Knee Friendly Exercises

If you have knee problems or just don’t want to pound your joints (who does??), I’ve got you covered. 

Jump Squats are AWESOME for fat-burning. The same goes for Burpees. And that goes for Lunge Jumps and Squats, too.

The problem is – not everyone should be doing these exercises.

I get this question A LOT…

“Mikey, do you have any exercise substitutions for _____? Squats and Jumps make my knees hurt.”

I don’t want you skipping exercise just because your knees hurt. After all, the older you get, the MORE important exercise is (especially strength training). So here’s how to work your legs without pounding your knees…

#1 Knee-Friendly Exercise – Lying Hip Extensions

You can replace Squats with this exercise. So if your program calls for 10 reps of the Squat, you simply do 10 Hip Extensions. If that is too easy, then go slower. If it’s still too easy, then do 1 leg at a time (10 per side for example).

Here’s how to do it:

And here is the 1-Leg Version:

#2 Knee-Friendly Exercise – Step-ups

A great way to build strength in your legs without putting so much pressure on the knees, this is also a great sub for squats. If your program calls for 10 reps as an example, you would do 5 per side on the step-ups. To make these harder, you simply go down slower (taking up to 5 seconds).

Your next progression would be to hold dumbbells at your sides.

Here’s how to do it:

#3 Knee-Friendly Exercise – 1-Leg Romanian Deadlift

This under-rated exercise works your abs, upper back, glutes and hamstrings in just one move. If you’re using weights, I suggest 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps per side, depending on your fitness level. If you haven’t done this exercise, I suggest sticking with just two sets of 8 reps per side. If you’re a beginner, stick with just one set of 10 reps per side.

Most programs “skip” your hamstrings and that’s a shame. Weak hamstrings can lead to other problems such as back pain and more.

You can even do this without weights. To make it harder, simply slow down. These are tough even without weights when done right.

Speaking of done right, here you go:

#4 Knee-Friendly Exercise – The Waiter’s Bow

This is one exercise you can (and should) do every day. There’s nothing wrong with improving your hamstring flexibility and activating your glutes. If you sit behind a desk all day, this is especially important. Sitting on your tushy all day can lead to lower back problems if you don’t activate those glutes.

I like to do these in my warm-up and during the day. 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps does the trick.

Here’s how to do it:

#5 Knee-Friendly Exercise – The Bird Dog

This is a great way to work your abs, improve your balance, and work your glutes. If you don’t have a mat, this might hurt your knees. So be sure to not do this on a hard surface such as a parking lot. Besides, what are you doing in a parking lot doing Bird Dogs anyway? That doesn’t make sense.

Seriously, make sure you’re on a soft surface for these.

Doing 2-3 sets of 6 -8 reps does the trick here.

Here’s how to do it:

There you go – that’s 5 exercises that are knee-friendly, but still get you in shape and burn calories.

Here’s a quick bodyweight workout that doesn’t take long at all and is knee-friendly…

Do the following circuit up to 3 times, depending on your fitness level. If you’re a beginner, do 2 circuits MAX. Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between circuits.

1A) Bodyweight Step-ups (8/side)
1B) Push-ups, Incline Push-ups, or Wall Push-ups (10-20 reps, depending on your fitness level. Leave 2-3 reps “in the tank”)
1C) 1-Leg Romanian Deadlift (10/side)
1D) Plank (up to 1 minute)

Optional Finisher:
2) Jumping Jacks or Total Body Extensions (as many as possible in 1 minute)

That’s how you reshape your body without destroying your joints.

Here’s how to get 15-minute fat-burning circuits sent to your inbox 3 days a week

Later tater!
Mikey Whitfield, Master CTT