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Exercises to Strengthen Your Knees

Strengthening your knees isn't just important for having optimal fitness and sports performance, it's also important for preventing serious injuries, like tears to the crucial ligaments in and surrounding your knees. Certain strengthening exercises can help build the muscles in your legs that help support your knees and give you the confidence you need to exercise without having to worry about injury.

Wall squats are a convenient exercise you can do from home without any equipment. Stand with your back facing a smooth-surfaced wall. Lean back so your entire back is flush with the wall. Spread your legs more than shoulder-width apart and plant them firmly on the floor. Place your hands on your thighs for support. Slowly bend your knees and slide your back down the wall until your upper legs are parallel with the ground. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, then slowly slide back up the wall. Repeat three to four times as part of your knee-strengthening exercise routine.

A simple step up platform or exercise box is all you need for this workout that targets your upper leg muscles that support your knees. Stand parallel to the box or step and plant your inside leg firmly on the step. Lift your other leg off the floor and leg it hang in the air. Hold this position for three to five seconds, then return your hanging leg to the floor. Repeat 10 to 12 times, then switch legs.

Another exercise that doesn't require any special equipment, the single leg dip just calls for a couple household chairs. Turn two chairs so the backs are facing each other and spaced about 2 feet apart. Stand between the chairs with one hand on the back of one chair and the other hand on the back of the second chair. Lift one leg and extend it out in front of you. Bend your other leg at the knee and slowly lower yourself down as far as you can. Hold this position for one second, then raise your body back up. Repeat 10 to 12 times, then switch legs and do another 10 to 12 repetitions.

A resistance band is all you'll need for this exercise that targets the powerful hamstring muscles. Attach one end of the band to a doorknob or other similar object for stability. Attach the other end to one foot. Lie on the floor on your stomach with that foot in the air with your knee bent. Pull your foot towards your buttocks, against the resistance of the band. Do 10 to 12 repetitions, then rest and repeat for the other leg.

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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.