If you’ve ever suffered with knee pain while working out, you know that it’s not a pleasant experience. My knees protest loudly when I do squats and lunges and it’s very hard to get through them. Most experts will tell you that if you feel any kind of pain during exercise that it’s time to stop and find a new way to get your cardio and strength training. Here are some moves that you can safely do if you have bad knees, but clear this with your doctor first, just to be sure.
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Switch from Full Squats to Partial Squats
There’s no doubt squats can do wonders for your thighs and butt, but going into the full move can really make your knees hurt and is often not advised for certain conditions. However, partial squats are usually fine since they are less intense and easier on your knees. The technique is the same, but only lower yourself about halfway down to stay safe and still benefit. Easy, right?
Step Ups Are Perfectly Fine
Steps, provided you are doing them slowly enough, can be beneficial for improving bad knees while also helping you burn calories and build muscles at the same time. All you need is a small exercise step and you can include a few sets of steps in your routine. You’ll notice less knee pain without having to give up exercise altogether.
You Can’t Go Wrong with Calf Raises
I love calf raises because you can do them anywhere and they are super effective for building strength and muscle mass in your lower body. On top of that, calf raises are easy on the knees so you shouldn’t have any trouble doing a couple of sets of them a couple of times each week. Start with traditional calf raises, then try them with your heels hanging off a stair for even more benefits.
Thigh Leg Lifts Are the Ideal Choice
Leg lifts are easy on your knees because you are lying down when you perform them. To make this move effective, attach weights to your legs, right above the knee. Then lie on your side and slowly raise and lower your leg. Switch to the other side and repeat with the other leg. This move builds your thighs and hips and is super easy despite having knee pain.
Lateral Band Walks Are Fun and Easy
You’ll need a resistance band to do this move, but it’s simple and will go easy on your aching knees. Slide the band up until it rests right below your knees. Then slide one leg out, stretching the band as you go. Slide your leg back and then repeat on the other side, alternating sides until you finish a set. The resistance will build muscle and strength throughout your legs.
Hip Raises Are a Prime Idea
It might not seem like hip raises are doing that much, but they actually activate your rear end and your legs without putting pressure on your knees. Lie on a mat and gently raise your hips, keeping your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor. Start with one set of 15 reps and work your way up from there.
A Few Straight Leg Calf Stretches Can’t Hurt
This is a great move to start or end your workout with. Stand about two feet from the wall, then step forward with one foot, keeping both heels pressed to the ground. Use your arms to push against the wall, keeping your feet in place throughout. This move will work your legs and your arms. Perfect!
Regular Leg Lifts Are Never a Bad Idea
This move has you on your back so it's pretty much no impact on the knees. Start with legs straight in the air, lower down to the ground but don't actually touch the ground. This engages your core and works that lower belly area.
Low Plank with Knee Extension Will Strengthen Your Knees
This exercise allows you to engage your quads and hamstrings at the same time while also working quadriceps and core-Cool! Get in a low plank position, lift one leg slightly and flex your knee contracting your hamstring. Extend and repeat. Complete 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps each leg.
A Seated Leg Extension is Worth a Shot
Doing this exercise will strengthen your quads. To add intensity, strap on some ankle weights. Sit in a chair with your back flat. Extend one leg straight out but don't lock the knee! Your leg should be parallel to the ground with toes pointing to the ceiling. Lower down and repeat 8-12 reps for 2-3 sets.
Which of these moves do you already do? Which will you be adding to your routine?
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