3 Best Resistance Band Exercises to Relieve Knee Pain

Tracy Thompson
Published by Tracy Thompson | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 21, 2023
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If you’re among the millions suffering from knee pain, you know that even walking up the stairs or bending down can become very painful.

Painful knees can result from many factors, from injury to arthritis, and I’ve seen my fair share of clients struggling with the same.

So, after extensive research and experience with clients, I have learned that some resistance band exercises can relieve knee pain quite significantly, which is why I curated a list of the most effective ones.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • Front leg extensions, terminal knee extensions, and lying knee extensions are the best knee-strengthening exercises that reduce knee pain. Other exercises include lying hip extension and lying glute extension.
  • The exercises strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee joint, i.e., quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, improve knee stability, and reduce pressure on the knees.
  • The recommended training intensity for these exercises is about 2–3 sets of each exercise, with 10–15 repetitions per set.

Best Resistance Band Exercises for Knee Pain Relief

Before we dive into our best resistance band exercises for knee relief, let’s take a look at how resistance bands work to reduce painful knees.

Do Resistance Bands Help With Knee Pain?

A woman using resistance band for her knee

Yes, resistance bands help with knee pain by improving stability and reducing inflammation.

They allow you to strengthen the tendons, connective tissue, and muscles surrounding your knees without the hard impact of free-weight exercises.

Knee strengthening exercises like lying hip extension, lying glute extension, and terminal knee extension require the use of a resistance band and help in rehabilitation after a knee injury.

Learn More: Exercises For Fat Knees

Top 3 Resistance Band Exercises To Relieve Painful Knees

A woman pulling resistance band from her feet

Here are the three essential exercises you shouldn't miss out on for relieving knee pain.

Also Read: Best Exercise for Arthritic Knees

1. Front Leg Extension

Front leg extensions with resistance band work the quadriceps and strengthen other supporting knee muscles.

You can modify the intensity of the exercise by adding ankle weights or using a heavier band.

Here’s how to perform it: 

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Wrap the resistance band around the heel and hold onto the ends of the band.
  3. Keeping your back straight, lift your leg as high as possible while maintaining tension on the band.
  4. Hold the contraction for 1–2 seconds before slowly lowering your leg.
  5. Repeat for 1015 repetitions before switching legs.

Learn More: Resistance Band Leg Workout 

2. Terminal Knee Extension

Using resistance band for knee

The terminal knee extension is a rehabilitation strength training exercise focusing on the quads and improving the knee joint’s range of motion.

I highly recommend it for individuals recovering from a knee injury or surgery.

It can reduce pain and improve stability in the knee joint.

To perform the exercise:

  1. Sit on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
  2. Loop a resistance band around the ankle of one leg and secure the other end of the band to the leg of the bench.
  3. Slowly extend your knee, lifting your foot off the ground while keeping your thigh in contact with the bench.
  4. Hold the position for a few seconds, keep your knee straight, and slowly lower your foot back to the initial position.
  5. Repeat the movement and switch between the right and left leg.

3. Lying Knee Extension

The lying knee extension strengthens the hip flexors in the thighs, improves stability, and reduces pressure on the knee joint.

It can also aid in post-injury or post-surgery rehabilitation.

Here are the steps to perform the lying knee extension exercise:

  1. Lie flat on your back on a comfortable surface like a yoga mat.
  2. Bend one knee, and place your foot flat on the ground while keeping the other leg straight.
  3. Slowly lift the straight leg off the ground, keeping your knee as straight as possible.
  4. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
  5. Switch to the other leg and repeat.

Why Should You Use Resistance Bands?

Using resistance band

You should use resistance bands for knee pain because they offer a low-impact way to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knees, improve flexibility, and relieve discomfort.

Resistance band exercises improve mobility and reduce pain in the knee, making resistance band exercises an effective form of physical therapy after a knee injury.

“Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for knee pain.”

- Dr. Lauren Elson, Physical Medicine Instructor

Studies report that resistance exercise can enhance physical ability, alleviate osteoarthritis-related pain, reduce injury risks, and lower self-reported disability by fortifying the muscles surrounding the knee joint [1].

Training Intensity

Doing squats with resistance band

The training intensity for knee strengthening exercises should be adjusted according to individual fitness levels and goals.

Resistance bands come in different colors, indicating the level of tension.

Individuals just starting with resistance band exercises should choose a lighter resistance.

Perform 2–3 sets of each exercise, with 10–15 repetitions per set [2].

Gradually increase the resistance or number of repetitions to continue challenging the muscles surrounding the knees.


Can Resistance Bands Strengthen Knees?

Yes, resistance bands can strengthen the knees by providing resistance in exercises that target the muscles surrounding the knees, such as the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and shin muscles.

What Is the Best Band Stretch for the Knee?

The best band stretch for the knee is the front leg extension. They strengthen the quads, which are crucial for knee joint function and stability.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3635671/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18821647/
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