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Best Leg Exercises for Bad Knees


Worried about your knees as you work out your legs? Knee problems are very common among athletes and bodybuilders, but newbie gymgoers often find their knees complaining as well. If you have knee problems, it may be hard to work out your legs without feeling pain, but we've got a few exercises here that can help you to get in a solid workout without injuring your knees:

Leg Extensions

Doing this exercise with heavy weight is very likely to lead to injury, so go light and use this exercise as a warm-up. Do a couple of high-rep sets with very light weight, and you won't have to worry about your knees!

Step Ups

This is just like climbing stairs, only the platform will be a bit higher and the weights will be a bit heavier (you can use dumbbells or barbells). The beauty of this exercise is that it's a natural movement, so it won't strain your knees the same way leg extensions or squats will.

Leaning Lunges

This exercise can be a bit hard on your knees if your back is perfectly straight, so make it a point to lean forward a bit--just until your face is over your forefoot. It will ease a lot of the pressure from your knees, and will add a bit more to your glutes (giving you a nice rear at the same time!).

Leg Presses

The beauty of this exercise is that you are lying on your back, so your legs are doing all of the work but without any unnatural movements to strain your knees. Keep the descent and ascent slow and controlled, and you'll have nothing to worry about with this exercise.

Stiff-legged Barbell Deadlift

For your glutes and hammies, do deadlifts with stiff knees to avoid engaging the joint. You will need to work your way up to heavier weights, but doing this one regularly will strengthen the muscles along the back of your knees without straining the joints.

Box Squats

Instead of doing the classic squat, stand on a box and do a deeper squat. You will feel the burn as you go lower, but you'll be able to move your hips in order to engage the posterior chain rather than the muscles at the front of your legs. For those who find regular squats to be painful, try this variation.

Wall Squats

Place your back against the wall and slide down until you are basically "sitting" in the chair position, with your feet and knees holding your back in place against the wall. It's a static exercise that will help to build serious leg strength, but with very little risk of causing knee pain. You are hardly moving, so it's highly unlikely that you will injure yourself.

Standing Leg Extensions

This yoga movement works your core as well as your legs, but you'll find that it's very easy on your knees simply because the joint isn't involved. Stand one on leg and lift your other leg straight out in front of you, holding it in place for 30 seconds to feel the burn!

Do your knees a favor and try these excellent low-risk leg exercises!


7 Best Fully Body Exercises

Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise -- he does so six days a week -- and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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