Knee Strength Exercises

Knee Strength Exercises
Strong knees mean longer and more profound enjoyment of an abundance of outdoor activities. Recreational activities from skiing to hiking to basketball will all suffer if your knees aren't in good shape. Your enjoyment of these and other activities will certainly be diminished if you don't make your knees as strong as possible. One bad move can wipe you out for months at a time so it pays to focus on increasing knee strength during your workout.

Knee Extensions

Knee extensions are accomplished on a universal weight machine or Nautilus machine, but you can also do this exercise to a point simply by wearing ankle weights and sitting on a chair. According to "Basic Weight Training for Men and Women" the last 20 degrees of the range of motion of knee extensions helps to build up the muscle that draws the kneecap toward the center of the joint. This exercise is done in a sitting position in which you draw up the weight with the tops of your ankles in a slow and continuous motion to the point of making your knees straight before smoothly lowering the weight again. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Squats

Squats can help you work out the muscles surrounding your knee while also giving your thigh muscles a workout. To take away the pressure and impact of using weights when you squat, replace with a large stability ball. Press your back against this big inflatable ball so that you are pressing the ball against the wall. Slowly lower yourself to floor until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your back straight and ensure that your knees are aligned with your middle toes. As your knees move forward when you lower yourself, be sure not to allow them to move past your toes. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Static Inner Quad Contraction

The static inner quad contraction is a very low impact exercise to strengthen your knees that requires only a towel and a place to lay your leg. Sit on a bench so one food is on the floor while you have your other leg stretched out straight. A rolled-up towel should be placed beneath your lower knee so that it is very slightly bent. Doing this exercise right requires concentration and attention to detail. Place your fingers against your inner thigh muscles while pressing your knee down into the rolled towel. When you can feel your inner quad muscle contract, hold for a count of five before releasing. Repeat with each leg 10 times.

Reverse Step-Up

The reverse step-up exercise is highly recommended for those who experience pain while hiking and backpacking. You need a box or bench that is anywhere from 6 to 10 inches high. Stand in front of it and then step back with one foot so that it is on the bench with your toes turned outward at a 10-degree angle. Slowly step up with your other leg, but do not place it on the box. Instead, keep your dominant leg in the air, then lower it back down to the ground. Repeat 10-12 times.

Article Written By Timothy Sexton

Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for Zappos.com, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.

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