Knee extension exercises help to restore knee mobility and strength, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The muscles surrounding the knee, the hamstring and quadriceps, will also benefit from these exercises and will help to maintain a stable structure for your knees. Complete knee extension exercises for 20 to 30 minutes a day for maximum benefit.
Terminal Knee Extensions
Terminal knee extensions are most beneficial for knee rehabilitation after surgery. As with any exercise program, consult your doctor before beginning a new program to ensure safety, especially if you have recently had knee surgery or a knee injury. Terminal knee extensions can also be useful if you are new to fitness and would like to gain strength in your thigh and knee before using health club equipment.
Lying Terminal Knee Extension: Lie flat on the floor or on an exercise mat with both of your legs straight out in front of your body. Place a rolled up towel under the knee you intend you exercise. Slowly straighten your knee so that your leg is no longer touching the towel. Hold this position for five seconds and relax. Try to complete this exercise 10 times.
Sitting Terminal Knee Extension: Place a towel or cloth on a stool in front of the chair you will use. Sit in the chair with your ankle resting on the towel. Straighten your knee so that your leg rises off the stool. Hold this position for five seconds, bend your knee and return your foot to the stool.
As you progress with terminal knee extensions you may add ankle weights to your ankle before beginning. Start with a one-pound ankle weight. Over a period of four weeks try to work up to a five-pound ankle weight.
Seated Knee Extensions
For this exercise you will need a small circular resistance band or ankle weights. Sit in a chair with both of your feet together. Place the resistance band around both of your feet. If you are using ankle weights, place one on each ankle. Slowly raise your right leg as high as you can, hold for a second and release until your foot is on the ground again. Try to raise your leg high enough to straighten your knee completely. Repeat with your left leg. Complete 10 extensions on each leg. Increase the weight once you can complete 10 repetitions without any effort.
Machine Knee Extensions
This form of the knee extension is completed with the use of a weighted knee extension machine. Adjust the seat and weight before starting the exercise. Start with a relatively small amount of weight, such as 10 pounds. Sit on the seat of the machine with your back against the pads and your legs behind the padded bar. Place your hands on the handlebars of the machine. Slowly straighten your legs to lift the weight, stop when your knees are straight and lower the weight back down to the starting position. Use a heavier weight when you feel you can complete 10 repetitions with ease. Increase weight by five or 10 pounds at a time.
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