These exercises, according to a study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, help strengthen muscles that protect the anterior cruciate ligament, which is particularly vulnerable to injury in women.
The moves are beneficial for anyone trying to strengthen the knees -- especially for tennis, trail running, or activities that require sudden lateral movement.
1. Walking Lunge to Build Stability
From standing position, step forward into a lunge with your right leg, so that your right thigh is even with the ground and your left heel is lifted. Square your right knee over your ankle, but not past your toes. Now, pushing forward off your hind leg, lunge forward onto your left leg. Do 3 sets of 8.
2. Vertical Jump to Strengthen Legs and Hips
Stand facing forward with hands at your sides. Slightly bend your knees with your weight on your toes, then jump vertically.
Important: Be sure to land on the balls of your feet, with your knees bent and your hips straight. Then slowly roll your feet back to your heels. Do 20 times.
3. Cool-Down Stretch to Lengthen Hip and Buttock Muscles
Lie with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Lift your hips and squeeze in your buttocks. Keeping your hips up, extend right leg vertically. Lower that leg and lift your left one. Do 30 times on each side.
© 2014 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. All rights reserved.