Exercises That Are Easy on the Knees

Tuesday, November 1 2016 8:37 AM

You’ve 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 don’t want to back down at this point, your motivation is there, but you don’t know if you should continue with the same regimen in fear of making thingsknee exercises worse. Knee pain is a common ailment for people of all ages and it’s 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.

Inner Thigh Leg Lifts

Inner thigh leg lifts are great for toning and strengthening the inner part of of your thigh. Tighten your abs simultaneously for a more intense workout that won’t hurt your knees.

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.

Outer Thigh Leg Lifts

Outer thigh leg lifts are very similar to inner thigh leg lifts. Lie down on the floor, again propping your head up with your hand, and keeping your core tight. This time, lengthen your top leg and keep your bottom leg only slightly bent. Do 12-15 reps and then repeat on the other leg. If you feel like a challenge, don’t be afraid to add ankle weights!

Partial Squats

Unlike regular squats that can be harder on the knees, partial squats can build strength while protecting the joints. It’s important that your feet are shoulder width apart and toes pointed straight forward. Flex your core and squat halfway down, making sure your knees remain behind your toes to really target the glutes. Come back up to a standing position and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Low Impact Cardio

Low impact cardio refers to a workout in which one foot remains on the ground at all times. Think of exercises such as walking, dancing, rollerblading, hiking, etc. There are also exercises that are referred to as “no impact”, which means your body is mostly supported. This term refers to exercises such as swimming and water aerobics. All of these exercises are easy on the joints. Remember that cardio is recommended everyday. 


Pushups are a great exercise to target your shoulders, arms, chest, and core muscles. There are so many variations to this exercise! If you are new to working out, you can keep your knees bent to perform the pushup. Remember to keep your back straight and your abs tight. If you are experienced, try doing pushups by placing your hands on a medicine ball. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Seated Tuck Jumps

Not only do you get to sit down for this, but it’s easy on the knees also! Sit on the edge of your seat, leaning back slightly to really target those abs. Lift your knees up close to your chest while your toes are pointed downward. Go back down to your starting position while keeping control. Repeat this exercise as many times as you can for 45 seconds.

Calf Raises

Also referred to as toe raises, this exercise targets the calf muscles. Stand with your feet hip width apart, raise your heels off of the ground, then slowly come back down while maintaining as much control as you can. You can also perform this exercise on a step or platform (stay balanced!) so you’re also stretching the calf muscles due to the added range of motion. You can hold a dumbbell in each hand or add ankle weights to make it more challenging. Do 3 sets of 6-12 reps.

Foam Rolling

While foam rolling may not be considered an exercise, it’s still an excellent way to break up adhesions. Adhesions are fibrous bands that form between muscles and connective tissues. Think of foam rolling as a self massage that helps improve performance and recovery by releasing muscle tightness or trigger points. For the knees, begin by placing the foam roller underneath your hip. Use your hands to balance yourself while you slowly move with the foam roller down to your knee. Do this for about one minute on each side. You may feel some slight discomfort that resembles the feeling of massaging sore muscles. A foam roller is appropriate for all areas of the body.


Find a trainer today! Each of our clubs offers a trainer specialized in medical exercise. These training sessions will be tailored around your musculoskeletal aches and pains.

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