Best Exercises to Strengthen the Legs & Deal With Knee Problems

Updated on April 4th, 2020
leg exercises for bad knees.

Sitting for long hours, bad workout techniques, health issues, or even unhealthy lifestyle habits can cause swollen or lousy knee problems. Age is also another factor that can damage the muscles or bones of legs & knees.

List of Leg Exercises for Bad Knees

Generally, we get worried about exercising the leg when we are already facing the pain. The common perception is that it may increase the strain or worsen the swollen knee(1). There are many exercises suggested by physiotherapists and fitness coaches that can help you reduce the pain and build healthy leg muscles.

However, there are some recommended exercises that can strengthen your leg muscles, which support your knee and improve flexibility. You need to be gentle with the practice and slowly increase the intensity based on the response. If your knees are not in good condition, then start with some simple stretches for quadriceps. It works for all age groups and best for the elderly who are facing knee problems.

1. Leg stretches


Stretches are the most recommended workout techniques that help in improving the flexibility of the body. It is essential to stretch your leg correctly before starting the exercise regime to avoid further strains. If you have knee pain, sit on the chair and try to lift your leg upward in slow motion. Practice this 8 to 10 times.

[ Read: Treat Knee Pain Naturally ]

2. Leg extension

  • Lay down on the floor and fold your leg towards the waist in a normal position.
  • Then take the leg forward slowly and hold the posture for 30 seconds. Next, repeat the in and out motion 8 to 10 times.

3. Straight leg raises

It strengthens quadriceps. Quadriceps is the front muscle of thigh; this stretching doesn’t put any pressure on knees.

  • Lay down on the floor with your back on exercising mat, try to bend one knee towards the floor, and place another leg flat on the surface keeping the leg straight.
  • Slowly start raising the leg to the height of the bent knee.
  • Complete a cycle by repeating the exercise 8 to 10 times at first for 2 to 3 sets each.
  • Repeat the same with other legs.

[ Read: Stretches for Knee Pain ]

4. Hamstring Curls

Hamstring Curls

The hamstring is the muscle at the back of your thigh, which provides support to the thigh. Stand with a chair on the flat surface. Keep your body posture straight from top to bottom like a palm tree.

  • Take one leg behind the but as high as you can, do not force yourself to lift the leg high beyond your comfort zone.
  • Repeat the same with the other leg and hold the posture for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 8 to 10 times to complete on set.
  • Try doing 2 to 3 sets with each leg.

You can also lay down on the floor with your stomach at the floor and back towards the ceiling and try folding the legs towards you. Hold the posture for 30 seconds and repeat the same cycle 2 to 3 times.

[ Read: Physical Therapy for Knee Pain ]

5. Backward straight leg raises

leg lifting

Lay down on the floor by putting your face towards the surface. Bring both hands towards the chest and hold it there. Try to lift your leg straight towards the ceiling as high as you can.

  • Hold the posture for 15 seconds at initial and increase the intensity slowly.
  • Try both the leg 8 to 10 times in one set and repeat the same for 2 sets.
  • If you feel back pain, then do not hold it for longer.

6. Calf Raises

  • Stand straight on your feet.
  • Take back support with the wall or couch as required.
  • Bring both the feet together at the same line and take your heels up and trying raising it as high as you can then bring it down to the floor.
  • Repeat the steps for 10 to 15 times and complete the set for 2 to 3 times.

[ Read: Get Rid of Fluid on the Knee Naturally ]

7. Step-up

  • Take a small piece of wooden log in square shape or stand on the stairs.
  • Try stepping up on one step and get down with the other one, change the leg and step up with the second leg and step down with the other one.
  • Follow the process similar to the stairs climbing in a little faster motion.
  • Maintain the speed as per your comfort.
  • Try doing it 10 to 15 repetitions in 3 sets.

8. Side leg raises

  • Lay down on the floor side by side with straight legs.
  • Try to bend the bottom leg slowly and straighten the upper leg.
  • Raise the upper leg to 45 degrees and hold the posture for 15 seconds.
  • Repeat the same with the other leg and repeat the cycle for 10 to 15 times.

Regular workouts can improve the blood flow into the muscles(2), making them stronger and healthier. Exercise improves the overall mobility of the muscle and bones, resulting in which you get stronger muscles and achieve flexibility, which can reduce the strain on the knees. People with bad knee condition can deal with the problem with regular practicing.

You can also maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise to reduce the extra stress from your knees. Simple stretches improve muscle condition and also prevent chronic conditions such as arthritis. The physiotherapist suggests the regular movement of the legs to improve the blood flow and oxygen required for muscle health.


Healthy dietary and lifestyle habits are also essential to get the best out of the above-mentioned workout techniques. In case you experience any discomfort while practicing these exercises, immediately contact your doctor for treatment and further suggestions. If you have long term knee problems, it is recommended to workout as per the physician’s suggestion.


1. Is walking good for bad knees?

Walking helps in lubricating and nourishing the joints that, in turn, helps in treating and also preventing bad knees.

2. How can I naturally rebuild my knee cartilage?

The best natural way to rebuild knee cartilage is by nourishing the body with foods. Legumes, oranges, brown rice, pomegranates, nuts, and Brussel sprouts are some of such standard foods to rebuild or repair knee cartilage.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top

Sign up for our Newsletter !
Get access to quality &
Natural Health Tips right from the Experts
Subscribe !
Send this to a friend