On Our Knees

This Christian fitness instructor shares how you can strengthen your knees with a special exercise.

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I’m in Abilene, Texas, this week, helping my daughter as she recuperates from knee surgery. Arthroscopic knee surgery, ACL replacement and meniscus repair, to be exact. Christina is only 27 years old and this is her second knee surgery.

Chances are you know a young woman that has had this type of surgery, or perhaps you’ve had it yourself. Females who take part in sports involving jumping and pivoting like soccer, basketball, and gymnastics have a risk of knee injury that is 4-6 times higher than for males taking part in the same sports.

Christina was a dancer from the age of 3 to 17. She did tap, ballet and jazz six days a week with the Owensboro Dance Theater, and then with the Apollo High School of Owensboro, KY. Her legs hurt her for years. I took her to an orthopedist when she was a teen and he told her, “One day your knees are going to just give out.”

That day happened this fall. To get back in shape Christina began working with a trainer. He paid no attention to her history of knee problems and had her doing jumping lunges with weights. There was a pop and she collapsed. 

There are many theories about why girls and women are more at risk of serious knee injuries than their male counterparts. But one thing research definitely shows is that strength training has an astonishingly protective effect. The Bible says, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” (Hebrews 12:12)

Here is an exercise that Christina is doing to build strength in her quadriceps muscle. You can do it to strengthen your knees.

Straight Leg Raises
Lay on your back on a flat surface. Bend the knee of your left leg to a 90-degree angle with your foot flat on the surface.

Contract your abdominals and breathe deeply. Keep your right leg straight without the knee bent. Exhale and slowly lift the right leg six inches off the floor (by contracting the front thigh muscles). Hold for two breaths and inhale and lower back down. 

Repeat 10 times and work up to two minutes of straight leg raises. Switch legs.

  • Progression: Lift leg up to the height of the opposite knee and hold for two breaths, continue lifting for two minutes. 
  • Progression: Sit up tall at the edge of a chair as you contract the abdominals. Exhale and lift the leg off the floor about 6-12 inches or to the height of the opposite knee. Inhale and lower back down to the floor. 
  • You can also use a stretch band and wrap it under their foot as you lift and lower your leg.



Get more advice from Theresa!

Find all you need to know on whole-person 
wellness in
 Shaped by Faith.

Theresa is a former model and nationally certified fitness professional who teaches people to use their faith to inspire fitness and their fitness to strengthen their faith. She is the author of Shaped by Faith: 10 Secrets to Strengthening your Body & Souland two exercise DVDS: Pilates for the Soul

She and her husband, Robin, have seven children and live in Calhoun, Kentucky.

You can email her with any questions or concerns.

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