A Guide to Staying Fit Despite Your Knee Pain

A person might develop knee pain for many reasons. It may be due to an injury, wearing high heels too often, carrying extra weight, or perhaps even a condition such as arthritis. The important thing to remember when you have knee pain, is to not let it affect your life too much. You can still be a fit, healthy individual regardless of your knee pain, and you should never let it get you down or stop you doing anything you want to do. You should still try to stay fit and active so you can feel good about yourself. Unfortunately, knee pain can stop us performing exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, jumping jacks, burpees, and plyometric movements. These moves are all great moves and really help to sculpt a fit body. Don’t worry though, all isn’t lost. Here are some of the options available to you so you can stay fit despite your knee pain:

  • By using an ergometer, you can get a good workout without having to use your knees at all. You may have even seen people using this and wondered what kind of benefits they’re getting from it. If you do it properly, you really can get a great workout out of it. Push the seat away and turn up the resistance to get a great metabolic strength workout. Maintain the rhythm, and make sure you push and pull on the handles to use not only your arms but your back too. If you have chronic knee pain, this kind of workout is perfect.

  • The Cybex ARC trainer is perfect for people who have pain in the knee, as long as you keep the resistance under 70 (it goes up to 100). The gentle gliding motion is similar to the elliptical machine. The pre set interval programs will give you a great session of HIIT, perfect for fat burning.

  • Why not give walking on a treadmill on an incline a go? Treadmill walking is great for knee pain as it’s smoother than trail walking. You don’t have to deal with hard and uneven surfaces, so you can just get on with your workout without worrying about getting injured! Increase the incline as much as you can so you know that you’re challenging yourself. The higher the incline, the more you’ll get your heart rate up and the more you’ll target your muscles on the back of your body. The same muscles are used in squats and deadlifts, so to get a backside to die for you need to do this!

  • Kettlebell hip swings are an excellent strength exercise. Stand with your feet slightly wider than the hips, with your toes turned out slightly. You can decide whether you’d rather use one arm or both arms. Push your hips back and down as you reach the weight between your legs, before you forcefully push your hips forward to raise the weight up to chin height. Pull the weight back down and swing again. Try not to squat too much. Tighten your glutes and engage your abs for an even better workout! Make sure to keep your back straight and neutral, otherwise you could end up throwing out. You should find the kettlebell weight challenging, but not too heavy. Your health is the most important thing, not how heavy you can lift.

  • Grab a heavy med ball and do some med ball floor slams. Stand with the same stance as you would a kettlebell swing, holding the ball in both hands. Holding the ball at chest height, slam the ball towards the floor by pushing it down with the arms and chest and bending your knees slightly. Catch the ball if you can and repeat. Concentrate on a spot directly in front of you and slam downwards rather than slamming too far in front so you’re effectively throwing the ball. If you’re slamming hard enough, you may even be able to bring your feet off the floor, but this will depend on how much your knees hurt you.

  • Try some power pushups for an amazing whole body metabolic strength move. You can decide whether you’d like to do this on your knees or your toes, but the toe version is a better heart rate accelerator. Use a padded bench to push your top half up and down for more comfort.

  • Jumping pull ups aren’t as bad on your knees as you might think. The impact is quite minimal, although you’ll need to use your judgement to decide whether this move is for you. You’ll need a fixed, horizontal bar at a height you can just about reach when you stand tall, with your arms overhead. The smith squat rack can be quite good when attempting jumping pullups. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, palms facing away from you. Bend knees a tiny bit, push through your heels, spring up, transfer the work from your legs to arms and back as your chin reaches the bar. You can then drop straight to the floor and repeat this. The idea is to go at quite a fast tempo, as the momentum will help if your muscles aren’t strong enough to do a normal dead hang pull up. If you can complete 20 of these in 40 seconds you’re doing well!


It’s also a good idea to strengthen the muscles associated with your knee injury, as they won’t get stronger all by themselves. Ask a healthcare professional the best exercises to strengthen your knees without putting too much pressure on them, and incorporate those exercises into the routines suggested above for maximum body conditioning and calorie burning. Don’t let an injury or pain be your excuse for not keeping up your fitness levels and getting the body you desire. The only thing standing in the way of your goals, is you! Not your knee pain, an injury, or anything/anyone else. Please let us know how you found these exercises in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!


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