Man on the beach doing exercises for his knee pain. He is wearing Bauerfeind's GenuTrain Knee Brace for added support

When it comes to knee pain, our first instinct is usually to try and stop using that knee as much. But while some rest and minimising aggravating activities may be necessary, the right type of exercise can actually help alleviate your knee pain, aid in injury recovery, and help you avoid re-injury. So, without further ado, here are the top 6 exercises for knee pain.


Why exercise when you’re in pain?

Man walking on the beach with his dog, a good exercise for knee pain.



Pain can stop us from being active, but without being active, we can’t stop pain. Put simply, our joints are made for movement. The muscles need it to stay strong and function as supports, the tendons need it to remain flexible, and cartilage needs it to get its daily nutrients. Without sufficient movement, you risk deconditioning the structures in the knee, resulting in a weaker, stiffer knee that’s even more prone to pain and injury. We know it’s not easy to overpower your instincts. We’re also not advising you to just stick to your everyday routines and physical activities without taking some precautions. The best way to approach an injury and knee pain is by combining dynamic rest, a strict exercise regimen that helps strengthen and mobilise the joint, and a quality brace like our GenuTrain to act as a protective layer.


The best exercises for knee pain


Two-legged squat

Two-legged squats strengthen the muscle chains at the front and back, giving you more stability. 

  • Stand with your legs hip-width apart. 
  • Slightly bend the knees. Don’t lock your knees while you’re doing this exercise.
  • Gently squat down as far as is comfortable. 
  • Keep your back neutral throughout. 

The deeper the squat, the more your muscles work. We’d recommend starting small and gradually working your way into a deeper squat as your knees get accustomed to the motion and strain.


Single-leg scissor stand

Man in purple shirt doing the single leg scissor stand knee exercise

This exercise will help strengthen your knee muscles and improve your balance and coordination. A stronger and more stable knee is less prone to pain and re-injury.

  • Place a small rolled-up towel on the floor.
  • Step onto the towel with your right leg and slightly bend the knee.
  • Step forward with your left leg, crossing your body’s centre line as though your toes are drawing a circle. Keep your weight on your supporting leg throughout the exercise.
  • Step backwards with your left leg, crossing your body’s centre line.
  • Point the kneecap or the right leg toward the right big toe at all times.
  • Do 10 reps.
  • Repeat for the other side.

If you find standing on the rolled-up towel difficult, you can remove it and add it back into the routine when you feel comfortable. If you find it hard to perform this exercise or any others on this list, you can add a brace. Our GenuTrain line uses some combination of medical-grade compression, padding, and hinged stays to relieve pain and support your joint through the exercise.

Learn more: Why Bracing is so Important for Injury Recovery 

Single leg stand

Standing on one leg improves balance and knee stability by activating and strengthening all the leg and torso muscles, especially the quads and core.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. 
  • Slightly bend your knees and distribute your weight on them evenly. keep your kneecaps pointed at your big toes.
  • Lift one foot off the floor, holding the position for 20 seconds
  • Do 3 - 5 reps, depending on your comfort levels 
  • Repeat for the other side. 

For better balance, pick a fixed spot in front of you and stare at it. For a more challenging exercise, try closing your eyes.



Man doing the 5 point knee strengthening exericse, a good exercise for knee pain

This is a great exercise for improving knee mobility and balance. 

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Imagine a square on the floor around you. 
  • While keeping your spine in a neutral position, bend your right leg and shift your weight onto it.
  • With your left leg, briefly tap the edges of the square with your big toe, returning to tap your right foot between each one. 
  • Repeat 2-3 times.
  • Repeat for the other side.

The bigger the square is, the harder this exercise will be, so start small and work your way up daily as you become more comfortable with the exercise. If you have trouble keeping your balance, try staring at a fixed spot on the wall or holding onto the back of a chair.


Forward lunge 

Man doing lunges in Bauerfeind's Sports Knee Brace

The forward lunge activates and strengthens the quads and hamstrings and improves your coordination and balance.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • While keeping your spine neutral, take a step forward on your right leg and touch the floor with your left knee.
  • Return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat for the other side. 
  • Do 10-15 reps a leg 

The forward lunge puts more strain on your knees than other exercises on this list. If you feel you’re losing stability or start experiencing pain, stop, rest, and try again with less of a bend in the back knee.


Backward lunge

Man doing a backward lunge for his knee pain

This exercise is similar to the forward lunge, but it requires a bit more balance and coordination to complete.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • While keeping your spine neutral, take a step back on your right leg and touch the floor with your right knee.
  • Return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat for the other side. 
  • Do 10-15 reps a leg 

As with the forward lunge, keep an eye on your comfort levels and take a break or reduce the bend of the back knee.


Some things to consider

  1. Always, always seek specialist advice following an injury. Without a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, you risk more pain and re-injury
  2. When picking out a brace, keep fit, quality, and purpose in mind. Only medical-grade support that fits the contours of your knee and is designed for your injury type will offer the support you need. Mass-produced neoprene braces may be cheaper, but they’ll be more costly for your knee in the long run.
  3. Not to sound like a broken record, but you should carefully monitor your pain and comfort levels while doing mobility and strengthening exercises. Movement is the best medicine, but we don’t want you to risk a setback. If you’re particularly sore or unstable, speak with your physio to see their recommendations. And if you’re feeling your pain flare up during any of these exercises, you can try a more robust brace like the GenuTrain S to support you or swap out an exercise with one that puts less stress on the knee. 

You can find more exercises for knee pain in our knee strengthening article, or download the Bauerfeind Treatment App for a more customised physical recovery routine.



Our joints are made for movement, so staying active is the best medicine for knee injury recovery. Fortunately, the right set of strengthening and mobility exercises can go a long way to helping recondition your knee for pressure and movement following an injury. And while moving isn’t always easy while you’re in pain, a quality knee brace can help relieve this symptom and act as an additional layer of protection for your joint.


See our full collection of knee supports: Knee Braces and Supports

If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466 or contact us via live chat.

Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products, check to see if yours is included. Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance Inquiry.   


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