The Top 5 Exercises to Prevent Knee Injuries

The Top 5 Exercises to Prevent Knee Injuries

Knee pain and injuries can negatively affect many people in their day-to-day activities, sports, or even work. To prevent knee injuries, exercises can help strengthen key muscles around the knee. Exercises that target the glutes, hamstrings and quads are helpful. The quality of any exercise being performed is very important.

The following five exercises are some of the top exercises to try in a general knee injury prevention program.


Monster Walk

This is done by performing a mini squat and side-stepping with a band at your knees or ankles. During this exercise, you can target the gluteus medius muscle and teach the correct alignment of the hip and knee.

The hip and knee alignment is very important in preventing injuries such as ACL tears. The gluteus medius also plays a key role in stabilizing the pelvis during movements like running and jumping. This can therefore help prevent common chronic injuries in the knee.

Romanian Dead Lifts 

Also known as a stiff-legged deadlift, will target the hamstrings by hinging at the hips. This will allow you to work through a range based on your hamstring mobility. The hamstrings are important in activities that involve running. The hamstrings also balance the quadriceps. The quadriceps are important primary muscles of the lower body, however, a balance between these muscles is very important.

This exercise, in particular, focuses on the lengthening of the hamstring under a load, which is one of the main functions of the hamstring during running. Both chronic injuries and ligament injuries can benefit from strong



The squat is a key exercise to strengthen the quadriceps and patellar tendon. Particularly for preventing chronic injuries like the runner’s knee and patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), the squat can be beneficial.

There are several versions of the squat exercise that can be performed based on the fitness level of an individual. For example, back or front squats with a barbell, goblet squats with a dumbbell or kettlebell, or even a wall sit. The technique of a squat is, however very important no matter which version is performed. The squat should be performed with both hip and knee movement, and alignment of the hip, knee and foot needs to be maintained.

Split Squat

This exercise targets the gluteus maximus much more than a traditional squat exercise. The glutes are another important muscle group that should be addressed for knee health. The split squat can also be considered a more functional exercise for several sports as it is a single-leg stance exercise, more like the position of running. It is a great exercise for  improving single leg strength, balance, and alignment of the ankle, knee and hip during single
leg positions.

Single Leg Balance

Balance can help train the body’s awareness of the leg in space and through movement (known as proprioception). In sports and activities that involve changing direction, this can be extremely beneficial for injury prevention. Alignment of the foot can also impact the position of the knee, and therefore training single-leg balance can help improve and maintain
good knee alignment to prevent injuries.

While there are numerous other exercises that may also benefit an individual, these 5 exercises target different muscles groups that contribute to knee injury prevention. Incorporating these into a strength program may be beneficial.

Working with a professional like an athletic therapist or physiotherapist may help tailor a program to your specific needs.