Knee pain has become common in many of us, especially for runners who have to deal with this pain in one situation or the other. However, how to deal with knee pain and strengthen it so that you can lead a better quality of life?

To strengthen a knee that is already painful, do knee contraction and relaxation, swiss ball hamstring press, and knee contraction using a loop band. After some time hamstring curl, static squat, seated squat, and lying side raises can be done.

How to strengthen your knees when you have knee pain

Why do you get knee pain?

Knee pain can happen because of being overweight, having a lesser bone density, due to pregnancy, or having conditions like arthritis.


Knee pain can happen due to a lot of reasons. The first and primary reason is being overweight.

If you are overweight, the tendons, hamstring, and quad muscles cannot take the load. Also, the fluid that is present in the knee also cannot take the load and may cause the bones to slightly rub against each other. At a later stage, this may give rise to arthritis.

The femur and tibia bones may be weak and cannot take the load as well.

Lesser bone density

Another major reason for knee pain is due to D3 deficiency. If this is the case, even people with a healthy weight can suffer from knee pain.

In such cases, generally, doctors recommend D3 and calcium supplements.


When someone is pregnant, to accommodate the growing baby, the size of the pelvic girdle increases. Also, there is an increase in load on the body.

If your muscles are already weak, then your knees will not be able to take the load and it will cause you pain in the knees.

Muscles and bones in the knees

The structure of the knees is quite complex. It is a combination of a lot of muscles and bones. All these should be in good condition and should have the proper strength to carry the load of your body.

Structure of knee and surrounding muscles

Although there are many muscles surrounding the knees, one of the most important muscles is the Quadriceps.


The muscles that makeup quadriceps are:

  • Rector Formis
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Medialis

Combined together they are one of the biggest muscle groups in the body. Most of the time, the pain in the knees originates due to the weakness in these muscle groups.

These are the muscles that provide strength to the knees from the front. From the back, the knee joint gets its strength from the Hamstrings.


There are three muscles that create the hamstrings.

  • Biceps formis
  • Semitendinosus
  • Semimembranosus

Together they provide a good amount of support to the knees from the back.

Apart from the muscles, the knee area also gets its strength from three major bones.

  • Tibia
  • Fibula
  • Femur

The femur is the longest bone in the body. If any of these bones are weak, you will have pain in your knees.

When you are having pain, one of the best ways to deal with the pain is to strengthen the surrounding muscles.

However, the kind of exercises or precautions that you need to take depends on the severity of the pain that you have.

Precaution: Knee Cap/Knee Brace

If you are having pain while walking, you need to use a knee cap or knee brace as the first step to getting back to your normal lifestyle.

These braces are mainly made up of compression materials and will hold your knees in place and will not allow you to move around.

This is good for anyone having instability in the knees.

Exercises to strengthen knees

There are various exercises that you can do to strengthen your knees so that you can lead a more pain-free life.

Knee Contraction/relaxation

This will strengthen all around the knees and will improve knee stability. Steps:
  • Sit on the floor with a straight back.
  • Stretch your legs in front.
  • Squeeze your knees area as much as possible.
  • Hold it for 3 counts.
  • Release.
  • Do this 50 times, for 3 sets.

Swissball hamstring press

You will need a swiss ball for this exercise. Steps
  • Lie down with your back on the floor.
  • Spread both of your hands on the side so that your upper body doesn’t move.
  • Place your legs on the swiss ball so that your lower leg is perpendicular to the things.
  • Now roll the swiss ball with your legs until your legs are straight.
  • Now raise your hip until your body is in a straight line.
  • Do this 20 times for 3 sets.

Knee contraction using loop band

This is a variation of the knee contraction and relaxation, however, will help to improve the strength of your knees faster. However, start doing this exercise only after you have done the first knee contraction relaxation for a couple of weeks. Also, start with the lightest resistance band at first, so that you don’t accidentally damage your knees. Equipment: Long resistance bands. Use the loop band and not the resistance tubes. Steps
  • Tie the loop band at your knee level.
  • Stand inside the loop of the loop band with the loop band at the back of your knee joint.
  • Start moving backward until you feel a good pull from the loop band.
  • Now just bend your knees and straighten them.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.
Once you have done these exercises for a couple of weeks, you can include the below exercises in your routine.

Free hamstring curl

This is a no-weights version of hamstring curl. After a couple of weeks, you can start adding lighter weights or resistance bands to these curls. Steps
  • Lie down on your abs with your legs stretched straight backward.
  • With the help of your hamstrings fold the lower part of your leg slowly.
  • Now unfold the legs and go back to the starting position.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.

Static Squat

  • Stand with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Spread your hands in front.
  • Now push your hips backward and start going down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • An explosive movement come up while squeezing your glutes.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.

Seated Squat

This is a variation of the free squat. If you are unable to do static squat, you can go for this variation which will be a bit easier for beginners. Steps
  • Place a box or a chair behind you.
  • Stand with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Spread your hands in front.
  • Now push your hips backward and start going down until you can sit on the box or chair.
  • An explosive movement come up while squeezing your glutes.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.
Precaution: If you are using a chair, make sure its back is placed against the wall.

Lying Side Leg Raise

  • Lie down on your side.
  • Make sure your body and your legs are in a straight line.
  • Now raise the top leg as high as possible.
  • Bring it down gradually but don’t touch the other leg.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.
Knee strength Knee Pain
Madhusree Basu

Madhusree Basu

Author, Admin

Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.

Sourav Sarkar

Sourav Sarkar

Reviewer, Certified Fitness Instructor

Certified fitness trainer and an ex-professional bodybuilder, he has trained more than 500 fitness enthusiasts and has more than 15 years of on-the-job experience.