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The 5 best exercises (that you’re not doing) to prevent knee pain

April 10, 2019 3 min read

The 5 best exercises (that you’re not doing) to prevent knee pain


Here’s the scenario: In your typical training week, you do some sort of leg workout, box jump or perhaps you even do running/walking for your cardio training. You were doing great and making all kinds of gains, until all of a sudden, your knee decides to start to give you some problems. Because of the painful knee, your training is interrupted and all the gains that you’ve made are disappearing.

In this articlE:

We will cover the 5 best exercises to help fix and/or prevent most knee problems.


To essentially “bullet proof'” your knee, we need to make sure that the knee bends and straightens in the correct alignment. (Think about the “knees in line with toes” cue.) The knee complex consists of the joint, muscles, ligaments, cartilage… all of which can be injured in your training if your knee is in the incorrect alignment. If the knee is moving in the correct alignment, then your knee structures (as mentioned above) will be working optimally and the stress placed on them will be readily dealt with.


Did you know… what dictates the knee position is not actually the knee itself. It is actually the joints below and above the knee: ankle and hip complex. The knee will move wherever the ankle and hip tell it to go.


1. Foam roll all your tight muscles!

I know that a small proportion of you will love to foam roll and the rest, not so much. And I really don’t blame you. (… it hurts!)

Your knee can not and will not operate efficiently if you have tight muscles. These tight muscles will pull your knee out of alignment, place excessive stress on your knee and basically prevent optimal movement in your training.


  1. Place the target area on top of a foam roller.
  2. Use your body weight to apply a force to the area.
  3. Circle around any points that are tight. (if it hurts, then it probably is tight!)
  4. Aim to spend at least 1 minute on each area.

Aim to target the quadriceps, hamstrings, ITB and calves specifically and individually.

2. Short foot exercise


Do you have flat feet? If so, your ankles are most definitely affecting the alignment of your knee. To rectify this problem, you will need to strengthen the muscles responsible for maintaining a healthy arch in your foot.


  1. Sit down on a chair with your feet on the ground.
  2. Whilst keeping your toes relaxed, proceed to scrunch the under-surface of your foot.
  3. If performed correctly, you should be able to feel the muscles under your foot tense up.
  4. Hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat 30 times.
  5. Progress this exercise to a standing position.

3. Ankle plunge

Having full range of motion in your ankle is essential in any form of leg movement (running, squatting, jumping, walking etc).

Without proper movement and flexibility, the ankle will likely pronate (which is a fancy word for flat feet), and thus the knee’s alignment will be compromised.


  1. Assume a lunge position with your hands on a wall for support.
  2. Using your body weight, proceed to plunge forward as to place pressure on the front ankle.
  3. Keep the heels of your front leg in contact with the floor throughout movement.
  4. Repeat 30 times.

Ideally – Aim to get your toe >8cm from the wall with your knee still in contact with the wall. (This may take some time if you are very tight in your ankle.)

4.Wall push

Your hip muscles (namely the glute medius) are another primary stabiliser of your knee. Without control of your hips, there is going to be difficulty controlling your knee.


1.Lift your hip to 90 degrees and place the side of your leg against a wall.

  1. Activate short foot exercise on the foot that is planted on the floor. (as mentioned above)
  2. Bend your planted leg slightly.
  3. Place more of your weight on the heel of the foot. (this engages your hip muscles more and places less stress on your knee.
  4. Push the raised leg into the wall.
  5. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

5.Sitting hip exercise


This is a another great exercise for the hip complex.


  1. Sit down so that your hip and knees are bent at 90 degrees. Have your feet together.
  2. Place a resistance band in the above manner.
  3. Apply resistance to the band and bring your feet shoulder width apart.
  4. Hold this position for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
  5. Aim to feel a burning sensation at the side of your hips.

Perform these exercises at least 1-2 a day. It can take more than 4-6 weeks for you to learn how to do these exercise correctly.

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