Bad Knee? Try This Low-Impact, Knee-Friendly Workout!

knee-friendly workout boat pose

I really, really wanted to work out this week. After injuring my knee and hardly being able to walk for a couple of days I was sick of the “rusty” feeling I felt. As soon as my knee for better, I was delighted with the possibility of exercise. The only thing missing? A knee-friendly workout!

The basics of a knee-friendly workout

First, let me say that I was only able to do this workout because my knee was already doing much, much better. I took it slow as I didn’t want to risk exacerbating the problem.

For my safety, I wanted to avoid:

  • Any types of squats or lunges.
  • Any type of cardio, incl. moderate cardio like walking
  • Working out for a long time. I only did this to feel better and combat the huge feeling of rustiness I had. So I aimed for something short that I knew wouldn’t be 100% fulfilling (hey, I felt like running, going on an elliptical, or doing some type of intense cardio!), but at least it would be something. This knee-friendly workout should not take you more than 10-15 minutes to complete.

So this is what I came up with. Three sets of 10 reps of 3 exercises, targeting the core and the upper body and leaving leg work for another day, when bad knees would not be a problem.

knee-friendly workout

Knee-friendly workout instructions:

Boat Pose

Sit on the mat with your knees bent and your back straight. Extend your arms to the front at shoulder level. Find your tripod of stability, which includes your two seat bones and your tailbone.

Keeping your back straight, contract your abs, and bring your torso towards the back. Feel your abs working as you go lower. The lower you go, the harder it gets.

Find the height that fits your fitness level, and start pulsing, moving your torso three inches to the front and then back.

Note: Many people tend to arch their back while in the C position. Please avoid this tendency, or you risk injuring your lower back. Place a cushion right behind your back to get the extra support you need.

Now lift your feet almost parallel to the floor and hold your legs from the back of your knees gently. Crouch while you move your torso to the back, and then straighten your back as you go back to the original position. Repeat.


Get into a plank position with your palms underneath your shoulders and your feet together.

Now bend your elbows and lower your body until your chin or torso is almost touching the floor. Push yourself up to starting position and repeat.

Make sure that you’re neither sticking your butt out nor letting your hips sag down. This is not proper push-up form. Also, take care that your body remains in a perfectly straight plank position both when you’re going down and when you’re pushing yourself up.

Finally, if this is hard try putting your knees on the floor. This, of course, may be tricky if you have knee pain. You can also try doing them against the wall or using a table. It would look like this:

modified push-ups for knee-friendly workout

Climbing Plank

Lay stomach down on the floor with your feet together. Place your elbows under your shoulders, and lift your body up into a straight plank.

Do not push your pelvis up, and do not let your hips sink down. Contract your abs. Now straighten one arm, then the other, getting up into a regular plank position.

Now climb back down to get into an elbow plank, and repeat.

Want more exercise ideas? Check out my Flat Belly Firm Butt book on Amazon.

Tried it? Let me know how you feel in the comments!

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