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Best Leg Exercises For Bad Knees

The Best Leg Exercises For Seniors With Bad Knees

Working Out Legs With Bad Knees – 5 Exercises!

The following leg exercises are perfect for senior citizens who wish to strengthen their knees. When performed consistently, you will notice significant differences in your knee strength.

Consider performing ten to twelve repetitions of these exercises at least three times every week, starting slowly and progressing over time.

You Are Lifting Too Heavy Too Often

When it comes to knee pain, sometimes the pain is due to a loading issue rather than the particular exercise.

When you lift too heavy, the muscles may not be able to deal with the extra loading stress, which in turn will place more strain on the joints and connective tissues.

If you are using heavy loads all the time, there is always a risk that you will at some point let your form change and open yourself up to increased risks of injury or overuse injuries.

This is why having a program that modifies your workouts based on your performance is key. With Fitbod, your workouts are tailored to your goals, abilities, and week to week performance.

Best Quads Exercises For Knee Problems

This leg workout will begin with a focus on controlled squats using some isometric and pause techniques to help minimize the impact on the knee joint.

Whether they be isometric or pause variations, there is one important key with these squats.

You want to be in control of each and every single rep.

You can begin to add weight once and only once you have complete control over the weight you are squatting.

In my case Im going to begin with 135 lbs and do an Isometric Squat Hold. My goal is told hold this for about 20 seconds to build some good stability and to feel like I have a good foundation. It also helps me to test how stable or sore my knees are on any given day.


The Isometric Squat Hold done with a lower weight helps us build stability and determine the status of our knees before we begin adding weight.

Today, my knees felt pretty good so Ive moved to a Pause Squat using 225 lbs.

Its important to note that Im not looking to push heavy, heavy weight like I used to. For me, its all about stability and strength, and to be able to hold my body in the functional positions I know Ill need to perform.

For an athlete, thats going to be way down deep in this squat position.

Be sure your starting position is with feet flat on the floor and that they dont lift up off the ground as you lower.


Ultimately, I work my way up to around 315 lbs with the Pause Squats.



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Anything Quad Exercise That Is Done With Heavy Weight And Hard Intensity

This is more of a training tip, but if you are lifting heavy weights and training to failure, and pushing through knee pain, just know you are walking on borrowed time.

If something hurts, causes knee joint pain, or swelling, the exercise itself may not be the issue, but rather your form and how much weight you are lifting or how fast you are doing a movement may be.

The 5 Best Leg Exercises For Seniors With Bad Knees

6 Best Leg Exercises For Bad Knees

by Eric Arnow | Jul 25, 2021 | Self Care

While some things get better with age, our knees are, unfortunately, not one of them. The list of knee pain and injuries that coincide with aging is long. Fortunately, there are a few exercises that can help you improve your knee, leg and overall body strength and health. The following are the five best leg exercises for seniors with bad knees.


Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Partial And Total Knee Replacement

What Not To Do

  • Do not let the back arch during the exercise.
  • Do not jerk or bounce the leg or lift it above the knee on the bent leg.
  • People who have osteoporosis or a back compression fracture should not perform this exercise.

Muscles involved: Hamstrings and gluteal muscles.

  • Stand straight with the knees only 12 inches apart. Hold on to a stable chair, the countertop, or another object for balance.
  • Slowly bend one knee behind the body, lifting the heel off the floor while keeping the thighs aligned. Continue to lift the heel in a smooth motion until the knee bend reaches a 90-degree angle. Keep the straight leg slightly bent to avoid locking it.
  • Hold the bent leg up for 5 seconds and then slowly lower it to the floor.
  • Repeat two more times with the same leg.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • What Exercises Should People With Bad Knees Avoid

    As with any joint problem, some exercises will exacerbate your pain and stiffness rather than alleviate it. Some of these are simply not good for people of advanced age. Others depend on the surface where you are performing the exercise, the worn footwear.

    • Hurdler Stretches: This stretching exercise put a considerable amount of torque pressure on the knees and hips and ankles. Older folks should avoid this stretch.
    • Full-arc Knee Extensions: This exercise puts immense pressure on the knees and should only be performed by younger people or those already in good shape.
    • Lunges: Lunges also put a lot of pressure on the knee and, if you have a lot of pain or inflammation, should be avoided.
    • Deep Squats: Older people or those with severe osteoarthritis should avoid deep squats because they put immense pressure on the knees and make them worse.

    Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Scar Tissue In Knee

    How To Choose Quad Exercises That Wont Cause Knee Pain

    Choosing quad exercises the wont cause knee pain is often a trial and error process, and means you need to lift with less weight on the movements you normally do, incorporate more stretching to the quad muscles, and introduce unilateral lower body exercises to train the quads and allow the knee joint to recover.

    • You can first start by doing the movements you normally would, but use less weight and more controlled reps, and see if the knee pain was caused by lifting too heavy or without enough control.
    • If those movements still cause knee pain, then try other variations that allow you to train hard and feel the muscle but with less overall weight. A good example may be doing a Bulgarian split squat instead of a back squat.
    • If you still have pain, try performing isometric exercises like wall sits, which require no joint movement at the knee but can still work the quad muscle. Isometrics are great to use in conjunction with other strengthening exercises.

    The 5 Exercises You Need

    5 Best Leg Exercises for Knee Pain (SOLUTION FOR BAD KNEES!!)

    Sometimes our knees don’t feel 100 percent. Some of us deal with ongoing or intermittent pain. We don’t want this to shut down our leg training and force us to break out the lounge-around-the-house sweatpants.

    Don’t worry, though. I’ve got a workout plan that allows you to make adjustments to minimize or eliminate knee pain, thus allowing you to avoid missing leg training. My sincerest apologies for ruining your best-laid excuses to sit this one out.

    First let’s look at the exercises, then I’ll give you a workout plan to follow.

    Also Check: Can Knee Pain Cause Calf Pain

    Prone Straight Leg Raises

    Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Tighten the muscles in your bottom and the hamstring of one leg, and lift toward the ceiling. Hold 3-5 seconds, lower, and repeat. Do 10-15 lifts and switch sides. You can add ankle weights as you gain strength. You shouldnt feel back pain. If you do, limit how high you lift up. If it still hurts, stop and talk to your doctor.

    What Else Can Help

    There are lots of exercises that can help knee pain. Try them outand chose the best leg exercises for you. They should be moderatelychallenging but not painful. See the exercise overviewfor tips on working at the right level for you.

    If these exercises feel too hard at the moment, do thebeginnersexercises for a few weeks, and once you have built up some more strength, come back to these intermediate best leg exercises.

    Onceyou have done these intermediate best leg exercises for a few weeks, you should have built upthe number of repetitions of each exercise and they should be startingto feel quite easy.

    When that is the case, CONGRATULATIONS! You areready to progress on to moreadvancedknee pain exercises to help build up more strength and flexibility.

    Remember with any knee problem, you should always see yourdoctor before you start exercising, but once you get the all clear,youre ready to go with these best leg exercises for knee pain.

    Page Last Updated: 11/04/21

    Read Also: How To Handle Knee Pain

    Leg Exercises For Bad Knees Bodybuilding

    Bad knees can put a real damper on your workout routine. But just because you have bad knees doesnt mean you cant still exercise. In fact, there are plenty of leg exercises for bad knees that can help strengthen the muscles and joints around your knee, making it stronger and more stable.One great leg exercise for bad knees is the wall sit. Start by leaning back against a wall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for as long as you can, then slowly stand back up.Another great leg exercise for bad knees is the step-up. Start by standing in front of a step or platform that is about knee-height. Place your left foot on the step and push up, bringing your right foot up next to your left so you are standing on top of the step with both feet. Step back down with your right foot first, followed by your left, and repeat.If you have bad knees, leg exercises may seem daunting at first but they are definitely possible and beneficial!

    Benefits Of Knee Strengthening Exercises

    Best Exercise Equipment For Bad Knees And Hips

    The Arthritis Foundation state that exercise may be the most effective way to treat osteoarthritis without surgery, while the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons note that strong and flexible muscles can keep knees healthy and prevent injury.

    Knee strengthening exercises do not affect the knee joint directly, but they strengthen the muscles surrounding it. Strong muscles in the legs can help provide support for the knees. This support may alleviate pressure and strain on these joints, which can relieve pain and help a person be more active.

    The following exercises can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. If a person experiences pain during these exercises, they should stop doing them and speak to a doctor. Anyone with severe knee pain should consult a doctor before trying to exercise.

    It is best to warm up with light exercise before starting any knee strengthening exercises. Examples of gentle exercise include walking, cycling, and using an elliptical machine, all of which put minimal stress on the knees. This activity will help increase blood flow to the muscles and allow them to be more flexible.

    Muscles involved: Quadriceps and abdominal muscles.

  • Lie down on the floor with the back flat. Use a yoga mat, folded blanket, or exercise mat for comfort on a hard floor.
  • Keep the left leg straight and bend the right leg slightly at the knee, bringing the foot closer to the body.
  • Hold the left leg up for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat two more times with the same leg.
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    Move : Standing Terminal Knee Extension With Resistance Band

    Another great quad exercise for painful knees, this exercise helps to increase quadriceps muscle strength, which ultimately supports the knee and helps decrease pain.

  • Wrap a resistance band around an anchor. Walk far enough away from it so that theres very little slack left in the band. Facing the anchor, wrap the other end of the band around one knee.
  • Bend that knee, moving in a slow and controlled way so that you dont just give into the pull of the band but rather control the resistance fully with your knee.
  • Straighten your knee again.
    • Avoid hyperextending the knee when pulling it into the extended position, she says.
    • Don’t let you hips rock or your heels raise off the floor.


    • If this is too challenging, ditch the resistance band and instead, focus on tightening the quad isometrically.

    Sit To Stand With Resistance Bands

    Dr.Eni Kadar, a doctor of Physical Therapy said, When I see patients with bad knees, there are two quad-specific exercises I like to start with.

    Of course, everybody is different and every knee is different. Some people may need more hip strength or more muscle stretching, but as a starting point, these two exercises are my go-tos: Standing Knee Extensions and Sit to Stands

    Dr.Kadar recommends the Standing Knee Extension as one of the best quad exercises for bad knees, but we covered that earlier.

    Her second recommendation is the Sit to stand with Resistance Bands exercise. Heres what she said:

    SETUP Begin sitting at the edge of a chair with your knees hip-width apart and your feet parallel with your hands out in front of you. The resistance band should be slightly above your knees.

    EXECUTION Push through your heels to stand up then slowly lower down to sit again.

    REASON A squatting pattern with control the chair helps control your descent. If you want to make it less challenging, you can stack some pillows or cushions on the chair to make the surface higher. Squatting is very functional and this is a great way to do it with less pressure through your knees.

    Heres a video of it in action:

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    What Is A Bad Knee

    A bad knee is a term used to describe the pain in the knee joint. It can be caused by many factors such as age, arthritis, injuries, and other medical conditions.

    Injuries to the knee are common among people of all ages. The most common type of injury is a torn meniscus which can cause pain and swell in the knee joint. Other types of injuries include fractures, sprains, and dislocations. The knee has the major function of supporting the weight of the body when standing and walking. The knee also provides attachment for the quadriceps and hamstrings muscles, and it contains a joint that is comprised of three bones.

    Body Bar Inner Thigh Lift

    3 Best Leg Exercises for Bad Knees You Can Do at Home
  • Begin by laying on your right side on a mat or carpet with the body bar or weighted bar in front of you.
  • Bend the knee of the top leg and set that foot down in front of the bottom leg, which stays long on the ground.
  • Place the end of the bar onto the inside of the foot of the bottom leg and the other end on the floor in front of you with your hand gently, keeping it still.
  • Now raise the bottom leg slowly up and down to lift and lower the bar. Perform 10-12 reps and switch sides. If it feels too easy, go to a heavier bar.
  • Recommended Reading: How To Get Your Knees Stronger

    Best Quad Exercises For Bad Knees

    You use your quadriceps more than you probably realize. Whether youre riding a bike, waiting in line at the grocery store, or taking a walk on the beach, youre using those quads. This large muscle group is crucial for protecting the cartilage in your knees, preventing osteoarthritis, and creating stability in your lower body. Here are some exercises that strengthen these muscles:

    1. Knee extensions

    Knee extensions are an easy and gentle way to strengthen quads.

  • Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • While seated, lift one leg and extend it out in front of you, keeping the leg straight and level with your body.
  • Hold this for a few seconds , then lower your leg to the floor.
  • Repeat with the other leg, alternating for 10 counts each.
  • Tip: For those who like a challenge, try adding a set of ankle weights!

    2. Short arcs

    Physical therapists suggest using short arcs to strengthen the muscles in your upper leg, especially if you find knee extensions too difficult.

  • Lie on your back and place a rolled blanket or towel under one knee.
  • Slowly lift your foot up and off of the mat or floor until your knee is straight and your toes are pulled towards you.
  • Hold this for a few seconds, then lower your leg. Repeat the movement for 10 counts, then switch legs.
  • 3. Wall squats

    Wall squats minimize pressure on your knees by using the wall to balance your weight.

  • Stand with your back against the wall and your feet shoulder width apart.
  • How To Prevent Knee Pain

    The good thing about the lower body exercises we just covered is they’re fantastic whether you have sore knees or not. So while you should be using them, we hope it’s because you want to, and not because you have to.

    The best way to make this happen is to prevent knee injuries from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips to keep your knees healthy.

    1. Include A Proper Warm-Up:

    Make sure you’re warming up. Too many lifters skip this part thinking it doesn’t do anything or something. Bad choice.

    A primary purpose of a warm-up is to prepare our bodies for performance, including the joints. Within the cartilage of synovial joints is a thick fluid called synovial fluid.

    During exercise, this fluid is secreted and soaks the joint to lubricate it and improve function. Think about it like this: Would you ever drive your car with no oil?

    In addition, a warm-up loosens the muscles and joints for optimal function. Try these dynamic warm-up exercises before your next workout.

    2. Strengthen Your Glutes And Hamstrings:

    As mentioned above, a common cause for knee pain are weak glutes and to a lesser extent, weak hamstrings.

    These powerful muscles support the posterior chain. Therefore, when they’re too weak, the body does not function properly and excessive stress is put on the lower body joints including the knee.

    Make sure you have a strong backside by including glute exercises in your program.

    3. Utilize Progressive Overload Effectively:

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