If you have weak knees, one misstep could tweak the joint and cause a lot of pain. The muscles surrounding knee joints—which include the quadriceps, hips, glutes and core—aid in stabilization; therefore, a key part of getting stronger knees is to ramp up the power of those muscle groups.
While it's normal to feel a bit of discomfort during a workout and a little stiff after, particularly if you suffer from weak knee joints, you shouldn't feel serious pain during or after an exercise. If you do, stop immediately—you might have a knee problem that needs to be examined by a doctor.
Lateral Band Walks
Resistance bands come in multiple colors, each indicating how much tension they provide. Start with a low-tension band and work your way up as your leg muscles get stronger.
How-to: Position a resistance band around your thighs, just a couple inches above your knees. Move your feet out to the sides until you feel tension in the band. Keeping your feet apart to keep that tension, take 20 steps to your left. Pause, and then take 20 sets back to your right. Give yourself a minute to recover, and then repeat for two more sets.
If done with proper form, you should feel this move in your quads and hammies, plus your hips and glutes.
How-to: Position two chairs on each side of you, as you'll need to hold onto them for balance. Slightly lift your left leg, shifting your weight onto the right leg. Lower yourself down slowly, as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, and push back up. Repeat on the other side.
Knee Stabilization Series
Although you'll be tempted to focus on your moving leg, pay attention to how hard your supporting leg is working—don't let it lock up.
How-to: Keep one of those chairs near you and hold onto it for balance as you lift one leg slightly. Shift your weight to the supporting leg. Contract your thigh muscles and move the lifted leg out to the side, then gently swing it back so it crosses over the front of the supporting leg. Return to the start.
Turn your body 90 degrees and move your leg forward and then backward. Turn 90 degrees and repeat the side-to-side movement to start the second round of the series. Repeat the series three to five times, and then repeat on the other leg.
Plyometrics build strength and power through jumping, hopping and bounding movements. When you land from these movements, do so as gently as possible with a bent knee and straight hip. Land on the balls of your feet, and slowly roll back to the heel. Plyometric exercises that can help strengthen your knee include depth jumps and box jumps.