Fitness

Your Ultimate Guide To Knee Stretches

Pain, begone.

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While you can’t stretch the knee cap bone, you can stretch the surrounding muscles to relieve knee pain and tightness. You’ll want to stretch your hips, quads, calves, and glutes, says bande founder Amanda Jenny. Here, experts share the best knee stretches.

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Standing Quad

Jenny says gentle stretches like this one are safe to do every day.

- Hold onto something for support.

- Kick right heel to glutes.

- Hold foot with right hand.

- Squeeze knees/thighs towards one another.

- Hold 30 seconds, repeat on other side.

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Figure 4 Stretch

Do stretches like this one, and build strength around the knees, to relieve pain, says Jenny.

- Lie on back, knees bent.

- Cross right ankle over left thigh.

- Reach through legs.

- Gently pull left shin for deeper stretch.

- Hold 30 seconds, repeat on other side.

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Seated Hamstring Stretch

Physical therapist Alexa Rohach, DPT, suggests stretching the hamstrings for knee pain, too.

- Sit in a chair. Extend one leg out straight, other bent.

- Lead with chest, lean forward to feel stretch in back of thigh.

- Hold 30 seconds, repeat on other side.

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Hip Flexor Stretch

Increased flexibility in your hips can relieve tightness in the knee, Rohach says.

- Lie on side of bed, left leg dangling off.

- Right leg should be bent, low back pressed into bed.

- Feel stretch along front of left hip.

- Hold 30 seconds, repeat on both sides.

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Lying Quad

Tight quads can put pressure on the knee cap, says trainer Denise Cervantes. Try this move to loosen things up.

- Lie on side, hips and knees stacked.

- Keep bottom leg straight, grab top foot.

- Pull foot to glute.

- Hold for 30 seconds, repeat on other side.

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Calf Stretch

Jenny recommends using a wall for support.

- Step one foot one back behind you.

- Soften supporting leg.

- Reach back heel down to floor.

- Hold 30 seconds, repeat on other side.

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Half Kneeling Lunge

Lara Heimann, PT, likes this yoga move to open hips and create “better mechanics” for knee joint.

- Lower right knee to floor under hip.

- Step left foot forward to a form a 90 degree angle.

- Tuck toes under. Activate right glute.

- Hold 30 seconds, switch legs.

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Cross Stretch

Physical therapist Shannon Leggett, PT says to get up and stretch every 45 minutes throughout the day.

- While seated, cross ankle over opposite knee.

- Lean forward.

- Stretch will be in leg that is crossed.

- Hold for 7 breaths.

- Repeat on other side.

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Walk The Dog

Trainer Galit Friedlander says to do this move 3 to 5 times a day to stretch the knees.

- Start in downward facing dog yoga pose.

- Straighten legs, send hips up to ceiling.

- Slowly walk hands back to feet, bending knees slightly.

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Bridges

Laura Wilson of Natural Pilates says a bridge pose can help open the tops of the knees.

- Lie on back, knees bent.

- Feet hip-width apart.

- Slowly roll spine off mat.

- Hold at top of bridge, roll back down.

- Do 10 reps, 3x.

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Knee Flexion

Wilson says this can also be done with a resistance band around your foot.

- Lie on back, knees bent, feet on floor.

- Bring one knee to chest, stop with knee over hip.

- Hold back of thigh, extend leg up to ceiling to stretch hamstring.