8 Effective and "Easy on the Knees" Workouts


Your knees may not be the strongest, but that’s not going to stop you from getting in a great workout!

High impact workouts can be tough on the joints and can lead to improper form and cause more injuries. These 8 exercises are perfect for those with bad knees!

1. Calf Raises (Lower Leg Muscles)

This is one of those workouts that you may not feel the burn immediately, but you will very quickly! The best part is you can do this workout anywhere (office workout, anyone?).

Start by standing with your feet about hip width apart. Slowly lift your heels off the floor, rising up onto your toes. Hold for a moment, then slowly lower to starting position.



2. Side Plank with Leg Raises (Thighs and Core)

This exercise is great for the core and thighs!

This plank exercise can be modified in many ways, and that’s the great part about it! You can use a resistance band (placed above your knees), lay flat on your side, or prop yourself up by your elbow for added core work.

Start in whatever position you are comfortable with, with your feet together. Raise your body off the ground, then slowly lift your outer leg, hold, and return back to starting position. Repeat on both sides for 10-12 reps.


Check out more plank variations, here!

3. Scissor Kicks (Abs, Hip Flexors, Thighs)

This exercise is perfect for building a strong core, slim down thighs, and working hip flexors.

Start by laying flat on your back, arms at your sides. Raise your feet a few inches off the ground and move then in a fluid criss-cross motion. Do this for 10 reps and repeat 3 times.

scissor kicks

4. Step-Ups (Works: Glutes, Hamstrings, and Quads)

Step-ups can be performed on stairs, a stepping block, or a workout bench.

Start by standing  with one foot on the floor and the opposite foot on the block. Make sure your entire foot is on the block and your knee is directly above your ankle.

Then putting your weight on the heel of your elevated foot, step and lift the opposite foot, and step back down. Switch sides when you’ve completed at least 10 reps.

Challenge: Add weight! Do dumbbell curls every time you step up.


5. Deadlift (Hamstrings & Back)

Grab a pair of dumbbells, or a weighted bar, and stand with your feet hip-width apart with knees slightly bent. Push your hips back behind you as you slowly bend forward from your hips, stopping when your torso is parallel to the ground. Then return to starting position.

Make sure your core is tight and your back is straight. Try for 3 sets of 15 reps.

romanian-deadlift Romanian-Deadlifts

6. Cycling (Cardio)

High impact workouts, like running on a treadmill, are not ideal for those with knee problems. Cycling is a great alternative for a calorie-blasting workout!

Since outdoor cycling is not available all-year-round in Wisconsin, you can use stationary bikes instead! Elite has stationary bikes, that you can use at your leisure, along with awesome group cycling classes.

7. Swimming & Water Aerobics (Cardio & Upper, Mid and Lower Body Muscles)

Swimming is one of the best exercises for those with bad knees because it’s low-impact and can burn calories quickly.

Just like cycling, Elite offers great options for those who want to get fit in the water!

8. Dancing (Cardio)

Dancing is not only a great workout for those who need low-impact cardio, but it’s fun! Dance classes, like zumba, burn a lot of calories while keeping your heart rate up for long periods of time.

You can also tailor moves to how hard you want to push your body.

Get Started! Tell us about your goals!


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