The Best Workout for Knees

Struggling with chronic knee pain? You don’t have to suffer any longer. Discover the best workouts for achieving stronger, healthier knees and improved mobility.

Quick facts: Best Workout For Knees

  • ✅Knee-strengthening exercises, such as weight-bearing lunges, can reduce knee pain and improve mobility (Harvard Health Publishing).
  • ✅Regular exercise, including stretching and strengthening exercises, can help reduce knee pain and improve range of motion (Mayo Clinic).
  • ✅Tai chi, a low-impact exercise, may be beneficial for reducing pain and improving knee strength and stability (Johns Hopkins Medicine).
  • ✅Wearing an appropriate level of support and using correct posture during exercise can help minimize stress on the knees (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).
  • ✅Strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes can help reduce knee pain and improve function (American Physical Therapy Association).

Checkout this video:

Warm Up

Before any high-impact exercise, it’s important to warm up your knee joints and muscles. This can reduce the risk of injury and help improve your range of motion. Incorporating a few minutes of warm-up exercises prior to your workout can help you get the most out of your routine.

Let’s look at some of the best warm-up exercises to help protect your knees:

Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling is a great way to warm up your knees before your workout. It is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR), which involves applying pressure to certain points on the body known as “trigger points”.

Foam rolling can help improve mobility and flexibility in the knees, while also promoting better posture and helping to reduce pain in the joint.

Before beginning a foam rolling session, it is important to ensure that you have a foam roller that is appropriate for your size and weight. Begin by using light pressure on each roll, and focus on keeping your core engaged throughout the entire movement. When moving from one area of the knee to another, take the time to rock back and forth over specific trigger points (e.g., around the kneecap or just above it) to give them extra attention if needed. Finally, remember to keep breathing while you are foam rolling – this will help keep your body relaxed and free of tension!

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching, also known as active stretching, is a type of stretching that involves taking the body through its full range of motion with controlled movements. It is an effective way to warm up before physical activity, as it helps to increase flexibility while decreasing risk of injury.

When dynamic stretching is performed correctly and correctly timed, it can help to strengthen the joints in the knees as well as mobilize them for more intense activities. The best way to perform dynamic stretching for knees is by doing exercises that involve movements such as straight leg raises and sit-to-stands. This type of stretching also helps improve coordination and balance, which can help one move more smoothly during their workout routine.

Although static stretches are still important for overall flexibility, dynamic stretches should be done first when prepping for a workout that involves any kind of knee intensive exercise.

Strength Training

When it comes to protecting your knees and preventing injuries, strength training should be at the top of your list. Strength training involves using weights or resistance bands to exercise the muscles around the knee joint and build strength. This can help reduce the risk of knee injuries and even improve the range of motion.

Let’s take a closer look at how strength training can help your knees:


Squats are an essential strength-training exercise for any lower-body workout program. They ensure that the muscles and joints around the knees are strong enough to support activities such as walking, running, and jumping. When done correctly with proper form, squatting strengthens the quads, glutes, hamstrings, adductors and even helps improve core strength. Squats also engage the entire upper body and help stabilize your torso throughout the motion.

To do a proper squat start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with your toes slightly pointed outwards. Hinge at your hips and lower yourself down like you are sitting in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground then press through your heels to stand up again. Be sure to keep a neutral spine throughout movements and practice good posture during squats.


Lunges are one of the most effective strength training exercises for the knees. They target all the major muscles that work together to stabilize, extend, and support the knee joint—including hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves. Lunges also improve balance and core stability.

The key to performing lunges correctly is proper form. To start, stand straight with feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips. Take a big step forward with your right leg while bending it at a 90-degree angle so both legs make two right angles at the bottom position of the lunge. Keep your core engaged, torso upright and back flat throughout the exercise as you return to standing by pushing off your front foot. Repeat on your left leg for one full set of 10–12 reps per side.


Step-ups are an excellent addition to any lower body strength training program, especially for those with knee issues. The step-up exercise is also referred to as a “split squat” or “lunge” and it targets the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves. This exercise particularly strengthens the muscles around the knee joints, helping to reduce strain on the joint itself.

Begin with your feet roughly shoulder width apart, holding a barbell across your back if desired (not mandatory). Place one foot up on a box or step that is about knee height. Push off of your heel and step up onto the box using both legs simultaneously, touching down with the opposite foot and standing straight up at the top of the step. Step down with control by first bringing one foot back toward your body before extending both feet outward at once. Controlled lowering is critical in decreasing injury risk and maximizing muscular engagement throughout your workouts.

Aim for the following:

  • 8-10 reps per leg for 3 sets total

before beginning different exercises or taking a break!


Cardio is a great way to help strengthen your knees and improve their function. When done correctly, cardio can increase the range of motion in your knees and help to reduce stiffness and pain. It can also help to improve your balance and stability, and reduce the risk of injury.

Let’s explore how to choose the best type of cardio for your knees:


Walking is one of the best cardio workouts for the knees, because it is a low-impact exercise and helps keep the joint flexible. Walking puts minimal strain on the knee joint, allowing it to stay well lubricated and improve range of motion.

When walking, it’s important to wear proper footwear in order to provide more cushioning around your lower back and knees. Walking can reduce inflammation in the knee joint, helping reduce pain. It also strengthens muscles that support your knee and protects against future injuries. For people with arthritis, walking can help slow cartilage damage by providing a weight-bearing activity that helps maintain strong bones.


Cycling, also known as ‘spinning’ or ‘stationary cycling’, is a low-impact form of exercise that can help strengthen and protect your knees. Low-impact forms of exercise such as cycling put less strain on your joints and ligaments while still providing a good workout. Cycling strengthens the muscles in the legs, which helps support the knee joint.

Cycling can be done indoors or outdoors on a flat road or hill. During outdoor cycling, make sure to use an appropriate gear ratio so you don’t strain your knees too much. It’s also important to keep your bike properly maintained for added safety and comfort.

Cycling is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and overall health without putting too much stress on your knees.


Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do to keep your knees healthy. Due to the buoyancy of water, swimming is less stressful on your joints and muscles than running or other forms of high-impact exercise. Swimming also helps strengthen the muscles in and around your knee joint, helping to improve knee stability and prevent injury. Plus, it’s a great way for people with knee pain to get aerobic exercise without putting too much stress on their joints.

When swimming for knee health, start slow with low-intensity workouts such as walking or jogging in chest-deep water. Once comfortable, you can advance to more vigorous strokes like freestyle or breaststroke. Just make sure that you use proper technique so that you don’t put unnecessary strain on your knees. Building strength in the leg muscles around the knee can also help reduce knee pain over time.

Balance Exercises

Balance exercises can be beneficial for strengthening the muscles in and around the knees. These exercises can help to improve knee stability and reduce the risk of injury. However, it is important to know how to perform them correctly in order to achieve maximum benefit.

Let’s take a look at some of the balance exercises that can help strengthen the knee joints:

Single-Leg Balance

Single-leg balance exercises are an important part of knee stability training. These types of balance exercises engage multiple muscle groups and ensure that your knees remain strong and stable.

During single-leg balance, you’ll start by standing on one leg while the other leg is either slightly above the floor or completely off the ground. Once you’ve balanced on one foot, you can slowly move your arms in small circles to increase the difficulty of the exercise.

This type of exercise is beneficial for:

  • Improving knee strength and stability
  • Improving balance in general
  • Reducing stress on the knee joint, which is strongly recommended for people who are healing from a knee injury or surgery.

Single-Leg Squats

Single-leg squats are an excellent exercise for strengthening your knees and improving balance. This type of squat is performed with one leg on the ground and the other foot lifted a few inches off of the ground. The goal of this exercise is to lower your body into a squat position while keeping your back straight and maintaining constant tension throughout the entire movement.

During this exercise, several muscles in your lower body are engaged to help stabilize the hip, including gluteus maximus, rectus femoris, and vastus medialis. Additionally, core muscles are also activated to maintain trunk stability as your knee joint experiences increased loading through the single-leg squat movement. This exercise can be done with or without weight depending on a person’s fitness level.

Single-Leg Deadlifts

Single-leg deadlifts are a great exercise for knee stability, balance, and strength. This exercise can help prevent knee injuries, reduce pain, and increase coordination between the muscles in the legs. It also helps protect your knees by improving the overall strength of your muscles and ligaments around the knee joint.

To perform this exercise, stand on one leg while keeping your other foot off the ground behind you. Gently bend forward from your waist while keeping your back as straight as possible. As you lower down, reach out with one arm to maintain balance. You should feel a stretch in the hamstring of the lifted leg, but not pain or discomfort. Lower yourself as far as is comfortable and then slowly return to standing position. Repeat for 10–15 reps on each side before switching feet and repeating on the other side. Make sure to keep your core engaged through the entire movement so that you remain balanced throughout each rep.

Cool Down

It’s important to properly cool down after any workout routine, especially one focusing on the knees. Cooling down with stretches is a great way to help reduce muscle tightness and help reduce the chance of soreness after the workout.

Let’s go through some of the recommended stretches and exercises to do for a proper cool down:

Static Stretching

Static stretching is a common technique used to cool down after a workout, especially when participating in activities that use the knee joint such as running, cycling, and aerobics. Static stretching involves performing a stretch and holding it for 20-30 seconds to increase flexibility of the muscle. This type of stretching helps to reduce soreness and reduces risk of injury. It can be done with or without assistance from another person or an object like a wall.

When stretching for the knees, it’s important to make sure you don’t overstretch because that can put too much strain on them. Examples of static stretches for the knees include:

  • Toe touches
  • Quadriceps stretch
  • Butterfly stretch
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Calf stretches
  • Hip flexor stretches

This type of exercise also helps increase strength in the muscles surrounding the knee joint which leads to better stability and balance when performing daily activities.

Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling is a type of exercise which uses a cylindrical foam roller to apply pressure and massage the muscles in order to reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, and increase flexibility. Foam rolling can help relieve discomfort and pain from the knee joint caused by overuse or injury, as well as strain from standing or sitting for long periods of time. It can also help athletes warm up or cool down before or after physical activity.

To use a foam roller for knee pain relief, it’s important to start with a smaller roller at first since it can be an intense experience for some people. Slowly roll back and forth over the affected area, using as much pressure as comfortable. Move around the knee joint in different directions, making sure to cover all angles. Once you have warmed up with the smaller foam roller, you can use a larger one if desired.

Perform each movement slowly with patience – avoid jumping on the roller – and focus on taking deep breaths while holding pressure on any particularly painful areas until they begin to loosen up. Stop immediately if there is any sharp pain at any time during your foam rolling session.

FAQs about: Best Workout For Knees

Q. What is the best workout for strengthening knees?
A. Squats and lunges are the best exercises for strengthening the muscles around the knee. Additionally, calf raises and hamstring curls can help to improve knee stability.

Q. Are there any stretching exercises that can help with knee pain?
A. Yes, certain stretches can help to alleviate knee pain. Examples of stretches that can help include standing quad stretches, standing calf stretches, and seated hamstring stretches.

Q. Are there any exercises that I should avoid if I have knee pain?
A. Depending on the severity of your knee pain, you may want to avoid exercises such as deep squats, leg press, and running. It is best to consult a professional before engaging in any exercise program.

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