Strengthen Your Knees

Photo Credit: AKha CC-BY-SA-3.0 2011
Everyone needs strong knees. A knee injury can interfere with your normal activities and even prevent you from walking without a crutch or a walker. The time to think about your knees is before you experience an injury or knee pain. The knee joint is connected to and surrounded by several leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscle.. Strengthening these muscles can help you avoid a painful knee injury. Perform knee strengthening exercises 3 times each week with a day of rest between exercises.
Strengthen the quadriceps to help avoid knee injury by performing some squats. Stand up straight with your feet spread a few inches wider than your hips. Keep your hands at your sides with your palms facing your hips. Lower your shoulders and pull them back  Squeeze your abdominal muscles and look straight ahead. Inhale and bend your hips and knees at the same time while lowering your body to a sitting position. Keep your knees from going forward past your toes as you lower your body to a squatting position. Stop lowering your body and hold the position for a few seconds just as your heels begin to lift off the floor. Try to keep your feet from shifting and keep your knees and hips close together. Exhale and move your body back to a standing position by pushing up using your feet. Repeat this exercise 5 times and increase the number of repetitions when you feel stronger.
Calf raises strengthen the muscles in your lower leg. Strong calf and shin muscles can help prevent knee injury. Add a barbell weight to increase the effectiveness of the calf raise exercise. Beginners should perform calf raises without using a barbell or under the supervision of a personal trainer. Place a barbell with 10 to 20 pounds of weight on top of your shoulders, behind your head on your shoulders at the base of your neck. Breathe in and tighten your abdominal muscles. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Shift some of the weight to your heels for stability. Exhale and lift your heels off the floor in a rolling motion from heel to the ball of your foot. Your body weight will shift to the balls of your feet. Lean forward slightly to maintain your balance if necessary. Hold this position for a few seconds. Exhale and roll back until your feet are flat on the floor again and your body weight is on your heels.
Sit up tall on chair with your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your thigh muscles and hold for 10 seconds. Relax for 5 seconds and repeat the 10 second squeeze. This exercise will help strengthen the quadriceps. Strengthen the hamstring by sitting on the chair with your feet flat on the floor. Pull your heels back toward the chair seat while keeping your feet on the floor. Stop when you feel the hamstring pull slightly. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then slide your feet back toward the front of the chair. Try to do 10 repetitions of this exercise. 

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