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The Best Exercises To Relieve Knee Pain, Trainer Says

Working on the glutes is key.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Many individuals deal with nagging injuries, and knee pain is extremely common. The pain can be a result of previous injuries, overuse from sports, etc., and whatever the cause may be, you need just the right exercises that can help build your lower body.

When it comes to alleviating knee pain and strengthening your legs, you want to choose exercises that work your hamstrings and glutes. A common reason why many people have knee pain is because they're extremely quad dominant and have tight hips and calves from being sedentary. Add that on top of potentially poor movement patterns during squats, lunges, and running, and you've got a recipe for knee pain.

Your glutes, not your quads, play the most crucial role in stabilizing your knee and hip, and most people don't know how to activate and engage them during their lower body exercises. For starters, if you have knee pain yourself and don't know where to begin, we have you covered. It's important to stretch your quads and calves, and then incorporate hamstring/glute-focused movements. The following four exercises will help you activate your glutes, strengthen your lower body, and alleviate knee pain. Add these into your workout routine ASAP. For more, check out 5 Moves for a Stronger Butt That You Can Do Right Now.

Lateral Band Walks

Lateral Band Walks
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start by putting a loop band with medium tension above your knees. With your hips pushed back and knees soft, begin stepping out to the left. As you step, lead with your heel, and don't let your knee cave in. Perform all steps on the left before moving to the right. Do 3 sets of 15 to 20 steps for each leg.

Stability Ball Leg Curls

Stability Ball Leg Curl
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Laying flat on your back, place your feet on top of a stability ball. Lift your hips off the ground, and begin curling the ball towards you with your heels, flexing your hamstrings and glutes at the end of the movement. Return the ball to the starting position, and repeat. Be sure to keep your hips up the entire time, and to continue bridging as you curl the ball in. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.

Related: This Workout Is Better for Your Health Than Running, Trainer Says

Hip Thrust

trainer doing dumbbell hip thrust
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start the movement by setting your upper back on a bench or sturdy platform. Place a dumbbell on your lap with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight, lower your weight down. Push through your heels and hips until they're fully extended, squeezing your glutes hard at the top for 2 seconds. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Dumbbell Reverse Lunges

dunbbell reverse lunges
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Hold two dumbbells at your sides while standing with your feet together, keeping your chest tall and core tight. Then, take one foot, and step it back, firmly planting your back foot and bending your knee to lower yourself down until your knee touches the floor gently. Drive through your front heel to raise yourself back up to the starting position, standing with your feet together. Do 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg. Perform all 10 reps on one leg before switching to the other.

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Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim