Low-Impact Workout for People with Bad Knees

Woman doing Standing Knee-to-elbow exercise

Are you starting to work out and have a lot of weight to lose first to reduce the impact on your knees? Or you have painful knees and high-impact exercise just isn’t in your future…at all?

No worries, there are plenty of low-impact exercises you can do that will get your heart rate up, strengthen your muscles and give you a great workout. 

Working out with bad knees

High-impact workouts like plyometrics and running are not for everybody. People with bad knees can find these workouts really challenging and even painful.

I know from experience because I have bad knees, too. And it takes a lot of recovery techniques like yoga and foam rolling on a consistent basis to keep my knees feeling good to do those high-impact activities.

However, bad knees don’t need to stop you from getting active. There is a lot of low-impact workout recommendations for people with bad knees, even beginners.

Here, I will share 5 low-impact exercises for bad knees that you can do anytime, anywhere. These exercises require only your own body weight! Outside, at home, in your hotel room…these exercises are perfect for all occasions!

How to do the low knee impact exercises workout

  • Perform all of these exercises for 1 minute each.
  • At the end of all 5 exercises, rest for 60-90 seconds
  • Repeat for 3-5 rounds

Are you ready?

1. High Knee Pull Down



Exercise tip:

Try to bring that knee up above the bellybutton to effectively engage your core. And, really activate that mind-muscle connection and pretend like you are actually pulling something down.

2. Standing Knee-to-Elbow



Exercise tip:

Keep all the weight in your base leg. The lifted leg should only tap on the ground. Really squeeze your obliques (your side abs) as you bring your knee to your elbow to get the most out of this exercise.

3. Knee Tuck Crunches



Exercise tip:

Keep your chin off of your chest, shoulders down and away from the ears and keep your back straight.

4. Punches


Exercise tip:

Keep your knees slightly bent and your core engaged. Focus on something in front of you and concentrate on hitting that point! You can even write down something that’s bothering you on a piece of paper and tape it to the wall. A great way to release some negative energy.

5. Squatting Side Step



Exercise tip:

Stay low in the squat with your chest up and core engaged and just step side to side (as wide as feels comfortable for you). You can also add a resistance band around the ankles for an added challenge.

Do you have bad knees and have a favorite low-impact exercise? Share it with us in the comments section below! Happy sweating!



Lunden Souza Lunden Souza is an Online Fitness & Lifestyle Transformation Coach. She helps people all over the world create a sustainable healthy lifestyle, so they'll never have to "start over" again! Connect with @lifelikelunden for real-life strategies to get on track for long-term health in both body and mind. View all posts by Lunden Souza »