Exercises to Build-Up Muscles Before Knee Surgery

You can greatly improve your recovery time when you build-up muscles before knee surgery. Exercises performed before knee replacement surgery can also help you strengthen your knee and increase flexibility.

You can implement a routine with a variety of exercises at home. However, before beginning any new fitness program, consult with your surgeon and physical therapist.

These exercises can help you have a faster and more successful recovery.

Begin by performing 5 to 10 repetitions of each exercise twice a day for the first week, then gradually increase to 10 to 15 repetitions by week two, and eventually 15 to 20 repetitions by week three.

Squeeze Your Thighs

This exercise strengthens the quadriceps muscle, which connects the leg to the knee.

  • Lie down flat on your back.

  • Push the rear of your knee down toward the floor or bed to tighten the muscles at the front of your thigh.

  • Hold for 5 seconds before letting go.

Perform three sets of five to twenty repetitions.

Straight Leg Lifts While Resting on Your Side

This exercise is essential for strengthening the hip abductor muscles on the side of the buttocks. These muscles help to keep your pelvis stable when you’re standing or walking.

  • Lay down on your side.

  • Raise one leg straight up above you, roughly 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart from the other.

  • Lower your leg and repeat the process.

Do three sets of ten.

While bending the other leg, lie on your back and rest your injured leg flat on the floor or bed.
Raise your straightened leg 12 inches off the ground and hold it there for 5 seconds.
Lower your leg gradually.

Perform three sets of five to twenty repetitions.

Resting Leg Lifts with Straight Legs

Leg lifts will help you strengthen your quadriceps and hip flexors. This is effective when rebuilding strength following surgery.

  • Lie down on your back with your damaged knee bent and your foot flat on the floor.

  • Lift your straight leg to the height of your opposing knee while tightening your affected thigh.

  • Hold the highest position for 2 seconds before slowly lowering to the beginning position.

Perform up to three sets of 5 to 20 reps.


This exercise engages the hip external rotators as well as a portion of the abductors. Both are necessary for ambulation and balance.

  • Lie down on your side with your wounded knee pointed upwards, then open and close your legs like a clamshell, while keeping your heels together.

Perform three sets of five to twenty repetitions.

Knee Bending

This will help you retain your range of motion before surgery.

  • Sit in a sturdy chair and bend your knees as far back as you can.

  • Return it to the resting position after holding it for 5 seconds.

Perform three sets of five to twenty repetitions.

Sitting Kicks

This strengthens the quadriceps muscle by allowing it to move through its complete range of motion.

  • Raise your leg till it is straight in a stable chair.

  • For a total of 5 seconds, stay in this position.

  • Lower your leg gradually.

Perform three sets of five to twenty repetitions.

Chair Pushups

Following surgery, you will most likely need to use a cane or walker. This workout will help you develop your triceps, which are crucial muscles to have when using either assistive device.

  • Sit in a strong, armless chair.

  • Raise your body and straighten your arms and elbows by grasping the chair’s arms and pressing down on them.

  • Return your weight to the chair slowly.

This will help strengthen your triceps so they can support you following surgery when you’re weak.

Lying Down Quadriceps Strengthening

  • Roll up a blanket under your wounded knee while lying on the floor or in bed. Hold the position for 5 seconds by straightening your leg and knee.

  • Slowly drop your leg and take a break.

  • Ensure that the back of your knee is in touch with the object the entire time, and that the small of your back is flat on the floor.

The quadriceps muscle is strengthened by this workout.

Abdominal Kickbacks

This will help to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. These muscles are necessary for getting into and out of chairs and automobiles.

  • Lie down on your stomach with your legs straight and slowly raise your wounded, straight leg to the ceiling.

  • Hold for a couple of seconds.

  • Lower your leg gradually.

3 sets of 5-20 reps are recommended.

Supported Standing on One Leg

This practice is essential for maintaining balance and preventing falls. Perform this exercise as often as you can during the day.

  • Place yourself in front of a counter or a bar that is at waist level.

  • For 30 seconds, hold on to the bar and stand on your affected leg.

  • To test your balance, try to grasp the bar as lightly as possible.


Do these exercises for 15 minutes twice a day. The speed and quality of your rehabilitation will be strongly influenced by your ability to build strength in the muscles around your knee prior to surgery.

Shoulder Surgery Recovery; What to Expect

Shoulder Surgery Recovery; What to Expect

Shoulder replacement is a major surgery that necessitates extensive planning and recovery time. Some patients have the erroneous belief that they will be able to resume their normal activities shortly following surgery. However, depending on the surgery and its...

read more
Which therapy is best for you: Dry Needling or Acupuncture?

Which therapy is best for you: Dry Needling or Acupuncture?

Acupuncture and dry needling are two of the same practices, both using thin stainless steel needles to insert them into the skin. Both also claim to treat pain - however, you may not be able to distinguish between them just by looking at a photo. Despite similarities,...

read more
Managing Holiday Stress

Managing Holiday Stress

Allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by to-do lists is a bad idea. Here are some tips for managing holiday stress, so you can have fun this year, without the stress that has you worrying through the night! The secret to enjoying the holidays is to reduce holiday...

read more