If you have an injured knee, there are some knee strengthening exercises that will help with your rehabilitation. Consult with your physician before beginning a weightlifting program to be certain you are well enough to train your knee. Start with light resistance and increase the amount of weight you use as your knee gets stronger.
- Barbell Squats. Squats will help you work your knee back into shape and also strengthen your quadriceps muscles. Place a barbell on the squat rack and add some light weighted plates to each side. Stand behind the bar and lean under it and rest it just below your trapezius muscles. Place your hands on the bar at shoulder width and keep your feet slightly wider than your hands. Lift the bar off of the rack and take a step back. Slowly lower your body down until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground, then stand back up to finish the repetition. Do ten repetitions for each set.
- Leg Extensions. This is another knee strengthening exercise that also works your quad muscles. Sit down on the leg extension bench and select the number of plates you want to lift. Place your feet under the leg pads and grab the sides of the bench with your hands. Slowly lift your legs up until they are straight in front of you with your toes pointing to the ceiling. Lower your legs back down to finish the exercise. Do one leg at a time with less weight to focus on one knee. Try to do at least ten repetitions for each set you perform.
- Leg Presses. Presses will help strengthen your knee and leg muscles. Select the number of plates to lift and sit down on the leg press seat. Put your feet on the machine and grab the handles beside you or the seat for stability. Push with both legs to raise the plates and then return your legs to the starting position to finish the exercise. Do one leg at a time if you want to isolate one knee. Perform ten repetitions for each leg.
- Dumbbell Lunges. Lunges work the knee and quadriceps. Select a pair of dumbbells from the rack and hold one in each hand. To begin the exercise, step forward with one leg and then lower your body down until your upper leg is nearly parallel to the floor. Stand up straight and then repeat the movement with the other leg. This counts as one full repetition. Repeat the exercise for ten repetitions.
- Leg Curls. This exercise strengthens your hamstrings and the back of your knee. Lie face down on the leg curl bench and choose the number of plates to lift. Place the backs of your ankles under the leg pads and hold the sides of the bench with your hands. To begin the lift, curl your heels toward your head and stop once the bottoms of your feet face the ceiling. Lower your legs back down to finish the repetition. This is another exercise you can perform with one leg at a time if you are trying to strengthen only one knee. Do ten repetitions for each set.