As your body’s largest joint, your knee bears the weight of your body. Simple acts such as walking can cause pain if your knees are not in proper alignment. To ensure alignment, strengthen the muscles around your knee and keep your knee joint flexible through stretching exercises. Knee exercises do challenge your joints, but pain is a sign that you are overdoing it.
Leg Swing Exercises
Leg swing exercises target the sides of the thigh, hips and buttocks. Begin slowly, especially if you've been sedentary. As your knees become stronger, add repetitions. You should feel slightly stiff but not sore the next day.
Hold onto a straight-backed chair for balance. Lift your right leg backward slightly, planting your left foot for balance. Hold the position for three to five seconds, then gently swing your right leg forward while your left foot remains planted. Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.
Turn your body so that you are at a 90-degree angle from the chair with your right side closest to the chair. Hold onto the chair for balance, then swing your left leg to the side and away from your body. Hold the position for three to five seconds, then swing the left leg until your left foot crosses your right foot. Repeat the exercise on the other leg.
Step Up Exercises
Step-up exercises target the front and back thigh muscles, along with the hips and buttocks. Use a commercial exercise step or any platform or box 6 to 8 inches high. Your ultimate goal should be three sets of 15 repetitions for each leg.
For the front step up, face the step or platform. Step up onto it with your right leg, allowing the left leg to remain suspended from the floor. Hold the position for three to five seconds, then lower your left foot to the floor. Repeat the exercise by stepping up with your left leg.
For the lateral step up, turn your body 90 degrees to the left so that you are standing beside the step or platform. Step up with your right foot and keep your left leg suspended. Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds, then lower your left foot to the floor. Turn your body 180 degrees and repeat the exercise with your left leg.
Use a straight-backed chair or a wall to brace yourself with your left hand. Lift your right leg backward and grasp your ankle with your right hand so your foot nearly touches your buttocks. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise with the left leg. This exercise targets the quadriceps in the front of the thigh.
Sit on an exercise mat or the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Keep your spine straight and your palms on the floor as you slide your arms toward your ankles. Stop when you begin to feel your hamstring muscles stretch. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.