Whether it's walking on the sidewalks and streets or climbing stairs, we put a lot of pressure on our knees in our everyday lives. Add in the trauma that can be caused during exercise or athletic activities, and you can see why knee injuries are common.
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Not only does building knee strength help prevent injury, but it can also help your performance. Joel Harper, author of MIND YOUR BODY: 4 Weeks to a Leaner, Healthier Life, is a supporter of knee exercises, especially those performed with knees floating in the air to work them from every angle.
"If you feel any tightness or discomfort in your knees, it most likely comes from muscle imbalance," Harper says. "Make sure you get rid of the tension by stretching and massaging before putting stress on your knees."
Harper has developed a knee exercise routine to strengthen the joints in a safe way. To get the best results, aim to perform each movement at a high intensity for two minutes.
1. Knee Bounces
Purpose: Strengthens your knees with an emphasis on the quads.
Get Ready: Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
Go: With soft elbows, lift your knees one inch off the ground and bounce your knees one inch, up and down, for one minute in the air. Then, sway your knees from side to side, one inch, for one minute. To make this move more challenging, hop your feet up and off the mat one inch each time your knees come up.