Low Impact Workouts For Bad Knees

Last update: 2021-04-16

Having bad knees can make a lot of people hesitate from doing exercise as they fear they may be in pain for doing so. The good news is that there are low impact workouts that are suitable and can even help with your knee pain.

Therefore, I have compiled a list of low impact workouts for bad knees in case you are looking for one.

Workouts Outside Of The House


Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesThis is undeniably one of the best low impact workouts available to choose from. Your body weight is supported by the water, allowing your joints to move without any pain.

The water also provides better mobility than exercising on land.

It’s worth noting that you should choose a swimming stroke depending on what knee problem you are suffering from.

If you find it hard to do a frog kick, you should skip breaststroke and try freestyle instead. After a while, you can also turn over to practice some backstroke.


Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesIf you think that walking can hurt your already bad knees, you should change your mind because it’s proven in research that this is an effective exercise. You can start with slow, steady walks then gradually walk faster and longer.

Speed walking is considered a low-impact exercise for your knees as well, so you can slowly raise your walking speed if you can as it will be beneficial for your body.


Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesDepending on the specific knee problem you have, cycling can serve as an effective cardio workout that puts little to no pressure on the knee.

The reason is that when you cycle, your feet are not on the ground so they don’t have to bear any weight. Therefore, cycling is a workout with a lower impact than others.

Gym Workouts

Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesAt the gym, you will see a lot of different machines for working out, you can try a rowing or elliptical machine.

Rowing is a good exercise to help you burn calories while placing no stress on the knee joints. It also provides a total body workout for you and helps maximize core strength.

Compared with a treadmill, an elliptical machine is safer for those with bad knees.

When exercising on an elliptical machine, since your feet do not leave the pedals, you will be less likely to have injuries in the knees, neck, hips, or back. It will also help increase your heart rate, burn calories, as well as build cardiovascular fitness.

Workouts At Home

If you prefer to workout at home without using any machines, you can try the following workouts.


Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesThis workout is beneficial for quad muscles, hamstrings, and glutes. While it doesn’t seem low-impact, it won’t hurt your knees if you practice correctly.

To carry out this exercise, you start by standing at the bottom of the staircase stair bench. Next, place one of your feet flat on the bottom step while your knee is in line with the ankle.

Put the weight on the heel of the foot you’re placing on the step and lift the other foot tap the step and the floor. With each foot, repeat at least 10 times then switch to the other foot.

Partial Squats

Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesWhile full squats are not suitable for bad knees, partial squats are completely different. To do this workout, you need to place your feet apart, shoulder-wide, with your toes pointing forward.

Now, you need to pull in your abs while lowering your upper body. The knees should stay behind the toes during the entire exercise.

Calf Raises

Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesThis workout helps you keep your calf muscles in form. You start by standing on a flat surface. Your feet, ankles, and hips must be in alignment then you slowly lift your heels then lower them. The slower you do this movement, the harder it is.

Straight Leg Raises

Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesThis is an ideal exercise to keep the quadriceps muscle toned while not straining the knee. It’s also safe for bad knees due to its low impact.

Lie on the back on the floor, then bend one leg with your feet flat on the floor.

Meanwhile, you must keep the other leg straight and raise it to the same height as your bent leg. You should repeat this 10 times before swapping your legs.

Tips To Protect Your Knees During Workouts

After choosing a workout, keep in mind that your knees are in a fragile status and need protection during workouts even with low-impact ones. These are four tips you need to remember:

  • Wear proper shoes: put on comfortable, supportive shoes; avoid worn-out shoes as they can hurt you.

Low Impact Workouts For Bad Knees

  • Warm-up before the workout: proper warm-up helps you exercise safely and effectively. It increases the body temperature, promotes blood flow, loosens your muscles, as well as prepares your joints.

Low Impact Workouts For Bad KneesAvoid excessive strain and stress: never suddenly raise the intensity or duration of the workout or you will put yourself at the risk of injuries and long-term pain.

  • Carry out techniques properly: this is undoubtedly a must no matter what type of exercise you do.

Diagnosis Before Choosing A Workout For Bad Knees

Before you rush into any workout I have listed above, it’s important to get yourself diagnosed first.

You should not self-diagnose, you need professional medical attention to know what the exact problem is with your knees. So, go to the doctor first, then you can choose the right workout to avoid hurting your knees while strengthening your muscles and joints.


Overall, in this post, I have listed out all the low impact workouts for bad knees, which you can choose either to do at home or outside depending on your preference.

You had better get diagnosed by an expert before rushing into working out so that you can choose the best work out for yourself and get the best results.

Nancy Lang
Nancy Lang

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