For those that don't have ankle weights?

  3. please dr. jo..make a thorough and complete video on anterior pelvic tilt, why does it take place and its treatment through exercises…it will be a gr8 help….can we communicate through mail?

  4. I did a lot of these in therapy, working on my patella. Will these help on "runner's knee"? I tend to get it in my left knee sometimes.

  5. great work…
    i will apprciate to you v.much if you give me instruction to help me in my problem in my hand cause i think i am sufering of carbal tunnel problem

  6. Thank you for making this video! That is helpful and gives you ways to improve your legs gradually.

  7. Is it wise to do these with diminishing cartilage? Weight on my knees make things quite difficult.

  8. Can you PLEASE do a video about how to stretch legs. knee syatic ham everything about the leg. please

  9. Thank you so much, love your videos and expression 🙂 & I was wondering that if you can make a full body stretch before the workout or any kind of sports is it possible for you to make video…

  10. whew! That was some exercise for my knees. I did one set of ten reps of each. The last one I was able to just do 5 each knee lol.. Well hard cus I got knee injury from car crash along with lower back and glute injury 😒

  11. Hi Dr. Jo. I have a question. I got an x-ray on my right knee and it came back showing nothing significant. Basically normal. However, my right knee gets fatigued, feels rubbery/hollow sometimes and it has buckled slightly in the past, but no pain. I've been wearing an open patella neoprene knee brace for support and that helps. I find it deloads it and allows active rest/recovery. I have mild genu varum and the x-ray showed the Q-angle was a little greater on right side. I just did a tape measure on my mid-patella and my right is 1/2 inch bigger at 14 inches and my right is 13.5 inches. Is this clinically significant or relevant? I couldn't find any norms online.

  12. Hi Dr.Jo , I have little cracking/popping sound in my right knee with no pain
    Will these exercises help me get rid of the cracking ?

  13. I want to do some backpacking this summer (I am 66) and know these will help me get ready in a safe way. Thanks so much!

  14. Hii doctor I love ua videos my mom having issue of RA since 3 years she started ur excersise from yesterday but she is getting pains and she is feeling tired … Is that because she is doing first time excersise?

  15. Thank you very much but I have in addition to knee torn ligaments a ankle torn ligaments with some swelling around the leg ankle joint😯

  16. So its the effected leg you have to work out right?& the leg which you are putting foward is the effected leg right?thanks

  17. Hello Dr Jo. I am having my cast removed after six weeks in a cast next week from a broken ankle. What exercise will you suggest for me. Thank you ☺️

  18. Hi doctor Jo, 72 yo male, not much of knee pain, just not flexible enough, your toughs on what type of exercises or stretching, equipment and medicine (sometimes I take meloxican 7.5 mg) would you recommend. thank you in advanced.

  19. I am grateful for your videos. Your experience and expertise is awesome. I trust what you say vs. other YouTube videos. Also, you get to the point vs. lots of self promotion or giving too much info.

  20. Thank you Doctor,I am 36 yrs old female. I have swelling on my left knee. My physiotherapist told me that my muscles are week and thigh muscle is tight. Doing some small excersises. I follow your patellar tendonitis and IT band exercises. It gives me good result. But if I stand for sometime I feel tightness in knee and calf.can you please suggest me the excersise which is suitable for me.

  21. Buy a printable worksheet with the Knee Strengthening Exercises in this video here:

  22. My knee hurts really bad. It hurts more with dance. The pain is on the inner side of my left knee. What can I do to relieve the pain? It hurts alot. Sometimes it feels like its pinching from the inside. At times its extreme pressure or something.

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