Running for Beginners: 12 Best Exercises To Prevent Knee Pain

Running or jogging are both without a doubt really excellent cardiovascular exercises both of which get your heart rate going and definitely help to burn fat.

Performed regularly, both help to keep weight down while strengthening the muscles. However, running (and jogging) has a downside too.

The constant pounding on the ground (or the treadmill) can play havoc with your knees, even encouraging arthritic pain in your joints.

In fact, for those with arthritis or with a family history of osteoporosis and arthritis, running could lead to prolonged bone issues.

If you do run, even if you don’t currently experience knee pain, you should definitely factor in some knee strengthening exercises to keep health issues at bay.

Here’s a list of some excellent knee exercises to prevent knee pain.

Why not try them as part of your warm-up, before running, or after you cool down?

They will help to strengthen all the supporting muscles around the knee while stretching the ITB (iliotibial band), this is the area that runs along the outer side of the thigh, so maintaining the health of your knees.

1. Knee Bends

Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

Start by standing straight against a wall, your knees should be positioned hip-width apart.

Turn your feet slightly outwards.

Slowly slide your back down the wall while you bend your knees.

However, don’t let your knees go further than your toes.

Your knees should point in the same direction as your feet.

Slowly raise back up and tense your bottom as you do so.

You can do this exercise with a Swiss ball behind your back, this also gives your back a comfortable massage!

2. Thigh Contractions

Do three sets on each leg.

You need a chair for this exercise.

Sit on the chair with a straight back.

Start with both feet on the floor and then raise up your right leg until it is perfectly straight.

Your foot should point outwardly, in a flexed position.

Hold this position for 15 seconds while squeezing your thigh.

Repeat with the other leg.

To make it harder, use an ankle weight.

3. Side Lifts

Do three sets of ten on each leg.

Lay down on your right hand side, then, position your legs straight but stack them one on top of the other.

Rest your head on top of your right hand arm while placing your other hand on your hip to help balance.

Lift your top leg up as far as you can and lower slowly. Repeat with your other leg.

4. Glute Bridges

Do three sets.

Lay on the floor on your back.

Then, raise your bottom and hips up off the floor as high as you can while squeezing your buttocks tight.

Hold for a second and lower down slowly. Repeat x 10.

5. Leg Raises

Do three sets of ten repetitions per leg.

Use the same chair as before and sit up straight with your bottom firmly placed to the back of the chair.

Then, raise your left leg and straighten it out, position your foot so it points outwardly.

Raise the same leg up and down ten times slowly while keeping your thigh nice and tight.

Your leg should not touch the floor.

Repeat the exercise with your right leg. To make it harder, use an ankle weight.

6. Squats

Do three sets of ten repetitions.

Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and your feet facing forwards.

Lower into a squat (as if you’re sitting onto a chair) but don’t let your bottom go lower than your knees.

Hold for a second, with tight buttocks and raise up slowly.


7. Sumo Squat

Do three sets of ten repetitions.

Rather like the squat above, this is a slightly different position in that you turn your feet outwards and squat in the same way.

The sumo squat stretches your inner thigh while also strengthening the knees.

Hold for a second with tight buttocks as you squat and then raise up slowly.


8. Single Leg Squat

Do three sets of five repetitions.

This is the same as the regular squat but you perform it with a single leg.

So, you squat with one leg raised and lightly bent holding the weight on your other leg.

Bear in mind that it is harder than regular squats so there are less repetitions.

9. Single Leg Sumo Squat

Do three sets of five repetitions.

This single leg squat is similar to the sumo squat, in that you stand with your legs hip-width apart, feet turned outwardly, except you squat with one leg raised and slightly bent while holding the weight on your other leg.

It is harder than regular sumo squats, so you perform less repetitions per leg.

10. Hamstring Stretch

This exercise requires three sets performed on each leg.

Using the same chair as before, sit on the edge.

Bend your right leg while straightening out your left leg.

Place the heel of your left foot on the ground and point your foot outwardly.

Then, bend from your waist towards your left leg, this stretches your hamstring.

Keep your thigh muscle nice and tight, tensing it. Do this for 15 seconds and then switch legs.

11. Lunges

Do three sets of five on each leg.

Start by standing straight.

Then, take your right leg and lunge forwards as far as you can so your knee is bent and your left leg stays bends at the same time.

Hold for a second, with tight buttocks and return back to standing.

Repeat with your left leg.

12. Thigh Stretch

Do three sets of these on each leg.

This exercise is designed to stretch out your iliotibial band (ITB), the area that runs down each outer thigh.

Stand straight and put your hands on your hips.

Cross your right leg behind your left leg.

Then, lean to your left side and push your right hip outwardly.

Don’t bend forwards.

You should feel a stretch running along your outer hip and down your right thigh.

Repeat with your left leg.

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