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  • Writer's pictureSarah and Martin Moesgaard

Say Goodbye to Knee Pain with this Simple Routine for Stronger, Healthier Knees

Updated: Jan 9

After age 40, metabolism starts to slow and a lot of people experience a frustrating decline in their ability to move easily and without pain. But we know that age does have to limit a person’s health, nor their ability to do the things they enjoy. 


One of the most common concerns I hear from clients is that knee pain prevents them from doing the things they need and want to do, like climb stairs easily, get down to the floor to play with kids, or take the dog for a long walk. 


If this sounds familiar to you, try adding this 7 Key Knee Exercises Workout to your daily routine. You will build strength, increase range of motion, and improve resilience in the structures that support your knee joints. 



How to use this workout guide for less knee pain


Man kneeling on one knee
1. READ

Read through the instructions below before trying each exercise.  


2. WATCH

Watch the video demonstrations linked at the end of the instructions.


3. PRINT

Click on the orange PRINT PHOTO GUIDE button below to see a downloadable, printable PDF of the quick reference guide that you can save to your computer or phone, or print to take to the gym, or use daily at home.


4. CONTACT US

Contact us for more information or to schedule a training session to learn each exercise in detail. 

Call/text (859) 333-9402 or click the FREE CONSULTATION button.






Instructions



1. STEP DOWNS


Strong, mobile calf muscles stabilize your knees and absorb shock, reducing impact on knee joints.


The first rule of Step Downs: keep your supporting/standing hip straight and open - do not bend, or flex, at the hip as you move through this exercise. 


  • Start standing on a box, low step, or small stool. You can use a hand on the wall, rail, or kitchen/ bathroom counter for balance. 

  • Keep your hips open as you bend your supporting knee and tap your free heel down to the ground, a lower box, or a pillow. 

  • Stretch your supporting leg and keep rising until you are on tip toe.

  • Return to standing.

  • Repeat this exercise 8-10 times on each side.


2. HALF SIDE PLANK ABDUCTOR


Strong outer hip muscles help stabilize your entire leg as you move.


Starting position: lie on your side with knees bent; press into your forearm and lift your hips off of the floor. Keep your hips lifting as high as you can for the entire exercise.


  • From the starting position with knees together, lift your top leg a bit higher until you feel your outer hip muscle working. 

  • Lower your top leg until your knees touch again.  Make sure your hips are still lifted in a side plank position.

  • Repeat lifting a lowering 8-10 times on each side.


Read more about Mindfulness in Strength Training here.


3. SLIDING BRIDGE


This exercises strengthens your hamstrings, which are responsible for knee flexion (bending), among other things. 


Like side planks, the key to effective bridging is to keep your hips lifted.  Start by placing furniture sliders under your heels. If you are on hardwood, tile, or linoleum, use a sock or wash cloth as a slider.


  • Lift your hips as high as you can into a bridge.

  • Slide one foot forward, then return to bridge.  Slide the other foot forward, then return. 

  • Repeat this exercise 8-10 times on each side.

  • For a more powerful exercise, trying sliding both feet out and in together. Or, for an intermediate version, slide both feet out together, then slide them in one at a time. Alternate which foot comes in first.


4. TOE RAISES


Toe Raises work the Tibialis muscle beside your shin and support the front of your knee joint. 


Start by leaning your hips into the wall.  Keep your back straight and neck long.


  • From the starting position with feet flat, lift your toes as high as possible.

  • Replace your feet flat again.

  • Repeat lifting a lowering 15-20 repetitions.


5. STRAIGHT LEG LIFT


If your legs feel heavy, training your hip flexors will help you feel lighter and move more easily. Strong hip flexors can also diminish low back pain.


For this exercise, keep a tall spine by hugging your bent leg.  Keep your shoulders down and your bottom leg straight. Sit against a wall for more support.

 

  • Using your arms to hug your bent leg, lift your bottom leg as high as you can. 

  • Lower the lifted leg with control. 

  • Repeat this exercise 8-10 times on each side.



6. BENCH/ WALL LUNGE


Stretch tight quads (front of the thigh) to open the knee joint. Start slow.  This is an intense stretch.


Start on all 4's near a bench or wall.  Place your hands on the floor and step one foot close to your hands; place the other toes against the bench or wall. You can place extra padding under your knee if needed. 

 

  • Stay here in the starting position for a few breaths. If this is a big stretch in your thigh or knee, stay another few breaths and then come out. 

  • For more stretch, rise up. Place hands on your front leg for support or let them hang.  Open your chest.

  • For further stretch, compress your hips toward the wall/bench, closing the gap between your bum and back foot. 

  • Hold for 60 secs; come out slowly, reversing your entrance. Repeat on the other leg. 


7. RECLINING FIGURE 4


This is a classic stretch for tight glutes, hips, and low back, which can all create imbalance and be felt as pain in your knees. 


This can also be done using a bench or wall.


  • Start by placing both feet on a bench or wall and scoot your bum as close as possible to the bench/wall. It is fine if your hips are a bit off the ground.

  • Cross one ankle over your opposite knee/thigh. exhale complete as you let your hips sink toward the floor. Make sure shoulders are resting on the floor and tuck your chin in slightly so you neck is long and breathing is easy. 

  • Hold for 60 secs or more.  Exit slowly and rest in neutral position before moving on to the other  side. 



Click on the video below to see demonstrations of all of the exercises included in this workout.




For more workouts, visit our YouTube channel: TrainMovePlayPT


Click on the button below for the printable photo-guide of all of the exercises included in this workout.




Train Smart. Move Well. Play Hard, friends.




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Disclaimer: We hope you find this workout guide helpful. Please remember that participation in exercise involves inherent risks and dangers, including the risk of personal injury or health-related issues.  By using the TrainMovePlay workout guides, you assume full responsibility for these risks. It is advisable to seek professional medical advice if you have any doubts about your ability to safely participate in these workouts. If needed, you should follow the guidance and restrictions set by your healthcare provider. By using our workout guides, you agree to waive, release, and discharge TrainMovePlay, LLC, its owners, trainers, staff, and affiliates from any claims, liabilities, or demands that may arise from your participation in the workouts, including any claims related to personal injury or loss of property, whether caused by negligence or otherwise. Thank you.

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