The Best Lower Body Workout for Bad Knees (Video!)

Jessica Smith
by Jessica Smith
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The Best Lower Body Workout for Bad Knees (Video!)

Squats and lunges are great exercises, but not if they cause you knee pain! Luckily, you can still work your lower body effectively with alternative exercises that won’t strain your joints. Try my full-length, lower body workout. It’s designed to work your hips, thighs and glutes, and it’s gentle on your joints.

You’ll get a great workout in just 15 minutes! The best part: it doesn’t include a single squat or lunge!

This knee-friendly lower body routine works muscles in the hips, thighs, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, inner thighs, outer thighs and core from all angles with exercises like:

  • Knee Marches
  • Hip Circles
  • Leg Sweep
  • Inner Thigh Outer Thigh Balance
  • Quadriceps Leg Lift
  • Side Kick
  • Glute Shaper
  • Chair Bridge
  • 1-leg Bridge
  • Hip Stretch

Level: All | Intensity: Moderate, Low Impact |Equipment: A sturdy chair, light dumbbells (optional)

If you have a specific knee injury, be sure to get approval from your doctor or physical therapist before attempting any workout. And if you suffer from knee, hip or other joint pain regularly, be sure to consult a professional for an expert diagnosis.

Did you like this workout? Try my “Squat- and Lunge-Free Routine” next! Or download my knee-friendly Walk On DVD set!

About the Author

Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith

As someone who struggled to lose weight for years, Jessica found that the key to her own 40-pound weight loss was making small, healthy lifestyle changes that led to big, lasting results. Now, as a certified wellcoach, fitness instructor and personal trainer, she has spent the last 15 years helping students and clients reach their goals in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. She now reaches millions online through her YouTube Channel and home exercise DVD series. Please visit to learn more about her fun, results-driven programs for all levels of exercisers.

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17 responses to “The Best Lower Body Workout for Bad Knees (Video!)”

  1. Avatar MHG says:

    Squats helped my bad knees… just need to make sure your form is good and you get deep enough. Shouldn’t spread the myth that knee problems automtically means no squats.

    • Avatar DosMetro says:

      Me too. But I think this is aimed for people in physical rehab, judging by the exercises.

    • Avatar MDN says:

      Same experience here. I went from struggling to walk down the stairs due to knee pain, to squatting regularly, doing burpees, and minimal knee pain these days. I just tried to squat within my range of motion until my range got better. Now i’m hitting parallel with ease and even dropping a few inches lower. I’ve even added weight to my squats (75lbs).

      • Avatar mary_schneider2014 says:

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      • Avatar Stillnot2late says:

        That’s wonderful. You still have cartilage in your knees if you were able to beat it. blessed

  2. Avatar Barbara Forbes says:

    Looking forward to trying this out. Always having to modify workouts around the bad joints with no cartlidge left. Squats on damaged knees can cause further pain and more bone fragments.

  3. Avatar A person says:

    This is another reason why running is bad for me…I have to stop due to lower back pain…running is ok for most but one can easily overdue it and hurt themselves in the long run(no pun intended)

  4. Avatar Rab says:

    How can i watch this video?

  5. Avatar Rab says:

    if it is on youtube it is useless for me, kindly post it on any other link/format, please.

  6. Avatar Kate says:

    These are all excellent exercises to do to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knees ….. She’s not saying squats are bad for you, she’s just giving you options!!

  7. Avatar The Great Seymour(Butz) says:

    I have been exercising to jessica’s great you tube videos and I enjoy how she presents her exercises. I also enjoy her dog peanut but he needs to get his ass on @ tredmill or
    exercise with jssica instead of drooling over his bone & trying to eat the wall.

  8. Avatar GardenGirl says:

    Great workout for those of us who have knee problems but want to stay fit

  9. Avatar Joni Charron says:

    Just what I needed to see tonight. I forgot how much I love Jessica’s videos. Thanks.

  10. Avatar Lynn Avison says:

    My god, I’m delapitated, I am having loads of trouble with my legs, they seem to be seizing up. Stepping over a small beck is hard for me. I cannot open my legs up for (sorry) sex, my steps have got smaller. Think I will persevere with this little video, it may be what I need. My daughter is in kinks, laughing at me trying to do the excercises.

  11. Avatar Maddie says:

    Can’t wait to try this. I love HIIT routines, running, biking, and kickboxing, but it’s SO hard for my knees that I can’t stand working out for more than 30 minutes. Hopefully this will help. Thanks for the video!

  12. Avatar Cakings says:

    I have both knees replaced and have limited bending. I can walk. Exercises are limited for me.

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