The Best Exercises For Bad Knees

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Most people start working out because they want to improve their physical form like to lose weight or flex muscles. But when you have bad knees it can be difficult to reach your fitness goals and don’t hurt your knees, and paradoxically, exercise can be the best medicine for bad and chronic achy knees.

The most common causes the chronic knee pains are poor flexibility or imbalances in the muscles around the knees. “Strengthening the muscles around the joint protects you from injury by decreasing stress on the knee,” says Willibald Nagler, MD, the chairman of rehabilitation medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Campus in New York City. But it`s very important to use the right form and technique when doing exercises for bad knees. Here you`ll find the exercises that you can perform even with knee pain and not only don’t hurt your knees, but also improve your health and fitness level.

Just remember, you must avoid bending your legs to a point where your knees stick out past your toes. That movement puts a lot of pressure under the kneecap. This not only applies to the following exercises for bad knees but also when you’re stretching or doing any aerobic activity.


Choosing an intensive exercise program bad knees can ruin your workout plans! So before beginning any exercise program, check with your doctor and pick certain knee exercises that will be safe and effective for bad knees. When it comes to knee problems swimming is really great! Firstly, swimming is a good way to kill calories in a shorter time. By the way, it burns calories equal to what you would burn while running. And most importantly, swimming provides a gentle and minimal impact on all your joints.

Dumbbell Lunges

The lunge is also a great leg-developing exercise that can be done if you have a bad knee or after a knee injury. Of course, you can make this exercise a bit harder using the dumbbells or even barbell. Perform this exercise by lifting one knee high in the air and stepping out to ensure a 90-degree angle on the descent. Practice 2 – 3 sets of 15 reps.

Dumbbell Step-Ups

Step-ups are one of the best quad exercises for bad knees. They help develop power and coordination in the leg muscles. So take a pair of dumbbells and hold them down at your sides. Stand up straight in front of a flat bench or other raised platform. Step up on the platform with one leg and when your foot is firmly planted on the platform, place your other foot there as well. Hold this position for a few seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat 3 – 4 sets of 15 reps.

Single-Leg Barbell Squat

This is also one of the most effective exercises for building functional stability in the hips and knee stabilizers. Take on your best shoes for bad knees to execute this exercise properly, stand with your back facing a flat bench and take the barbell. Then put one leg back so that your foot is resting on the bench behind you. As you inhale, slowly lower your leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor and your leg comes down at a 90-degree angle. Return your leg back to the starting position as you exhale and repeat this exercise 2 – 3 sets of 15 reps.

Scissor Kick

This exercise affects the abs, thighs and hip flexors. By the way, it is a cool way to improve your body and don’t hurt your knees. To perform it properly, you must lie flat on your back with your legs together and arms by your side. Your forearms should also lie on the floor. Then slowly lift your legs (about six inches) and shoulders (about one inch). Staying in this position, spread your legs apart, bring them back toward each other and after this, cross one leg over another. This is just one rep. You can start by doing sets of 50 reps. While doing this exercise, be sure that your legs and shoulders are not touching the floor.


If you need a low impact on knees cardio exercises are just what you want! The elliptical is known as a panacea for chronic achy knees. When you perform the exercise on an elliptical trainer you need to use both the legs and arms for power. However, the impact force on your ankle and knee joints by using the elliptical machine is considerably lower than the force you experience while walking or running.

Rowing Machine

One more cardio for bad knees is performing the rowing action. This means the rowing machine can provide an excellent workout even if you have knee problems. Hitting the gym, you want to have a complete body workout and the rowing machine is the best option especially for the upper body. It is a perfect exercise for toning up arms and shoulders. Besides, when you perform the rowing action the legs provide a low impact support without putting any strain on the joints.

Doing these exercises, you will never be at risk of damaging your bad knees. These great exercises allow to have effective workouts, improve your health and reach your fitness goals.

Amber Louchart

Amber is the proud Homeschooling mother to four beautiful children, Damian (23), Rosaleigh (9), Carlyn (6), Naomi (3) and a wife to her loving husband, Chancellor. Her family also includes three cats. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and feels blessed to be able to care for her children full-time and provide them with so many opportunities through Metro Detroit Mommy.

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