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BIM Lab: Cranky Knees

They are actually very common and are exacerbated by instability and weakness, and often pain is a result. 

In this article, we are sharing 3 exercises that we recommend adding to your program or daily routine to address knee instability. Or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, it can simply be to maintain healthy knees!


Exercise 1) Standing Terminal Knee Extension


  • Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps per side 
  • We like to use this as part of an activation routine prior to knee dominant exercises for cranky populations
  • If one knee is more problematic, aim to do the “good” side first as this will give you some internal feedback of what you want the muscle contraction to feel like


  • Grab a band and place it behind your knee
  • Adjust the tension so the resistance is strong but you feel stable
  • Slowly bend your knee, making sure it stays in line with your middle toes and then straighten it by ephamazing the contraction on your quad
  • You should feel this exercise in your inner quad, specifically your vastus medialis
  • The goal here is to activate the oblique fibers as you bring your knee into full extension, which will help build better stability and tracking of your patella
  • Sometimes placing your fingertips over this area helps to more easily contract this muscle


Exercise 2) Mini Squats with Ball Against Wall


  • Repeat for 2 to 3 sets of 10-15 reps per side


  • This exercise is actually more hinge-like, than it is a squat!
  • Be sure to keep your hips level and don’t let the outside knee cave inwards (aka valgus collapse) as you bend
  • Aim to track your patella with your middle toes
  • For better activation of your gluteus medius and maximus, use a bit more of a hinge pattern (sit hips back rather than drive knee forward) and press through your heel as you stand
  • You can keep range of motion small as most of the magic happens in the last 30 degrees of hip extension
  • Keep the pressure of the knee holding the ball steady
  • You should feel this in the back of your side bum region (glute med) as you stand


Exercise 3) Heel Elevated Step Downs


  • Repeat for 1-3 sets of 5-15 reps per side


  • Your goal is to make these as knee dominant as possible, which means you want to keep your torso upright and not let your hips hinge back – this is tricky and may feel counterintuitive. The knee will pass the end of your toes and that’s ok! 
  • Just be sure to keep your patella tracked over your middle toes
  • The goal of this exercise is to strengthen your vastus medialis (most inner quad)
  • Because this exercise is knee dominant, don’t be surprised by the amount of quad fatigue you experience – this is normal and we encourage you to embrace it



We hope you found this series of knee exercises helpful and if you have any questions or want to know more about anything featured in this post, please feel free to email Andrea at 

If you would like to book a free assessment with us, click here

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About the author

Andrea Lawson has been a practicing Kinesiologist since 2008 and is the founder of Balance in Motion, a training facility created for people to rehabilitate from injuries, improve athletic performance, and crush their health and fitness goals. She is passionate about providing a space where anyone can step foot in and feel both comfortable and productive no matter the injury, age, or stage they may be at in their fitness journey. With this vision, Andrea has witnessed her clients achieve goals they never thought possible, and gain unmatched levels of confidence in themselves, helping them to Go Beyond Better.