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    Home >> Educational Resources >> Exercise Library >> Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening Exercises

The best way to prevent injury is by having strong, flexible muscles and joints which resist strain and injury. Stretch slowly, and never do any exercise that causes pain. If you are an athlete, your legs take a lot of abuse. Here are some advanced exercises for those with healthy knees, legs and arms that will get you ready for your sport.

Click below to view exercises

Knee Twist
Lie on back with knees bent. While trying to keep your lower back flat, slowly let both knees fall together toward the floor. Hold for ten seconds, then go back to start position with knees up. Repeat other side. Repeat exercise ten times.


Arm Circles
Start with hands straight out by sides. Slowly make circles with each outstretched arm, about one foot in diameter. Continue the circular motion of the outstretched arms for ten seconds. Repeat exercise ten times.

Side Bend
Stand straight up with hands above head. Slowly reach your hands to the right and hold for ten seconds, then straight up and pause, then go to the left and hold for ten seconds, then straight up again and pause. Repeat the stretch ten times.

Hamstring Stretch
Place a belt or rope around the arch of your foot. Straighten your leg. Slowly begin to pull your leg to a straight up position. Depending upon your flexibility, having your leg point straight up may be a realistic goal. For those who have good flexibility, you may be able to go past vertical during your stretch.

Standing Rotation
If you play rotational sports like tennis and golf, it is a good idea to include rotational stretches like the one shown. Hold a racquet, golf club or broom across your shoulders as shown. Without moving your feet, slowly rotate your shoulders to the left, then back to the right. Do this stretching exercise for five minutes before playing.

Correct Lifting Technique
Start with one knee on the ground. Maneuver the object as close to you as possible. Raise the object with your arms up to mid-thigh, then stand up while keeping your back straight. Remember: Do not bend at the waist. Use the power of your legs to lift.

Abdominal: Double Knee Up
Starting position: Lay on your back with knees bent and hands behind your head. Raise both knees upward as far as you can, using the strength of your stomach muscles. Hold for five seconds. Go back to starting position. Repeat exercise ten times. DO NOT JERK YOUR HEAD OR NECK FORWARD.

Abdominal Crunch
Lie on your back. Try to keep your low back in contact with the ground. Slowly lift your right shoulder up six inches off the ground. Merely raise your shoulders up six inches, hold for one second and lie down. Repeat for ten sit ups, alternating left shoulder and right shoulder. DO NOT do a full sit up. DO NOT put your hands behind your neck to jerk yourself upward.

*Roll mouse over image to view complete exercise.

Windmill Hops  Top
This exercise works the knees with moderate impact, and it rotates the upper body as it requires aerobic conditioning, agility and balance. To do this exercise, place a rolled towel on the ground. Start on your right foot with your left hand on the floor, as shown in picture one. Next, jump from this position, across the towel landing on your left foot and right hand. Do this back and forth for one minute. Rest, then repeat this momentum for ten one minute intervals.


Half-Squats  Top
This exercise is done to help strengthen the knee to work up to a full deep knee bend. You do this exercise by standing with your feet six inches apart to keep you balanced. Slowly begin to lower your body, but no more than 12 inches. Your stance should be no greater than a 45 degree angle from your thigh to the floor. Hold this half-squat position for ten seconds, and then return to a standing position. Repeat this ten times.

*Roll mouse over image to view complete exercise.

Balanced Stretch 
This exercise works on your agility and balance. To do this exercise, stand and reach behind you, and grasp your foot. Slowly bend forward and extend your left arm outward. Hold this position for ten seconds, then return to the starting position and switch legs. Do ten stretches with each leg. You may use a chair back to balance if you are having a difficult time with this exercise.

Step Downs 
You should NOT do this exercise if you have a abnormally sore knee, or if you are not sure of the underlying problem. Because this exercise places your entire weight on your knee, it is a good simulation for water and snow skiing because each of these sports places your entire weight on your knee. To do this exercise, start with both feet on the platform, which can be a stair or a stack of books. Then, extend your left leg out and slowly lower your body on the right knee. Hold for five seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.

*Roll mouse over image to view complete exercise.

Deep Knee Bends 

This exercise can strengthen a healthy knee, and prepare it for the high impact the knees may get on the crusty snow, or the spring action generated by the fresh powder. To do this exercise, start with the feet shoulder width apart. Your hands are outstretched for balance. Lower your body slowly (do not bounce up and down) until the thighs are horizontal. Hold your squat position for five seconds, then stand. Repeat ten times.

*Roll mouse over image to view complete exercise.

Leg Swings Top

This exercise requires a great deal of balance. You may put one hand on a chair back to balance if need be. To do this exercise, stand on your right leg. Extend your left leg out in front of you until it can almost touch the floor, 18 inches in front. Next, slowly begin to swing the left leg to the side so the leg may touch the floor, 18 inches to the side, then back behind you, then back to the starting position. You left leg will have made a large semicircle path from front to back. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.

*Roll mouse over image to view complete exercise.

Ski Exercise: Wall Slide

The wall slide has been a common exercise for competitive skiers for years. It relies heavily on the quadriceps muscles and tendons around the knee. To do this exercise, start with your back up against the wall and your feet about 15 inches away from the wall. Slowly slide down until your thighs are horizontal. Hold this for ten to thirty seconds, depending on your endurance. Slide back up. Repeat this exercise ten times.

*Roll mouse over image to view complete exercise.

Ski Exercise: Pretend Moguls


This exercise is a good simulation for preparing yourself for moguls. To do this exercise, place a rolled towel on the floor. Start on the left side and hop with both feet together to the right side, and then to the back again without stopping. Continue this momentum for 30 seconds. To simulate skiing, remember to keep your hands out in front of your body, as if you had poles in them.

NOTE: We recognize that people will diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about nonsurgical aspects of care, the role of exercise in your long-term recovery, and injury prevention. In some cases exercise may be inappropriate. Remember, if you diagnose or treat yourself, you assume the responsibility for your actions. You should never do any exercise that causes increased pain. You should never do any exercise that places body weight on a weakened or injured limb or back.

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