The Best Knee Workout for Stronger Joints

Dr. Bert Mandelbaum, an orthopedist and team physician for U.S. soccer, created an exercise regimen proven to reduce knee-injury risk by 46 percent. We asked him to design a version for everyday men and women, not just elite athletes. Not only does this knee workout increase balance and correct how you land and pivot, it’s also a total-body routine that, done twice a week, will make you stronger, faster, and more agile.

Gear Lab: Testing Best Training Gear at Performix House (; 1:00)

The Best Knee Workout for Stronger Joints

1. Running Mash-Up (shown above, left)

On a treadmill, street, or track, run forward for 15 seconds, then back-pedal for 15 seconds; side shuffle on one side for 15 seconds, then the other for 15 seconds. Do this sequence five times total, moving at a speed that allows perfect form.

2. Kettlebell Overhead Clock Lunges (shown above, right)

Stand holding a lightweight kettlebell in left hand overhead, elbow locked. Lunge straight forward, to 12 o’clock, on right leg. Press through heel and return to start. Repeat, lunging slightly to the right side (at 1 o’clock). Continue lunging in place, working your way around the right side of the clock and doing backward lunges for 4, 5, and 6 o’clock. Switch legs and repeat on left leg, lunging forward for 12, 11, and 10 o’clock, to the side for 9 o’clock, and backward for 8, 7, and 6 o’clock. Kettlebell should remain in left hand, with arm locked overhead, for entire set. Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat sequence with right arm. Do three full sets.

Hip In-and-Outs

From a standing position, raise right knee in front of you and rotate it slowly out to the right; bring foot down to just tap the floor, raise knee again, and rotate from the right side back to starting position. Repeat 12 times, then switch sides. Do three sets.

plank 360

Plank 360

On forearms, hold plank for 15 seconds, then side plank on the right for 15 seconds, then hold reverse plank (shown) for 15 seconds, and finally side plank on the left for 15 seconds. Do the sequence three times total. Your goal is to work up to 30 seconds for each plank. Once that’s easy, lift one leg for half the time, then the other.

good mornings

Good Mornings

Stand holding a light kettlebell behind head at base of neck with knees slightly bent; hinge forward, weight in toes and back flat, as far as hamstrings allow; stand and repeat. Do three sets of 12 reps. (For morning workouts, try the first set without weight to allow lower back to warm up.)

one legged dead lift to row

One-Legged Dead Lift To Row

Stand holding a kettlebell in right hand in front of you with arms straight. Slowly hinge forward, raising right leg straight behind you and keeping hips level, until back is parallel with floor, arms still extended in front of you. Keeping shoulders down, slowly bend elbow to pull kettlebell to right side. Straighten arm to lower weight down, and stand to return to start. Do 12 reps; switch sides. Do three sets.

kettlebell goblet squat with calf raise

Kettlebell Goblet Squat with Calf Raise

Stand holding a kettlebell at chest. Squat down, pushing hips back and going as low as possible with chest up and back flat. Push through heels to stand, and rise up onto toes, holding for three full beats. Lower back to start and repeat. Do three sets of 12 reps.

moving tuck jumps

Moving Tuck Jumps

Stand with knees soft, arms at sides. Explode up and forward, bringing knees toward chest, to land a couple of feet in front of start. Reverse movement, tuck-jumping backward to start. Next, jump to the right, again raising knees and exploding up and sideways as high as possible. Reverse the movement, jumping to the left, knees high. That’s one rep. Do two sets of 12.

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