The 6 Best Low-Impact Knee Exercises (Your Body “Kneeds” These)

July 7, 2020

Even if you’ve experienced knee pain before, are recuperating from an injury, or simply don’t want to put too much pressure on them, you can still keep your knees in your workout routine. You may not be able to use treadmills, stationary bikes, or elliptical machines, but there are a number of low-impact knee exercises you can do safely while still getting your dose of workout endorphins! Step up your routine with these six exercises: 

1. Half Squat

These are a great way to strengthen your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings without putting too much strain on your knees. Begin in a standing squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart, then put your hands on your hips or in front of you for balance. Keeping your body angled straight ahead, slowly squat down halfway into a full squat (about 10 inches). Hold this position for a few seconds, then return to start by pushing through your heels.

2. Calf Raises

This exercise not only strengthens your calf muscles, but it also conditions the rest of the back of your lower legs. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart next to a wall or a chair you can hold on to for support. Then lift both your heels off the ground so that you’re standing on the balls of your feet and slowly lower them to the starting position.

3. Leg Extensions

Rather than using a weighted machine that can strain your knees, you can use your own bodyweight to strengthen your quadriceps. Begin by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Then contract your thigh muscles and extend one leg as high as possible without raising yourself off the chair. Hold this position for a few seconds and then lower yourself to your starting pose.

4. Scissor Kick

The scissor kick is a versatile exercise that works your thighs, abs, and hip flexors. Start by lying flat on your back with your legs together and arms by your side, with your forearms on the ground. Then lift your legs six inches and your shoulders one inch. Hold that position and spread your legs apart, then bring them back toward each other, and finally cross one leg over the other. Reset to the position with your shoulders and back raised, never allowing your legs or shoulders to rest on the floor during the set.

5. Banded Lateral Walk

To target your glutes and hips, start by lowering yourself five inches into a quarter squat position with a looped resistance band just above your knees. Take a giant step to your right with your right foot, then follow with your left. Take 10 steps in this direction, then return to your original position by stepping in the opposite direction.

6. Dumbbell Deadlift

Another useful glute and hamstring exercise, this helps provide stability to the knee joint via strength in your hips. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold dumbbells in each hand in front of your legs. Lean forward with your hips, bending your knees slightly, and slowly lower the dumbbells down toward the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly stand back up to return to starting position.

Did you suffer a knee injury while working out? Orlin & Cohen offices across Long Island are open for immediate, personalized care. Balancing the need to help relieve your knee pain with the health and safety of our patients, staff, and community, we are taking every precaution to create the safest environment possible. Immediate in-person, as well as telehealth, appointments are available seven days a week: Request an appointment now or call 516-536-2800 or 631-706-2800.