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Leg Exercises Easy On The Knees

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.
  • If You’re Recovering From A Knee Injury Or If You Just Want To Rest The Knee Joints These Are The Workouts To Try

    If joints in the human body were to be ranked in order of importance, the knees would probably take top spot. Those working out regularly would likely be more confident about beating a shoulder or an elbow injury, but the knee is a different kind of serious. It carries the load of your body, it lets you walk, run, skip, and do most basic movements. When it comes to the knee, you should heed its warnings.

    If you have had a knee injury, however minor or serious, whether its recurring or one-off, it will affect the way you approach your workouts. Heavy leg days are out of the question, conditioning work is highly recommended, and careful management of the injury with ice and stretching will make things easier. Having a regular physiotherapist to see you through the phases of progress is also important.

    So if youre returning from an injury or feel a general weakness in the knee/s, here are some workouts that you can still do .

    20-minute HIIT with Abby Pollock

    Apart from some compound lifts, what a knee injury will make you miss the most are HIIT workouts. Abby Pollock comes to the rescue with a routine which follows a 30-second on, 30-second off pattern. With moves ranging from boxer bounces, rotating bear planks, and power jacks, this workout is an excellent alternative to cardio which does not involve running. You get the interval training benefits as a bonus.

    You Are Not Challenging Your Range Of Motion

    Strength is angular specific, meaning the range of motion used to strengthen a muscle in the gym is the range of motion that youll be able to express strength and safe movements outside the gym.

    People only think about strengthening a muscle and improving knee health by adding weight, however if you can also increase the range of motion the knee can move pain free , you can also help alleviate knee pain in the long run.

    Aim to train in a full range of motion, and over time, try to expand on that range of motion, even if it means you use less weight. This will help you not only decrease knee pain, but also strengthen the muscles of the leg throughout the entire range of motion.

    Read Also: Can Back Problems Cause Knee Pain

    Hamstring Curls On A Weight Bench

    Evidently, this exercise uses the hamstrings but also the gluteal muscles.

    It is a variation of the hamstring curl. If you have access to a weight bench but it must be purpose-built for this exercise.

    It is more challenging than the standing hamstring curl, dependant on the weights being used.

    Lie face down on the bench and have your knees close together. Grip onto the handles for stability.

    Tuck your feet under the weight which should sit just up above the heels. Slowly bend both knees, using the force of your legs to raise the weight up.

    Lift the weight in a smooth motion until the knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold the weight up for 5 seconds before releasing, slowly lowering it back down to the starting position.

    Perform 15 reps in total.

    When you first attempt this exercise, do not use a heavy weight. Try with the lowest weight and work your way up to the heavier weights to build up your strength.

    Rule #: Know The Mechanics

    10 Best Leg Exercises For Bad Knees (With Photos)

    The knees will take on more or less stress depending on the angle at the shin while lifting weights. The further forward the knee tracks over the toe, the more quadriceps youll hit in your exercise. Doing your best to keep your shins perpendicular to the ground while training the lower body is important when it comes to keeping knee pain at bay. Here are some exercises to help with that idea.

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    Heels Elevated Goblet Squat

    Have you ever noticed how massive and ripped track cyclists legs are? While bike sprinting is part of the reason, this secret exercise is also a contributing factor. Not only is this a killer quad exercise, but its also pretty low-tech, so its ideal for home lifters.


  • Place two bumper weight plates on the floor about hip-width apart. Alternatively, use a length of wooden plank. Stand with your heels raised and the balls of your feet on the floor. Your feet should be parallel.
  • Hold a kettlebell in front of your chest and just below your chin. Pull your shoulders down and back, and brace your core. Look straight ahead.
  • Keep your torso upright, bend your knees, and squat as deeply as possible without rounding your lower back.
  • Stand up, stopping just short of locking your knees to keep the tension on your quads.
  • Descend again and repeat for the required number of repetitions.
  • Muscles targeted:

    • Secondary: Hamstrings, gluteus maximus, core.


    • A very quads-centric compound leg exercise.
    • No squat rack is required.
    • A very safe exercise drop the weight in front of you if you cannot complete a rep.


    Related:Heels Elevated Goblet Squats

    Exercises That Are Easy On The Knees

    Youve finally decided to get into a solid workout routine and everything is going great until you feel that bothersome knee pain that so many people experience. You dont want to back down at this point, your motivation is there, but you dont know if you should continue with the same regimen in fear of making things worse. Knee pain is a common ailment for people of all ages and its a complaint often heard from people who work out. After approval from your physician, you can try these exercises that will keep you moving without all the discomfort.

    Also Check: Whats Good For Arthritis In Knee

    What Not To Do:

    • Do not lock the knees during this exercise. The knees should remain slightly bent.
    • Do not allow any part of the stepping foot to hang off the stool or platform.
    • People who have issues with balance should not perform this exercise.

    Muscles involved: Quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.

  • Use two high-backed, stable chairs, placing one on either side of the body with the chair backs next to the arms. Place a hand on the back of each chair for balance.
  • Lift right leg about 12 inches from the ground. All weight should be on the left leg.
  • Slowly bend down a few inches, pushing weight onto the heel of supporting leg.
  • Hold for 35 seconds.
  • Slowly straighten up.
  • There are many different ways to stretch the hamstrings in the back of the legs. One is through traditional toe touching.

    • With the feet close together, slowly bend over at the hips and extend the arms downward. Keep the legs straight but do not lock the knees.
    • Reach the fingers to the top of the toes and hold for 30 seconds.
    • Initially, it may not be possible to reach the toes. In this case, try to get the fingers as close as possible to the toes without causing pain.

    What not to do:

    • Do not use a bouncing motion. Hold the body still.

    Should You Workout Legs With Knee Pain

    10 MIN LEG/BOOTY WORKOUT (No Squats Knee Friendly)

    There are many people who ask if they should workout legs if they have knee pain. The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. It depends on the cause of the knee pain and the individuals overall health.

    There are some people who should not workout their legs if they have knee pain. This includes people who have a knee injury or who are recovering from a knee surgery. In these cases, it is important to follow the doctors orders and to not push yourself too hard.

    There are also people who should be careful about the type of exercises they do if they have knee pain. exercises that involve a lot of jumping or running can be hard on the knees. If you have knee pain, it is best to stick to exercises that are low impact, such as swimming or cycling.

    If you are able to workout your legs despite having knee pain, it is important to take it easy at first. You dont want to push yourself too hard and end up making the pain worse. Start with light exercises and gradually increase the intensity as you become stronger.

    If you are having trouble figuring out what exercises are safe for you, it is best to consult with a doctor or physical therapist. They can help you create a workout routine that is safe for your knees and that will help improve your knee pain.

    Read Also: What Causes Inflammation In The Knee

    Inner Thigh Leg Lifts

    Simply lie on the floor and straighten your bottom leg. Bend your top leg and prop your head up with your hand. Keep your core steady and target your inner thigh by lifting your bottom leg up and slowly setting it back down to the floor without allowing your back to create the motion. You can also do circles or pulses to mix things up. Do 12-15 reps and then repeat on the other leg.

    Is It Safe For Me To Exercise

    Are you worried that working out could cause more knee damage or pain? As long as your doctor says its OK, the best thing you can do is to strengthen the muscles that support your knee and keep them flexible. Start slowly, and build up over time. Talk to your doctor about which specific exercises are good for you.

    Read Also: How Do You Get Water In Your Knee

    Exercise 3 Barbell Lunges

    2-3 sets of 15 reps

    Barbell Lunges

    The lunge is another great leg-development exercise that can be done after a knee injury, and it is my personal favorite. After leg extensions, step-ups, and single-leg squats, you’d think you’d be done. Oh please! We are trying to win a competition! We need some tears, and you might have been crying at the single-leg squat so this exercise will put an exclamation point on the workout!

    I prefer using the barbell on these, but using dumbbells is fine also. Perform this exercise by lifting one knee high in the air and stepping out as far as you can to insure a 90-degree angle on descent. Some people prefer to use the quicker, shorter version by taking smaller steps.

    Just as with the single-leg barbell squat, I recommend stepping out as far as you’re able to. Your legs may be feeling wobbly by this point, so you only need to do 2 sets.

    Sit To Stand With Resistance Bands

    Pin on Fitness

    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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    Before And After Exercise

    If you can, put a moist-heat pack on your arthritic knee for 20 minutes before you start exercising. Heat is soothing and it also brings the blood to the surface, decreases stiffness, and sometime relieves pain.

    If you take pain medications, try taking them about 45 minutes before you exercise for increased pain control during your workout.

    After exercising, put an ice pack on the sore knee for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help to bring down any swelling caused by exercise. It will also help to soothe and relieve pain.

    Easy Exercises For Knee Arthritis

    We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.

    How exercise helps knee arthritis

    Arthritis affects millions of people around the world. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis . Both types often lead to knee pain.

    Exercising an arthritic knee may seem counterintuitive, but regular exercise can actually lessen and even relieve arthritis pain and other symptoms, such as stiffness and swelling.

    There are several reasons to exercise with knee arthritis:

    • Exercise maintains the joints full range of motion.
    • Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the joint.
    • Strong muscles help the joint absorb shock.

    Exercise doesnt have to be hard to be beneficial. In fact, gentle, low-impact exercises are best for knee arthritis. They minimize stress on the joint as they increase its flexibility and strength. Learn more about osteoarthritis here.

    Also Check: Crack In Knee When Squatting

    Stability Ball Hip Thrust

    How to:

  • Start with arms behind head and elbows wide, upper back pressed into stability ball, legs bent and feet flat on floor, hips hovering above mat.
  • Lean back into stability ball and lift hips toward ceiling until thighs are parallel to mat.
  • Return to start. That’s one rep.
  • Why it rocks: In addition to turning up the burn for your glutes, using a stability ball here requires you to fire up your core, too.

    The Best Leg Exercises For All Levels Of Gym

    5 Leg Exercises for Arthritic Knees AND Bad Knees

    The best leg exercises to add to your regime, from beginner lower-body moves for home, to the gym machines which develop strength and build muscle

    Its always tempting to skip leg day, mostly because no-one enjoys the DOMS that tends to follow a hard set of leg exercises. No weight-training plan is complete, however, without at least one leg-focused workout a week.

    This doesnt need to involve shifting barbells loaded with heavy weights. You can work your legs out effectively at home with no equipment or just a set of dumbbells.

    Weve picked our favourite beginner leg exercises to do at home and at the gym below, and we also have a section on the best leg exercises to do with dumbbells. Some of the moves have been picked out by Andy Page, strength and conditioning coach at the new Pure Sports Medicine Chancery Lane clinic, and weve supplemented those with our own favourites.

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    Best Hamstrings Exercises For Knee Problems

    For the back side of the legs, I dont like to do open-chain exercises like lying hamstrings curls.

    I prefer to focus on better closed-chain alternatives. In case youre not aware of the difference lets go over it quickly.

    In an open-chain exercise, the body is stationary while the limb moves, such as when youre using most gym machines. In a closed-chainexercise, the limb is stationary while the body moves like in most movements that we perform with dumbbells or barbells. Closed-chain movements involve more muscles and joints and therefore are preferable for helping to create stability around a joint.

    Some examples of open-chain exercises are hamstring curls machines, leg extension machines and the leg-press machine. Its better to stay away from these since they dont offer enough knee joint stability and will do nothing to help knee strength. Done incorrectly, they may actually cause a bout of knee pain or a knee injury!

    For my knee-friendly leg workout, Ive got two favorite closed-chain alternatives to the typical open-chain machine based hamstring exercises.

    The Physioball Glute Ham Raise is one of the best closed-chain options for overloading the hams and the gluteal muscles.

    As I move myself out and extend into eccentric hamstring overload, I then can use the ball as my spot to grab in case I go too far. Then I will use the ball to work concentrically, pulling that hamstring back up to get a really intense contraction.


    Benefits Of Knee Strengthening Exercises

    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.
  • Recommended Reading: What Can Cause Your Knee To Swell Up


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