Top 5 Exercises to Strengthen Knees to Prevent ACL Injuries

exercises to strengthen knees

Knee health is vital for keeping you moving and staying injury-free, especially when it comes to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).

This particular ligament is crucial for stability in many sports and activities but is also one of the most prone to injuries.

Ensuring strong and healthy knees can make all the difference in your athletic performance and overall well-being.

Did you know that ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries affect as many as 250,000 individuals each year, with a significant portion being athletes?

This statistic underscores the importance of knee health for maintaining your mobility and preventing debilitating injuries that could sideline you from the sports you love.

We’ll explore top exercises to strengthen your knees and how embracing preventive strategies can keep you active and injury-free, ensuring you enjoy a vibrant and dynamic summer filled with sports and activities.

Top Exercises to Strengthen Knees to Prevent ACL Injuries

Strengthening your knees is crucial for preventing ACL injuries. Here are some top exercises to strengthen your knees and prevent ACL injuries, with concise instructions on how to perform each one:


How to Do It:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out.
  2. Keep your chest up and back straight.
  3. Lower body by bending knees and hips, like sitting in a chair.
  4. Ensure knees stay behind toes.
  5. Go down until thighs are parallel to the ground, then push up through heels.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Benefits: Squats strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, essential for knee support and ACL stability.


How to Do It:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step forward with one leg, lowering hips until knees are at 90-degree angles.
  3. Ensure the front knee is above the ankle.
  4. Push back to start using the heel of the front foot.
  5. Alternate legs.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.

Benefits: Lunges enhance balance, coordination, and unilateral strength, crucial for knee stability.

Plank Leg Lifts

How to Do It:

  1. Start in a forearm plank position, body straight.
  2. Engage core and glutes.
  3. Lift one leg, keeping it straight.
  4. Hold for a few seconds, then lower.
  5. Alternate legs.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.

Benefits: Plank leg lifts improve core stability and strengthen the glutes and hamstrings, vital for knee support.

Balance Drills

How to Do It:

  1. Stand on one leg, knee slightly bent.
  2. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  3. For added challenges, perform arm reaches or use a balance pad.
  4. Switch legs.
  5. Perform 3 sets on each leg.

Benefits: Balance drills enhance proprioception and knee stability, reducing ACL injury risk.

Hamstring Curls

How to Do It:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, using support if needed.
  2. Bend one knee, bringing heel toward glutes.
  3. Hold, then lower leg back down.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps on each leg.

Benefits: Hamstring curls target the hamstrings, balancing the force exerted by the quadriceps and reducing ACL strain.

Your Next Step to Train Safely and Ready for Summer Sports

Ready to take your summer sports preparation to the next level? Don’t let knee issues hold you back.

Contact us at Sports Physical Therapy for a personalized evaluation. Our team of experts is ready to work with you to strengthen your knees, enhance your athletic performance, and ensure you’re ready to tackle all your favorite summer activities with confidence and safety.

Visit us online at Sports Physical Therapy or give us a call at (425) 628-2031 to book your evaluation today.

Remember, taking care of your knees now means enjoying more games, more races, and more fun all summer long. Let’s get moving!

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