I have cracking knees especially in my left knee and sometimes in the right one too, but not much. I have checked it they said it's nothing but it's uncomfortable. I dont like the feeling when squatting and when I go up, the knee just pops back to its place in the knee cap area. I am afraid it will evolve into something bad. Is there any exercise to strengthen the knees and stop this awful sound?

2 Answers 2


Since you said you had it checked out:

I hate to say it, but one of the best exercises for your knees is the squat. I'd check out this video with Mark Rippetoe (a respected coach) for good information on proper form to get the most out of it.

That said:

  • Only squat with free weights. The machines don't let your stabilizing muscles do any work, which is probably a big cause for the uncomfortableness you feel.
  • Deload and focus on form. Go all the way back down to just the bar if you have to, but you want to strengthen the stabilizing muscles. You can only do that with free weights and good form. Then, go up by 5lb/session until you get back to your working weight.

By that time your knees, and all the rest of your stabilizing muscles should be at the same level.

  • +1, but I don't think your first point is entirely true. Of course free weights are better with regards to stabilizing muscles, but "no stabilizing work" is not true. Even with a squat machine there's nothing keeping your knees from moving sideways. Perhaps you were thinking of a a leg extensions machine. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 16:47
  • 1
    Perhaps the way I phrased it overstates the point a bit. However, there is a world of difference doing a free weight squat and one in a squat machine. In a squat machine I can easily do 360. However, when I went to free weights I couldn't even do 1 proper squat at 270. I basically deloaded all the way to the bar to get everything working properly together, and have been going up 5lb per session. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 17:25
  • Yes, I have made the same experience, not only with squats but also with bench presses. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 21:06

I had the exact same problem when I started training and I could seriously improve the "cracking" noise and the related feeling over time. I read somewhere that this is caused by uneven distribution of fluids in the joints, but I can't find the source anymore.

What's actually helped me was a lot of different leg related exercices, even those where the knee joints are not directly used. Squats, leg extensions, leg curls, hip abduction and adduction, running, cycling, elliptical trainer, ... From that list I think running and the leg curls had the most effect, especially when using cables instead of machines, but I think the key was the broad spectrum of exercises.

As I said I could improve my situation, but the cracking noise sometimes still comes back, especially if I did a halfhearted warmup.

  • Has anyone else tried this and seen it work?
    – Noumenon
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 22:19

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