How to strengthen knees for running – part 2

How to strengthen knees for running - part 2 - main image

Using knee strengthening exercises for knee pain, leg work and running efficiency

Whether it’s your left leg or left foot, knee pain can do a lot for all-round injuries. Sure often, knee pain is a very isolated affair, but you have to remember that every part of your body is connected somehow. Knee joint pain can be the show-stopper to your running career. Everybody knows this. But despite knowing this, there seems to be a lack of awareness relative to runner’s knee exercises. Hip and knee strengthening exercises are obviously a good thing to do, so if you’re reading this article today, then I’m sorry, I have to presume that you’re not doing them either!

But hey, you’re here, so clearly you want to. But why do you want to? Is it so you can prevent swelling, stiffness, aching and strain? Or is it because you’ve heard you should?

Over the course of this article, we’ll turn that ‘should’ into a ‘wow, I’m glad I’m now looking after my knees’ – a lot can go wrong with your body and you don’t want to be responsible for having neglected it.

Let’s run through it.


Using knee strengthening exercises helps to remove pressure on weaker parts of the knee, relieve general pain, support mobility and flexibility, and help to support stability when in motion.

For example, if you find your knee bent and pain present, then it’s an indication of a fair few potential problems. For example, you could have anything from simple cartilage issues to more complicated patellofemoral pain syndrome. With these risks or symptoms, of course, judge if they’re check-up-necessary and if so, then check to see if you wanted to try and test whether knee exercises will help.

Depending on the knee injury, you should try, ”Doing knee exercises unilaterally, or working one leg at a time, can also assist in fixing muscle imbalances, so you don’t overload your dominant leg.” (Marathon Handbook, 2022), for example.

Just think about how mouldable plasticine is; every tiny impress or stretch changes the shape in some way. Your muscles, while far sturdier, are equally detailed – and the tiniest of impacts can make a lifelong difference.

Let’s break down a quick and easy exercise to help both the prevention and lessening of knee pain.

”You will need a plyo box or step and a pair of dumbbells for this exercise. It targets your quads, glutes, and hamstrings

  1. Stand with your feet at hip-width apart, facing the box, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. With the dumbbells at your side, step up onto the box with your right foot while driving your left knee upward, reaching 90 degrees. 
  3. Carefully bring your left foot back to the floor and step down with your right foot. 
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps or amount of time. 
  5. Repeat with the other leg.” – Marathon Handbook, 2020.


As long as you have the right starting position and form, the majority of exercises you read will help your knees in one way or another.


Will these posts really help me to decrease knee pain?

It depends; these guides are really here to push you in a certain direction and encourage you to read more.

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