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Exercises To Prevent Sore Knees After Running

Sore knees after running is incredibly common among runners and the most common reason is due to muscle weakness or imbalance.

What is a muscle imbalance

Muscle weakness vs muscle imbalance

Although they are different contributing factors for sore knees after running the two are very much integrated into one another. Muscle weakness typically occurs following extended periods of rest such as recovering from an injury and the imbalance occurs when the injury is to one specific side. An easy example is to use someone who has had one leg in a cast for 4-6 months. When the cast is removed that leg has often experienced muscle wastage but the other side remains strong as it has been used whilst on crutches.

Another factor behind a muscle imbalance is down to your gait pattern when running, especially when you are fatigued. When all muscle groups are functioning at full capacity everything is balanced like in the image on the left. But if one muscle or muscle group is weaker and fatigues quickly the opposing group will "pick up the slack" and over time become stronger with the others becoming weaker.

A muscle strength imbalance can cause sore knees after running because it will change your mechanics and the direction of the force through the knees.


It is important to focus on single-leg exercises, such as single-leg squats instead of double-leg squats. This is beneficial for two reasons.

1. You can target the weaker muscles because the dominant ones are unable to take over and do most of the work.

2. You can compare your left side to your right side when you are working, Just remember to the key is consistency in trying to find a balance so work off the weaker side when it comes to choosing reps, sets and weights.

Riixo Heel Slide

Hamstring curl (in crooked sitting)

Sit on the ground propped up on your elbows.

Place a towel, slider or plastic bag on your foot.

Slide your heel to your bum making sure to keep your toes pulled up and facing the sky.

Sets & reps

4 Sets of 15 on each leg

Riixo Quad Contraction

Inner range quads

Sit on the ground propped up on your elbows.

Place a foam roller or a rolled-up towel under your thigh

Contract your quads and lift your foot off the ground and hold for a count of 2-5 seconds before lowering.

Make sure to keep your toes pointed towards the sky.

Sets & reps

4 Sets of 15 on each leg

Riixo Straight Leg Raise

Straight leg raise

Lie on the ground with your head and shoulders back.

Contract your quads and pull your foot up so your toes are pointing towards the sky

Lift your leg up making sure not to bend at the knee.

Hold for a count of 2 seconds at the top before lowering back to the ground.

Sets & reps

3 sets of 12 on each leg.

Riixo Single Leg Dip

Single leg dips

Start in standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, ideally in front of a mirror.

You can have your hands on your hips, out to the side or holding on to a wall for stability.

Lift one leg off the ground and keep it straight out in front of you.

Lower yourself down as if you are going to sit down on a chair.

Top Tip

Make sure you do the following:

- The bending knee stays in line with your big toe. Dont let is drop inwards

- Try to avoid bending forward at the hips. If you sit back wards your glutes will engage and prevent this from happening

Sets & Reps

3 sets of 12 on each leg

Sore knees after running: The Causes

Read more about what causes sore knees after running so you can make informed choices on how to prevent it from happening.

Riixo knee support for sore knees after running

Ice, heat and compression in our award-winning knee support

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